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Home » Discover Rackham » 9 Tips for Incorporating Fitness into a Grad Student Schedule

February is notorious for its history of already-forgotten New Year’s resolutions. Many times, fitness goals are the first to fade, especially for busy folks. That said, Recreational Sports wants to keep you on track to achieve your 2016 fitness goals! Haven’t started yet? That’s okay! Haven’t worked out since undergrad? That’s okay, too! Recreational sports, club sports, and intramural sports are available to graduate students, and we’re here to help get you started. We’ve prepared some keys to beginning and continuing a successful fitness plan:

Identify your goals. Were you too buried in data to make a fitness resolution? Knowing exactly what your goals are makes it easier to plan out the path that will lead you to that goal. You can integrate your goals into systems you already use. For instance, if you write in Google Drive, designate a new Google sheet and begin it by typing up your goals at the very top. You can also track your progress via your phone or your computer by jotting down what you’ve been doing to reach your goals and how you’re feeling as time goes on.

Schedule activity into your day. It’s so easy to say “I don’t have time to work out.” We know you’re busy and stressed, but exercise is shown to be a source of stress relief and assists in improved mental functioning. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll think better, too! Enter workout time into your daily schedule and treat it like an appointment you cannot miss.

Attend a free Equipment Orientation. If you’ve never been to the gym before or you don’t have experience using specific pieces of equipment, it can be scary exploring new territory. Our Fitness Attendants will give you a tour of the North Campus or Central Campus Recreation Buildings, and show you how the cardio and strength-training equipment works. Be on the lookout for upcoming free orientations in March and register for an orientation that fits in your schedule.

Women exercising on treadmill and eliptical machine.

At Equipment Orientations, you can learn to use our wide variety of equipment.

Start slowly and build up. Your thesis wasn’t written in a day, and your fitness level won’t miraculously improve in one workout. Start your exercise at a level you are comfortable with and gradually work towards more intense exercise.

Listen to your body. When you are in pain, your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. If you are experiencing pain or feel like an exercise is not right for you, discontinue the exercise, rest, and, if need be, seek medical help.

Find a workout buddy. Graduate school often requires you to work in isolation, so kill two birds with one stone and establish a workout group! You are much more likely to do your workout if you have a friend to encourage you and hold you accountable. Recreational Sports has a group exercise program called Group-X. The class schedule includes classes like Zumba, cycling, yoga, and more. Find a friend in Group-X and use the classes as a way to ensure you do your workout! Details about membership and classes can be found here.

A group of women taking a break from working out

Our Group-X classes are a great way to get fit & make friends.

Switch it up. We are less likely to become bored and our bodies experience the most change when we make changes to our routines. Utilize the wide variety of equipment and Group-X classes offered at Recreational Sports to make sure you are working all aspects of your fitness potential.

Allow yourself to rest. Your ambition and dedication to your goals is admirable, but our bodies and minds need rest. Without rest, our bodies become overly tired and our spark burns out. Take a day or two off every week to allow your body to refresh and recharge!

Ask for help when you need it. You are not alone in your fitness ambitions and it’s okay to ask for help. Our Fitness Attendants in the yellow polos on the fitness floors are trained to help you with any questions you may have about equipment, exercises, or any other matters at Recreational Sports. Not only are they trained, but each and every one of them loves to help participants. Find one and reach out to them.

A Fitness Attendant helps a student lifting weights.

A Fitness Attendant is always here to help.

Good luck in striving towards your fitness goals this year!