An Alternative Guide To Keeping Fit at Uni

You started university. It is the time you meet new people, go on nights out as much as you can, and order many take-aways. And then someone mentions that you should keep fit. They have a point! Keeping fit improves your memory, concentration and much more. So, if you want to ace your first year, but paying for that Edge or sports society membership seems a bit too much, we’ve got you covered!

First, the essentials:

Drink water

You’ve heard it a million times probably, but drink water! It makes you smarter, fitter and more energetic. And trust me you will need your brain and body at full power as exam periods approach. Plus it’s free – there are water fountains installed in the University union, in libraries and buildings. Just bring a water bottle!


On average, you need 7 hours of sleep per night. Just like water, this makes you smarter, fitter, and more energetic. So turn off the lights, tell your flat mates to shut up and get in the bed for your 7-9 hours. Be careful not to oversleep though because you will lose the sleep benefits and actually damage your mental and physical health!

Eat well

Easier said than done. However, unlike our parents when they were students, we have access to Google and a phone. Google easy and healthy student recipes and you will find so many to choose from. And if it all goes wrong, just call your parents! Once you get into the habit of making your own food, you can thank us for the money saved and the health benefits gained.

Now, we can talk exercise:


You’ve been doing it almost all your life. Your first step is probably an important moment for your parents. But did you know that as a recent NHS campaign (Active10) points out: a brisk 10 minute walk every day can make a difference to your health. Have a brisk walk instead of taking the bus to uni, go explore the city centre or just walk around campus in-between your lectures. You can even download the NHS’s Active10 app to keep track of your progress and the benefits you get!

If you want to go a bit further, you can take up running. There are many good parks around Leeds you can choose from and a big community of runners. A fun way to motivate yourself is to join the free, weekly, 5km timed runs, called parkruns. There is one in the park next to uni, Woodhouse Moor, every Saturday at 9am!


Alternatively, if you live far you can try cycling to uni. In all fairness this is probably your best bet on getting there as quickly as possible.

Here is a funny video the Leeds Student Television made about cycling: 

You can hire a bike from the Bike Hub at the university. For £22 you get your bike, a lock for it and free maintenance, which is a pretty good deal!


This is one of the best things at university – you can try so many things! Just go on the university union website and click on the ‘What’s On’ tab. And there you will find numerous free or quite cheap activities that various societies offer.  There’s Karate, Polo, Tai Chi and many more coming up soon. Check out the website to find something new and exciting. Who knows, you may end up buying that sports society membership after all.

The Give it a Go booklet is out twice a year and it is an everyday essential!


Talking about GIAGs, there are so many dance ones as well – swing, salsa and street dance coming up soon. And dance is a fun, sociable way to keep fit, so get your groove on.

Explore Yorkshire

Get your friends and see Yorkshire. It is not without a reason the locals call it God’s Own County.

Ilkley Moore. Malham Cove. Otley Chevin. Whitby. Haworth. Brimham rocks. Just Google them! So beautiful and so near.

For example you can catch the x84 bus in front of Parkinson Steps to Ilkley or Otley. You’ll be there in no time for a fun day with friends that will get you refreshed and fit, ready for another day at uni!

Antonia Panayotova

Image: Shutterstock