Mental and physical health influence each other quite heavily. Just as poor mental health can have negative effects on your body, staying fit is a key factor in maintaining a healthy mind. Having said that, actually finding time to work out during the school year can be challenging. It doesn’t get any easier when we’re faced with the high cost of gym memberships and workout gear. Although Vikes Nation does offer lots of great programs for students that I would absolutely recommend trying, here are 5 easy suggestions on how to keep up your physical health without spending a penny:

  • Stay Hydrated: I can’t stress enough how important this is. Make sure you’re getting enough fluids during the day. Post sticky notes or set notifications on your phone, whatever it takes to remind yourself to keep drinking water. And no, coffee and pop don’t count.
  • Go Jogging: It’s way too underrated. Jogging is a great way of exploring a new environment (I suggest checking out Alumni Chip Trail behind Residence), it gives you time and space to clear your head and get some alone time, and you get to set your own pace. Take your time and get to know your own body. You may prefer running long distances at a slow pace, or short distances rather quickly. Whatever it is, remember that there’s no ‘wrong’ way to jog.
  • Stretch Before Going to Bed: Most of you will know the importance of stretching after a workout but you may not have thought to stretch before bed. Trust me, it’s fantastic. Going to bed tense can result in poor quality of sleep, head and neck pain, and stiff joints the next morning – and none of those support positive mental health. Taking deep breaths, stretch out your neck and back before getting into bed and then enjoy how easy it is to find a comfortable sleeping position.
  • Calisthenics: These are exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and lunges. Find a routine that works well for you or put together your own. Take it slowly and add more reps as you get comfortable. Calisthenics are a great way exercise when you aren’t able to set aside large time slots. Do 25 squats every day and add on 5 more every week, it won’t take up much time but you’ll notice a difference if you stick with it.
  • Take the Stairs: Whether it’s a Bio lab in the basement of Cunningham or an Astro demonstration on the top floor of Bob Wright, I encourage everyone who can to take the stairs. As appealing as the elevator may look at the bottom of a five story climb, it’s always good to get in a little extra cardio and your body and mind will thank you later.


The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.