For new students, college life can be a little overwhelming. From managing a busy class schedule to group study sessions, extracurricular activities to campus involvement -- not to mention a social life - it almost seems impossible to avoid the dreaded "Freshmen Fifteen". After all, if there is not enough time to go to the gym, and the menu options range from cafeteria food, fast food and microwaveable items, what else is a freshman to do? Luckily, you can keep off the weight, and all it takes is some self-discipline and a little open dorm room space to stay in shape. No expensive gym memberships or heavy equipment required with the following dorm room workouts.
1. Jumping Jacks
You may think of jumping jacks as an outdated exercise done only by grade school children, but in reality, jumping jacks are a great way to warm up and stretch prior to an exercise routine. All at once, you'll be working your back, shoulders, calves and thighs while increasing your heart rate. Just make sure not to knock anything over in your dorm room while doing these workouts.
- Start by standing up straight with your head forward, your hands at your side and your feet straight and close together.
- Bend your knees and jump, spreading your arms and legs out, making sure your hands clap above your head.
- Return to your original position and repeat for a total of two minutes.
Avoid the freshman 15 while working your upper body by completing a set of pushups in your dorm room. While you may feel most of the burn in your arms, pushups actually utilize your chest muscles to lift your natural body weight.
- Lie face-down, supporting yourself up using your toes and arms (palms flat on the ground). Keep your body straight from your head to your feet.
- Make sure your hands are as far apart as your shoulders, your elbows relaxed and your body straight from head to toes.
- Next, lower your body close to the ground using only your arms. Hold this position for a couple of seconds.
- Bring yourself back up to your original position and repeat. 10-to-15 pushups are an ideal set for beginners.
Another great core exercise is the plank. Used in yoga classes, this exercise targets various parts of your upper body including arms, back, legs and internal abdomen muscles. All it takes is a little open floor space in your dorm room.
- Similar to a pushup position, start face-down, but rather than supporting yourself with just your hands, rest on your elbows and hands.
- Keep your neck and spine naturally straight and tighten your glutes and abdominal muscles.
- Hold this position for 30-to-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can.
One of the most popular methods for taming belly fat and unwanted weight is through the practice of abdominal crunches. This is a simple workout you can perform in your dorm room to avoid the freshman fifteen. In order for these to be effective, they must be done properly, and carefully to avoid injury.
- Start with your back and feet flat on the ground, and knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
- With your hands on the sides of your head, while keeping your lower back pressed to the ground and feet flat, begin to lift your upper body as you exhale.
- Hold this position, breathing normally, for a couple of seconds then slowly return to your original position.
- Repeat this as many times as you can, adding more repetitions each time you do this exercise.
[Related: The Best Ways To Get A Flat Stomach]
5. Walking In Place
You don't have to head outdoors to get in a good stroll; walking or marching in place can be as effective in getting your cardio going as a regular walk and can be done while watching your favorite TV show. Experts recommend walking 30 minutes a day to help keep weight off. If this dorm room workout seems a bit too boring or easy for you, feel free to talk that walk outside and enjoy the open air.
- Stand straight up and begin to lift your feet up off the ground, alternating one at a time. Be sure your knees are lifted high enough, although not too high.
- Swing your arms frontwards and backwards, mimicking the motion of walking.
- Do this for at a moderate pace for 5 minutes, and then increase intensity for the next 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes are over, resume your original moderate pace for the last 5 minutes of this exercise.
If pushups, crunches and walking in place aren't appealing to you, and you're looking for something a little more fun, then dance! Dancing is a jack of all trades when it comes to fitness as it gets your heart rate going, builds stamina and endurance, strengthens muscles, improves flexibility, and helps your feel happy, calm and relaxed. Just an hour of dancing can help you burn up to 400 calories! Here are some great ideas for getting a great dance workout in your dorm room:
- Dance to the music in your dorm room. All you need is a radio, some space for moving around and a maybe a little privacy. Then, dance off your stress and keep off the weight!
- Dance Workout DVDs. There are numerous DVD workouts that help you burn calories and get fit while having fun. Zumba, Hip Hop Abs and Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! are some popular choices.
- Have a Fitness Fiesta! You can get your roommates and friends involved in the fitness fun by hosting a dance party. If your dorm room is not big enough to entertain several people, ask the residence hall supervisors if you can use the common room to host the event.
You don't have to spend money or time going to a pricey gym or run the risk of hurting yourself on bulky gym equipment. With these great dorm room workouts, you can make sure that those freshmen fifteen never make their way into your college curriculum.