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Exercising and Grad School


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I think it's just like exercising at any other point in your life. Having worked over 30 hours a week in undergrad while taking at least 20 hours a semester + being in a lab, I still exercised 5-6 days a week by scheduling exercise in. As long as you are someone who commits to their schedule, you should be fine. I put "jogging" into my schedule for every morning at 7 because that's the only time I'm able to go for a 30-40 minute jog without worrying about getting somewhere on time. I have "go to the gym" scheduled in for 6 days of the week for the moment I get out of every obligation that I have, and if I miss one of those days, I will still have worked out 5 days out of 7.

It also really helps to schedule something with a friend. It makes you stay on track because you feel bad if you don't show up.

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I schedule it in. I do yoga twice a week, capoeira 2-3 times a week, and run or use the elliptical and lift weights 1-2 times per week. It really is a matter of being committed to doing it and not sacrificing it for anything else. Also, I get in additional exercise by using my bicycle as my primary form of transportation.

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My recommendation: make it fun, not a commitment. Play IM sports. Play sports with friends. Play sports with strangers.

Or if you can't make it fun, at least make it useful. Commute on a bike. Commute on your feet.

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Does anyone have any tips and tricks for making a commitment to exercise in grad school?

We started a running group during my Masters, and I got heavily into biking the many awesome, long rails-to-trails around Cincinnati.

After 6 years in the real world, and paying $25/month for a crappy gym membership where the place is pretty run-down and they hardly maintain any of their machines, driving around town for pricey yoga classes, etc. I cannot WAIT to partake of the gym/pool/classes at a university facility again..that I will be able to access for FREE! The classes offered to students are so cheap, too...one current grad student does for 2x/week yoga classes and the student rate is $40 for the quarter. That is $2 a class! I also checked out Sierra Club hiking groups for my new area and there are many weekday hikes listed...I think I'll miss my hiking group here the most...

Once its part of your routine, you won't want to go without the benefits of exercise!

Edited by HikingKate
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How has your experience been with Sierra Club hiking groups?

I have not done any before, but willing to give it a whirl. Most of my like-minded friends here I met through a privately-run outdoor/social club that I was a member of for a year and a half.

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My friends and I started an informal running group. We met on weekends, and usually did a 5-mile trail. There were about 5 or 6 of us total, a mix of grad students and some faculty. It was enough people that at least one person would pipe in with a kick-in-the-seat and say, "Hey, when's the next run happening?"

Our uni just started offering fitness classes for free this year. Something that can also help one commit.

For me, what keeps me exercising regularly is knowing that someone is waiting for me to show up. Find at least one like-minded exercise buddy is the best advice I can give.

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What I do:

(1) Buy a gym membership. You'll feel bad for not using it :)

(2) Avoid using elevators

Though situational, I agree with 2.

But for 1, don't most schools have gym facilities? I often commute to my school even when I don't have class if I need to make it to the gym. Screw paying a membership on top of tuition.

Anyone training in mma or a particular martial art as a grad student?

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I do my best to make it to the gym several times a week, usually with friends. The accountability helps.

To help me squeeze in short workouts on days when I'm too busy to make it to the gym, I bought an aerobics step (http://www.amazon.com/The-Step-F1053-Home-Trainer/dp/B000GBKEWM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303788798&sr=8-1) and some weighted gloves. When I get up in the morning, I do a 20-40 minute aerobic workout while I catch up on a favorite TV show on Hulu. The TV time plus the endorphins/other benefits of exercise are a great motivational combo!

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But for 1, don't most schools have gym facilities? I often commute to my school even when I don't have class if I need to make it to the gym. Screw paying a membership on top of tuition.

The school where I'm currently finishing undergrad has 4 fitness centres around campus, and we do have to pay for membership (although it's probably a lot cheaper than a regular gym).

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The school where I'm currently finishing undergrad has 4 fitness centres around campus, and we do have to pay for membership (although it's probably a lot cheaper than a regular gym).

I totally neglected my health in undergrad, so I'm looking forward to making time for the gym regularly in grad school. I plan on being in the gym every day. The school also has a 100+ acre garden, which I will be visiting at least twice a week. I went to undergrad in the city, so it will be nice to treat my health with some TLC over the next few years.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just got a gym membership with my roommate/classmate. It really helps to have someone who keeps me on my toes. It also helps to go to classes; I have a very short attention span so working out on a machine is so boring for me. I need an instructor yelling at me hahaha.

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i started going to hot yoga classes with a friend and fellow grad student a month ago. other friends have started getting into it as well, so if i'm not already at the studio, i can assume one of them will ask me to go once every day or two. really helps with the motivation. it burns a ton of calories (700-800 for a 75min session) and it's really helped with my core and my back (i have a herniated disc).

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  • 5 months later...

Has anyone used Fitocracy? The "game" aspect of it sounds like a great motivator, but alas, I don't have an invite code so I haven't been able to try it.

That's a very interesting idea, could definitely motivate a lot of people by making it more like a game.

To add to the thread, I've been a varsity athlete for my undergrad career, and am continuing to play during my Master's. I now have 25 other girls that I can work out with, which is nice to have and it motivates me because if I tell them I'll be doing sprint training at a certain time, I have to show up. It can be difficult to schedule in an hour or so every day, but I'm trying. I'm taking a break right now because I almost pulled my quad after some fitness testing last week, but I hope I can get back into it again next week. What is mostly motivating me is I'm starting to break into a higher level of the sport, and it's being introduced in the 2016 Olympics.

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One thing I do to motivate myself to work out is signing myself up for races. Before starting grad school, you would never see me running on a treadmill... But after a while, when the stress of grad school hits, running becomes my stress reliever. Participating in 5K/10K race events really motivates me to get my butt out the door and run.. Though my fitness level is not that good yet... Let's start from 1 mile race, baby steps..

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Like everyone has said, it's a matter of scheduling it in. That way you make it a priority. I personally never used to exercise but when I came back from studying abroad in France a couple years ago, 20 pounds heavier, I started hitting the gym. At this point, though, I just love feeling healthy and pushing myself to be stronger, run further, etc. Exercise for me is ALSO now a huge stress reliever, with the added bonus of making me feel productive even though I'm not doing schoolwork. I also like to set goals...I'm working on training for a half marathon, and to think that a few months ago I could barely run 30 minutes!

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I do get my workouts in. I live 6 miles from campus and spend about an hour a day riding my bike. It's purely to save money, but the excercise is a bonus.

Yeah, I think the best way to get exercise in grad school is to live someplace where you have to do some walking or biking to get to campus- I have a 15 minute walk to the bus stop, which gives me at least 30 minutes of walking on a typical day.

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My first year I found a running buddy on craigslist and it worked out quite well. For one, I always felt guilty if I were either late or had to cancel a run and we ran about 3 times a week. It's tricky to find people that can match up nicely in pace, distance, etc, but it's worth a shot. If craigslist's too sketchy for you, try emailing some sort of a social list in your department or if there isn't one, it may be good to set one up.

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