Guest columnist George Greenidge shares his tips to staying fit with a busy schedule

Running on a treadmill thereby including some aerobic exercising

Last week, many freshmen arrived on campus while upper classmen and graduate students returned to their respective universities across the country. While the pursuit of college diploma or a terminal degree is a priority for some, health, exercise and movement might fall on the back burner.

It is a tremendous challenge to maintain a healthy balance of academic studies, life, and exercise.

In academia, getting accustomed to a new institution, new campus surroundings, and new professors and friends can be a grueling and overwhelming experience for incoming students. Stressing about loads of course work and readings or getting the right internship can lead any college student to pick up a box of pepperoni pizza instead of a barbell.

Many undergraduates and graduate school students are extremely worried that they might gain “the freshmen fifteen” or the “graduate school twenty” during the first year of their matriculation.

Moreover, numerous studies have concluded that weight gain in college is simply folklore of 90’s news reporting. The Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research in 2011 concluded college freshmen weight gain of an average of 15 pound is a myth.

The average weight gain is really between 2.4 pounds for women and 3.4 pounds for men. However, there might be a number of other factors associated with health outcomes and weight gain in college that need to further explored – especially in older adults.

During my first year of graduate school, I found myself sitting for most of the day in academic classes, working various internships for course credit and working odd jobs to make ends meet.

A CNN article and CNN health correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reminded me of another potential public health crisis when I started Fit Nation: “sitting was the new smoking.” I took an inventory one day and realized that I was sitting over 10 hours a day. I realized that I was not putting enough time into moving my body throughout the day.

I decided to join the Fit Nation team after reevaluating that, in order to be successful at school, overall health must be a priority. Over the last several months, with the help of Dr. Gupta, Fit Nation producers, trainers and teammates, I realized that daily movement of the body – walking, running or riding a bicycle – can have tremendous health benefits.
Whether approaching your studies this year as a freshman, an undergraduate or a graduate student, I decided to give several tips to prevent from you from sitting the whole entire semester and getting that body moving and keeping you healthy. There are a number of resources available at your college or university to help keep you in a sedentary position all day.


Here are my top five tips:

Tip #1: Utilize the University’s Gym and Fitness Center.

Why not? It is included in your college and university student fees. Most universities have top notch pools and workout facilities. Why pay the extra dollars to join a fancy sports’ club? Sign the school waiver and get moving.

Tip #2: Start a walking program or join a school’s sport club.

Many institutions have intramurals on campus. Join other students at badminton, karate, soccer, yoga or even breakdancing. Get moving. You might just pick up a new hobby or skill.

Tip #3: Meet with a nutritionist.

Much of your energy might come from the food choices you make. Talk to a nutritionist at your school cafeteria or health center or recreation center. Some of your sluggish behavior from eating food on the go might just be you need more fruits and vegetables.

Tip #4: Get your friends and family moving too.

Try to plan creative group activities that incorporate walking and riding a bike to a destination. Think about it – instead of riding in a car to the grocery store, movie theater, restaurant or public park – why not walk, or better yet, get that old Huffy or Raleigh bike out the cellar and take it for a spin.

Tip #5: Skip the elevator – take the stairs to class.

Take the initiative and climb the stairs. Instead of waiting for that packed elevator of professors and students when you are late to class, climb up to the 5th floor.

Go ahead my fellow students: get up and get moving! You will feel healthier when you achieve the Dean’s List from your institution at the end of the semester; and who knows, you might achieve high marks from your doctor as well.