It’s been a little over a month since we’ve made those New Year’s resolutions which once gleaned with the hope and promise of a new year, and which are now crumpled up under the loom of midterms and first exams. It’s about this time we start skipping workouts, tossing time management to the wind, and returning to old habits. But fear not, as an avid Google Calendar user and lover of fitness, here are some tips, ideas, and apps on how to stay active during this snowy/rainy/dreadfully cold season.
Tip #1: Join a rec class
This is probably the easiest (and most exciting) way to transition into a consistent fitness routine. The Rutgers rec page offers a variety of weekly fitness classes ranging from strengthening yoga to energetic dance classes. You can mix and match a few to maximize cardio and strength training OR you can sign up for a FLEX pass (which I would highly, highly recommend) and get dozens of fitness classes for an entire semester. This really lets you customize your workouts and allows you to switch up your fitness routine so you don’t fall into the trap of tedium which can be an enormous obstacle in maintaining a regular, active lifestyle.Tip #2: Join intramural/club sports
Do you find yourself more motivated by a team or missing the camaraderie of high school sports? If yes, then intramural or club sports may be the best option for you (especially this one). Intramural sports are open to everyone, no tryouts required, and are structured in a way that allow you to create your own team or join another as a free agent. Once you’re on a team, you go head to head with other student teams in a tournament style competition with cool prizes (and semester-long bragging rights) if you make it to the finals. The sports offered through intramurals vary by season so keep an eye out for what’s being offered by joining the IMLeagues Rutgers page.
Club sports, on the other hand, vary in intensity and may or may not require you to try out for the team. They offer more structure than intramural sports with weekly practice schedules and regional competitions often against other colleges. A list of what club sports Rutgers offers can be found here: http://www.sportclubs.rutgers.edu/
Tip #3: Sign up for Outdoor trips
If sports aren’t really your thing or you find yourself being unable to commit to a rigid practice schedule, then you still have the option of signing up for Rutgers Outdoor trips on the rec website or joining the Rutgers Outdoors Club. Both offer day trips which consists of a variety of outdoor activities ranging from hiking to kayaking to ice climbing (which looks outrageously fun). With gear usually provided by Rutgers rec or the Outdoor Club, these trips allow you to go on some extremely cool adventures for fractions of the costs.Tip #4: Download a Fitness App
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our phones, so we might as well use that downfall to our advantage. There are a range of fitness apps for both the Iphone and Android on the market (many of which are free) that will help inspire you to keep moving and stick to your fitness goals. One of my favorites is Charity Miles, which not only keeps track of your speed, mileage, and times on walks/runs/bike rides, but also, for every mile you complete, a corporate sponsor will donate a few cents to one of the app’s registered charities. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to go the extra mile (quite literally) and push through a tough workout.Another app that is Rutgers friendly is UPACE, which allows you to check fitness classes being offered at all 5 rec centers, reserve cardio machines, and even check the current occupancy of any fitness center all in a single application. This is great for students who want to avoid the gym during peak hours or ensure that they will be able to get on a cardio machine during their planned workout time. The app also offers general information about gym hours, locations, etc.
Tip #5: Schedule, schedule, schedule
Failing to intentionally set aside time for workouts may be what’s crushing your fitness resolutions. First and foremost, if you don’t already use Google Calendar or other forms of planning, check out why you definitely should here. If you do have a basic way of keeping track of your week, then I highly recommend scheduling in time for being active. With your class and extracurricular activities already written down, you can easily set aside blocks of time for when you can go to the gym or go for a quick jog in between classes. Visualizing my time is very important for me because it allows me to plan my workouts during days when I don’t have back to back classes or fit in a yoga class at the end of a stressful one. Also if I see a planned fitness activity already in my calendar I am much more likely to stick to it than if I tell myself “I’ll do it if I have time.”
Overall, whether you are a seasoned athlete or first-time gym user, remember that there are so many ways to stay active on campus that go beyond the bounds of a rec center. To my lovely readers, stay warm and keep moving this winter/spring/global warming season 🙂