Big city life can take its toll on anyone. Squashing into a summer tube carriage, giving in to 5am post-club takeaways and student budgets can all have their cost. However, there are a few easy steps you can take to keep fit, look after your mental health and still make the most of our amazing capital city.
Sport and Fitness
Keeping fit is essential for students because you need to be on top form to complete assignments and focus in class. You might not necessarily want to be trapped in a gym on a nice day or signing up for a membership that plunges your bank account into the red for little gain each month.
Instead, link up with some of your fellow students to do some sports, whether that be joining a 5-a-side football league or hitting a squash court after class. It will be cheaper and you will have some fun and banter that will make you forget you are doing yourself some good.
You can even make exercise a day out. For example, outdoor adventure company Go Ape have four locations across the city. Gather some house or classmates and climb, zipline and Segway through the forest.
If you can’t find any willing volunteers for the sport of your choice, then trying an app like Sport Partner will connect you with the right people – think of it like an innocent Tinder for casual and serious sport.
Running or walking outside is a great way to see the best of the city as it passes you in a satisfying blur. There are lots of guides to the best running routes in London. A few highlights include any of the major parks, a run along the Thames to the Tate Modern, or in Greenwich Park if you want some slightly tougher inclines.
The best thing about getting outdoors, is even if you can’t face a running pace faster than a slow shuffle, the benefits are still there. Your mental health will thank you for taking some time away from your laptop screen and reconnecting with nature. Learn how to meditate and live more mindfully to max out your zen.
Londoners are blessed with many sites of natural beauty. Bird spot in the 100 acres of lakes and meadows at the London Wetland Centre, get lost in Epping Forest or pitch a picnic spot in Green Park for a fix of greenery. Find an urban beach or lido if you don’t fancy hopping on a train to the coast, which we also encourage!
There are ways to get around London that don’t involve slumping on a long tube. Walk up the stairs rather than the escalator if you have to get the Underground, but better yet, hop on a hire bike and see the city from the surface.
Print out a copy of the walking map from station to station and leave it in your wallet or purse. Then you can save money, time and calories by wandering between the stations where it is quicker to walk than catch the tube.
Finally, you will not have the energy to do any sport, fitness or study if you aren’t looking after your diet. London food brings to mind iconic places like chicken shops, pies and fish and chips. These days, though, you will be hard pressed to escape a vegan Pret sandwich, sushi bar or salad.
Make decent choices when you are without home-cooked food options and recreate your favourites when you can. Student years are the perfect time to invest in a few kitchen essentials and learn some basic, cheap and healthy recipes.
Try not to starve yourself of lazy days, lie-ins and takeaway pizza. You will be more determined if you put yourself in a ‘want to’ mentality rather than nagging yourself out of guilt. Just add in a few extra half hours of activity with friends, plan more meals and you will feel better.