Staying mentally and physically fit

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Many freshers come to St Andrews with fully planned timetables and set goals for their first semester. I’ll be honest; I was one of those freshers. I arrived incredibly keen with sport planned, a module timetable, and societies scheduled. However, I quickly realised that I hadn’t accounted for the dozens of hours I would spend with friends in pubs while simultaneously complaining about all the work I’d been putting off for weeks or all the mornings I’d spend in the many coffee establishments throughout town, wondering when I’d actually start working.

Take it from me, if you haven’t started reading for your modules yet, you should probably put The Saint down, lock yourself in the library, and do some work – but at this point you will probably just wait forever and then revise the night before exams; good luck with that. Despite what older students tell you about first year not counting, you should be reading and doing most of your work each week. Blocking off some time each day and setting realistic goals for yourself can be helpful if you’re able to stick to them. Most importantly, you should always make time to exercise each day in order to stay mentally alert.

Exercising, whether on your own or through formal sport, can help you perform better in your modules by refreshing your body and mind each day. For some, it is best to find time in the afternoon to exercise when you start to get tired after a morning full of classes. Afternoon exercise will help you to stay awake for work in the evenings or Friday night adventurers to the Toastie Bar. For others, a short fitness routine in the morning can help you feel accomplished and ready to take on your work. Every morning–well when I’m feeling up to it–I do a fitness circuit consisting of 100 push-ups, 3.5 minutes of planks, a 2 minute wall sit, and a bit of weightlifting with some heavy books. This routine makes me ready to take on the challenges of the day. Being physically fit, regardless of your strength or endurance, can help you stay healthy over the long term. If you want to be fit in mind and body, go to the library and do some work, but only after you’ve done your morning circuit.

Photo credit: Sammi McKee

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