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Five dorm-friendly workouts to start the school year

How to sneak in some exercise between classes
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ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY
ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

Fall is approaching. The leaves are starting to change colour and food trucks are beginning to line the street all the way up to the library. In-person learning is back — and that means you’re going to be super busy.

Whether you’re a commuter or you’re staying in residence, it can be difficult to make time between classes, labs, and tutorials to work out. It can be hard to carve out time for the gym when you have to study for your chemistry midterm, write an English essay, and cook dinner — all in 24 hours. Luckily, we here at The Varsity are here to help! It’s the least we can do after providing you with such great content that you can use as an excuse to procrastinate on your assignments. 

The classic: push-ups

Push-ups are an exercise many people hate — but they have their benefits! Doing push-ups is a great workout for the upper-body, since it engages your pectoral or chest muscles, shoulders, triceps, and even your core. If you have trouble performing traditional push-ups, start with a simplified form and then adjust based on the areas you’d like to focus on.

To perform a push-up the traditional way, get into a plank position with your torso and legs parallel to the floor and your hands shoulder-width apart. From there, try lowering yourself almost to the floor with your arms, and then push yourself back up.

Let’s get low: squats

Squats are an exceptional lower body workout that target your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, as well as your core. Furthermore, squats can also be done by using just your body weight — you don’t need an impressive gym setup to perform this exercise! Squats may also reduce your risk of injury, according to the American Council on Exercise, since they build strength in your tendons and ligaments. They’re also a great way to help improve posture and balance for full-body exercises.

To perform a squat, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your chest up as you lower yourself into a squatting position until your knees are at a 90 degrees angle. From there, return to the starting position.

Feel the burn: wall-sits

Doing wall-sits is an exercise so well-known for its burning that it’s also called the devil’s chair. Wall-sits target the quadriceps — that is, the front of the thigh.

In order to perform this exercise, you should align yourself with a wall and face away from it, keeping about two feet of distance between the wall and your feet. Work your way down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are at a 90 degrees angle. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds if you’re a beginner, or 60 to 90 seconds if you are more advanced, and then rise up to the starting position.

Working on the core: planks

Planks are an excellent workout that can improve your flexibility and your posture. Planks not only target your core, but they also engage your entire body. While they may seem difficult at first, they are a great way to work out your core in between working on your lab reports.

To perform a plank so well that pirates would walk across you to their impending demise, follow these great tips: lay down on the ground and lift yourself up using your elbows and feet. Keep a straight back and pelvis, and hold the position for 30 seconds, or longer, if possible.

A little cardio, as a treat: jumping rope

Jumping rope is a workout many world-class athletes keep in their routine. But that doesn’t mean it’s too difficult for a student to jump rope  — in fact, it has tons of benefits for athletes and students alike. Jumping rope is a great way to work your core, build stamina, and do a full-body workout using only one piece of equipment!

To jump rope, you’ll need to grab your jumping rope, stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart, and jump above the rope as you swing it forward, toward your own feet.

It’s important to look after your health — both mental and physical — as you return to school. Exercise can help you with your mental health, as it is shown to decrease stress hormones, promote confidence, and take your mind off problems. So, as you move into your dorm or get ready to commute from home, try squeezing in some of these workouts. You might just thank yourself — and The Varsity.