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Dorm Room Workouts

Maybe you hate the way you look in your gym shorts. Or maybe you’re so busy hitting the books that you haven’t got time to hit the gym at all. But if you’ve got a dorm room—even a dorm room the size of a closet—you’ve probably got enough space for a workout. Here’s what you need to know to get started safely:

Mix it up.

Doing the same thing every day can get old fast! A good workout plan includes three main components. Mix them up for fun and variety.

  1. Aerobic exercise helps burn calories, strengthens your heart and lungs and is a great stress buster. Aim for a minimum of three 20-minute sessions a week and gradually work up to 60-minute sessions five or six days a week for best results. To get going march or jog in place, do jumping jacks, try some kickboxing moves with punches, or turn on your favorite music and dance! Use low impact moves that involve both your arms and legs to get your heart pumping.
  2. Strength training helps you build and maintain lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn when your body is at rest. Aim for a full-body workout covering eight to 12 large muscle groups twice a week. And be sure to rest those muscles at least one day in between workouts. Click here for a 15-minute workout that works all your major muscle groups.
  3. Stretching can help you maintain all-over flexibility, reduce muscle tension and relax. Think about how good a long stretch feels after you’ve just spent hours at the computer. Take a few minutes to stretch every day. Click here for an easy stretching routine that you can do sitting or standing—anywhere!

Grab a chair.

Or your bed or a towel. You don’t need a lot of big equipment to get a good workout. Look around your room and think “multitask.” Use your bed or chair or the wall instead of a bench. Grab a towel instead of a resistance band. Substitute your heaviest textbook or a bottle of water for a dumbbell. And if you really want to lift something heavy, how about your own body weight? Click here for a quick dorm room workout from Exercise TV that you could do during a study break—or right now!

Getting started.

Nothing can short circuit an exercise program faster than an injury. Even if you’re young and healthy, it’s a good idea to review these basics and check with your doctor before you get started. Ready to get moving?

  1. Warm up. To minimize risk of injury, always warm up for at least five or 10 minutes before you exercise. Aim for a warm-up that gradually increases your heart rate and breathing, and activates the muscles you are going to use.
  2. Be careful. Start slowly and listen to your body. Go at a pace that feels good to you. Give injuries time to heal. And always stop if it hurts!
  3. Choose activities you’ll enjoy. There are lots of ways to work out—even in a dorm room. Choose things you enjoy and you’ll be much more likely to make time to exercise regularly.
  4. Drink plenty of water. You could lose up to a full quart of water during just one hour of vigorous exercise. The more you drink before, during and after your workout, the more productive your workout will be. And did you know drinking water is important for weight loss too? Click here to see how much water you should drink every day.
  5. Cool down. Cool downs gradually lower body temperature, heart rate and breathing after a workout. Cool-down activities could be a slower, lower intensity version of an exercise you just did, like walking instead of running or a strength-training move without any resistance.
  6. Stretch it out. Stretch after you cool down but while your muscles are still warm to minimize soreness. Click here to see stretching demonstrations for every part of your body.

Who needs a gym and a trainer?

The Internet is loaded with free resources for people who want to work out without ever stepping foot in a gym. Here are few to help you get moving:

Ab Exercises from College Candy

Arm Workout you can do with a regular chair

Full-Body Workout ideas from Sparkpeople

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