I’m currently a biochemistry student at the University of Surrey. With a part-time job and 15-20 hours a week of studying, one of the biggest challenges I face is fitting in regular exercise. Especially because my university timetable changes every single week; making a weekly routine impossible. To combat this, I walk or cycle to uni, I fit in 25-minute home workouts whilst my dinner is cooking, and I get up at 6am to go to the gym – which isn’t as bad as you may think.
Social media has been the biggest influence in my fitness journey. There are so many posts on Instagram and YouTube where you can watch people doing workouts. What’s even better is that if you are unsure of how to do certain exercises safely, I guarantee that there are over 100 videos on YouTube showing you how.
Apart from being free, there is another benefit from home workouts based off YouTube, and it’s in the name – home. When you’re at home you don’t get that insecurity of thinking you look silly for trying something out for the first time. Coming from someone who used to get VERY insecure about looking silly, home workouts helped me get over this. When I got my gym membership, I started by attended classes. I found the weights section far too intimidating. With time, the insecurities went away as my strength and confidence grew.
Feeling strong in myself is the biggest mental health booster.
My physical fitness and mental health go hand-in-hand. I’ve found that exercising at least every 2 days keeps the feel-good neurotransmitters releasing; leaving me with a grin and motivation to last the rest of the day.
The true love of my life is yoga. I picked it up about a year ago and now I never want to stop. It creates space between your muscles, helps loosen you up with the deep stretches, improves flexibility and calms the mind. Plus, it makes me feel sexy! I’ve never tried an exercise that makes me feel so in tune with my body. I have stretched out muscles and tendons that I hadn’t even realised were tight! The beauty of yoga is that you don’t need any equipment, special clothing or even a big space.
I practice in my little uni room every day, usually in my pyjamas, just doing what my space allows me to.
To stop myself getting bored with exercise, I like to mix it up by trying something new. JagTag is flag American football; which means no tackling (thankfully). My boyfriend plays American football for the University team and told me about JagTag. Seeing his passion for the sport, I thought I would give it a go. My biggest fear was being the only girl and being in a group of people that know what they’re doing. I was so wrong. A lot of the boys there were just like me, they were playing the sport for the first time. We start off with a couple of throwing and catching drills and then start the game. The rules are fairly simple; there is one player on each team (the quarterback) who throws the ball to one of their players. Then, you’re just trying to run with the ball into the end zone to score.
I would recommend JagTag to other women and girls. Its 1 hour of HIIT, but you’re having so much fun focussing on the plays that you don’t even realise you’re out of breath!