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Break out the textbooks, highlighters and agendas- it’s back-to-school season in Edmonton! College and university students alike are faced with jam packed schedules and a backpack full of stress, but that’s when making time for fitness really counts.

“There’s always a way to find at least 30-60 minutes to get to the gym,” says Personal Trainer Jessica Perreault. “Sitting around all day puts a lot of stress on the body, shortened hip flexors and a sore butt to name a few, because you’re not moving around enough to use those muscles.”

Additionally, breaking a sweat might actually improve your academic performance.

“Exercise releases dopamine in the body and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) which many students often have in abundance,” explains Personal Trainer Joanna Amerongen. “Exercise also gets the blood circulating which will rejuvenate your body after hours of studying or writing papers. Even if it’s just a walk or quick yoga class, it’s worth it!”

We’ve heard a million times that failing to plan is planning to fail and it’s true when it comes to making time for the gym. The key is to block out time for it each week- the same way you set aside time to eat, sleep and study.

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“Instead of taking a TV break from studying, hit the gym for a quick 30 minute circuit,” suggests Jessica. “It gets the blood pumping and helps wake you up again!”

Personal Trainer Otty Nguyen-Sears suggests students take the pressure out of fitness.

“If you can’t schedule regular times or your week doesn’t flow normally, it’s best to abandon a conventional schedule,” explains Otty. “Instead of saying you’ll do something on certain days of the week just assign numbers to each day of fitness and pick up wherever you left off. If that means Sunday ends up being day 2 instead of a rest day, that’s fine, at least you’re still working towards your fitness goals.”

Carving out time to dedicate to fitness is half the battle, the other half lies in the kitchen.

“Preparing healthy meals is a lot harder than taking a nap or grabbing fast food between classes,” laughs Otty. “Making healthy habits is the greatest challenge.”

Students with crazy schedules need to stay fuelled up, but on the right stuff. When it comes to brain food, think healthy fats. “Snack on foods like guacamole, hummus and veggies, nuts and seeds,” says Fresh Fit Foods Nutrition Manager Laura Swim. “Students will also benefit from incorporating nutrient dense foods like blueberries, tomatoes and broccoli.”


Are you back to school this fall? What are your tips for staying fit during the semester? 


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