How to Balance School Work, Exercise, and Other Activities: Students Speak


Dec   2014



As we sat here at CollegeXpress headquarters, perfectly sedentary, munching on leftover Halloween candy (yes, still!), and wondering why we can barely make it up a flight of stairs, we got to thinking about health and fitness. Specifically, we wanted to know what our users think about diet and exercise and how they maintain a healthy lifestyle along with all the other stuff they have on their plates. That why we teamed up with O2MAX Fitness to survey our readers to get some answers.

Seven thousand CollegeXpressers turned out for the survey—thanks again, you guys, all 6,977 of you!—and we learned a ton from their responses. We turned those results into this spiffy infographic, but we got so much great information, we can’t fit it all. That’s why we’re sharing some of our favorite responses to the question How do you balance your fitness and other activities with your schoolwork?”

If you’re struggling with your schedule, first, know you’re not alone, and second, keep reading for some great tips and inspiration from high school and college students just like you. 

On working out and sports

  • “Being involved in sports actually helps me a lot because after practice, I know I have less time to procrastinate and have to get started on my school work.”
  • “Sports have always been a part of my life. It's as routine as brushing my teeth. Including fitness in my routine is not an option; it's a necessity.”
  • “I find that physical activity actually helps me focus. After coming home from practice or a workout, I know I need to focus on school instead of filling my free time with things that will suck me in and distract me.”
  • “I use my sports activity to clear my head and to focus on something physical while still stimulating my mind. Right when I get home from my practice I hit the books.”
  • “I do my workouts just before I shower each night so I am more tired before I go to bed.”
  • “I make at least a 30 minute block of time to workout because I know it's great for my body. Also, after I work out I focus on school a lot better.”
  • “I try to eat healthy, and I walk around my campus between classes. I take walks outside whenever I have time.”
  • “I bike to school and home incorporating fitness into my everyday life.”
  • “I try to find ways to multitask, such as running from building to building on campus rather than slowly walking.”
  • “I either do it right when I wake up because I like to get it out of the way, but sometimes when I had a late night studying or if I have early morning classes, I'll do it right when I get back to my room. However, if some days I feel way too tired I know my body needs a break and I'll take a nice stretching or yoga day or a rest day.”
  • “If I have minutes at the end of the day then I run for 20 minutes; it just depends on how much time I have. If I have say an hour, I might lift weights.”
  • “I watch TV and exercise at the same time.”
  • “I try to stretch and do yoga every night before bed and I make sure I have time to play tennis at least once a week by getting my schoolwork done ahead of time to accommodate for fitness time.”
  • “Its super hard, but I try to do some easy workouts in my dorm, whether it be push ups or crunches when I first get home from class, and then when I finish my homework days later I try to make it to the gym”

On school work

  • “It is very hard. I get so much homework that there is almost no time to work out.”
  • “School comes first. I'm a student before an athlete and my coach understands that. Mostly I go to school. Go to practice. Then come home and do my homework until late. Then get up and finish it before school. This process is then repeated for every school day after that.”
  • “Schoolwork comes first. However, I will do some exercising between assignments so that I stay awake and mentally active.”
  • “After I finish practice I go straight home and do my homework. No TV, phone, computer, or any distractions.”
  • “I make time for what's important and recognize when something must take precedence. My schoolwork comes first, as it should, but I know that I need to take breaks and exercise is a good stress relief.”
  •  “Schoolwork takes priority. I'm here primarily to learn and, on top of that, I have a scholarship that I need to maintain. But fitness is important, nonetheless. If I can't make it to the gym or don't want to, I'll take a walk or work out in my dorm room.”
  • “School always comes first, but I always go to practice, never miss it. I put equal effort, time, and dedication into both.”
  • “I have a study hall at school three times a week so that helps. Also, I do homework on the bus rides on the way to my games. I try to concentrate on schoolwork, though.”

On using time wisely

  • “First, I do anything I have to do for school; after I'm done with that, I do my fitness routine until the sun sets.”
  • “I make sure to use my weekends wisely and plan my days out so I'm able to fit practices and a certain amount of homework in.”
  • “I have really good time management skills. I work on homework any chance I get.”
  • “I try to limit myself in certain things, so I have an everyday schedule that helps me have a balanced routine everyday.”
  • “I do as much work during class as I can and when I'm not practicing something during a rehearsal I do homework. Then I usually stay up later to finish it.”
  • “Make a schedule and stick to it. It's hard at first, but after awhile it becomes routine. I use my weekend for relaxation or to study for a challenging test.”
  • “Sometimes I slack on the sleep, but I make both my sport and my schoolwork a priority, so I try very hard not to miss practice, and I never miss an assignment. I'll do almost whatever it takes to get both done, but schoolwork will always be the higher priority.”
  • “I balance my activities by practicing before school and completing my school work in the afternoon after school. I do not get more than 6 hours of sleep per night, however.”
  • “Plan, plan, and plan.”
  • “Try and get as much done in school, so that I don't have much for homework out side of school.”
  • “I exercise while I study. If I am reading for school, I will read a passage, then think about it while exercising and then return to reading or studying.”
  • “I have a study hall and do as much as possible during class, as well as carefully manage my time.”
  • “I schedule what I'll be doing at what time the night before. I find that once I go to the gym to workout my mind is a lot more clear and there's a sense of accomplishment that motivates me to go on with my other activities for the day.”
  • “I do pretty well with time management, but the key is getting schoolwork done early whenever possible because you don't know what the next days entail.”
  • “I stay up late to finish homework or do almost all projects on the weekends because I don't have time for it all during the week. I do manage my time very well though.”
  • “Don't waste any time, hardly at all, ever. Stay focused on my goals and be a little selfish every once in a while. Remind myself that I wanted to be busy and I'm living happily and just how lucky I am to be living.”

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