student with headphones
February 13, 2020
2 mins read

How to stay active without sacrificing study time

This past January was one of the wettest on record  for Vancouver. With the rainy weather, motivation to move—let alone exercise—can be low to non-existent.

Luckily, there are lots of different work-out moves you can do without having to leave your study spot—so you really don’t have an excuse.

With the fact-checking help of Kinesiology student, Nate, this post will show you some exercise basics that will get your blood pumping!

Fitness basics

For a balanced fitness routine, you’ll need to incorporate a mix of the following types of exercise, but what are they really?

Cardiovascular activity

This is any kind of exercise that gets the heart pumping. Sometimes we forget that the heart is a muscle too, and a stronger heart can mean stronger endurance, faster fat burning, and lower blood pressure.

Flexibility training or stretching

This is important for strengthening and repairing the muscle tearing that happens during physical activity. Feeling tense? Stretching helps loosen and limber up those knots from sitting in front of your laptop all day.

Strength training

As the name suggests, it's any kind of exercise that helps strengthen and build muscle—but it’s not all about bulking up. Weight training strengthens bone density and increases your metabolism.

As an ex-wannabe gym rat, I remember how I felt when I did keep up a workout routine: I was more energized, I slept better, and I could carry all my groceries in one trip.

Maintaining your fitness doesn’t only do the body good—it also improves your sense of wellbeing in all aspects of your life. Regular exercise can help prevent sleep apnea or insomnia, boost your mood, and help with stress or anxiety.

Your 15-minute circuit routine

These are some workout moves that incorporate your own body weight or things you have around you. Mix and match to your liking or increase the reps if you're doing these without breaking a sweat.


Run up 3 flights of stairs (or walk 2 steps at a time).

Running up the stairs

Spiderman lunges with rotation - 6x on each side

Get into a push-up position and step up to align your foot with your palm, putting your knee outside of your elbow—repeat with the other side. This stretch increases flexibility in your hips and hamstrings—while warming up the rest of your body.

Spiderman Lunges with Rotation

Planks - Hold for 15 seconds each

Tighten your core, resist dipping your lower back (but don’t stick your butt up either), and loosen your shoulders—hold until washboard abs appear.

UBC Life student writer planking outside Nest

Squats - 15x

Stand a little wider than shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight and core engaged, and go for a deep squat. Use a chair if you’re feeling a little wobbly.

Squats in the elevator

Backpack rows - 6x on each side

Engage those back muscles and turn that weight on your shoulders into gains for your shoulders.

Backpack rows

Lunges with a twist - 10x on each side

Put your brick of a textbook, laptop, or bags to use.

These lunges work your glutes, core stability, and your range of motion. Switch the lead foot after 10 reps.


Repeat the above set of exercises 3 times and you’re bound to feel the burn! 

When you're overworking that noggin during midterm season, make time to work out that bod too.

Header photo credit: Paul H. Joseph / UBC Brand & Marketing