Four diverse female friends in workout clothes, laughing on a hike

4 Easy Ways to Be More Active With a Hectic School Schedule

High school and college students are busy, especially at the end of the school year. But making time to be active can help you in all sorts of different ways.

It’s getting closer to summer, but that doesn’t mean the semester is slowing down. If anything, life speeds up as tests, projects, and papers pile up for the last hurrah of the school year. The thought of adding exercise into the mix may sound absurd. After all, wouldn’t exercise just take away from all the other things you need to be doing? As counterintuitive as it may sound, staying active even with a crazy schedule can actually save you time. Investing 30 minutes a day into moving your body can have some major benefits, from improved concentration and mental health to better quality sleep and a stronger immune system. Being active is the perfect habit to prioritize. Here are a few tips for incorporating more physical activity into your busy schedule.

1. Get in some extra steps

One of the easiest ways to add physical activity to your schedule is by walking more. Think about it: It doesn’t require special clothing, equipment, or locations. Therefore, it can be incorporated anywhere. Have an extra few minutes between classes? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. What about getting to an event a few minutes early? Take a walk. Pulling into a parking spot at the grocery store? Park a bit farther away for the extra steps. Research has proven over and over that walking is beneficial to our bodies, particularly when it breaks up long periods of sitting. While you’ll still want to shoot for more exertive exercise as well, this is a great start for clearing your mind and being more active even during a hectic day.

2. Incorporate activity into your social life

Even during the most hectic weeks, you still probably have plans with friends. While grabbing a meal, visiting a coffee shop, or having a movie night are easy go-to activities, consider suggesting a move active hangout. This can be as easy as taking a walk in the beautiful spring weather with a friend to catch up! You could also take up a new active hobby. Learning how to do something new together helps you develop memories with friends you’ll never forget. Try pickleball, disc golf, hiking, rock climbing, or dance classes—the possibilities are endless! Most colleges offer intramural programs for those who want to participate in organized sports for fun. By incorporating more movement into the time you’re already setting aside to socialize, you’ll get to spice up your everyday activities while also spending time with your besties. 

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Exercise in College (Without Hitting the Gym!)

3. Turn your study breaks into exercise

Exercise is great for clearing the mind. But as you know, it’s often hard to find the time. One of the best ways to incorporate a new habit into your life is to merge it with a habit you already have or existing responsibilities. If you’re spending hours studying, chances are you’re already taking periodic breaks. If we’re being honest, most of us spend those breaks scrolling on social media or doing nothing at all. So start getting active during your study breaks instead! Even if your breaks are only five or 10 minutes, it will add up and leave you feeling refreshed for another round of studying.  

The options for a study break workout are endless. On the basic end, you can take a swift walk around the room or do some dynamic stretches. For a slightly more intense workout, try turning on some fun music and taking a dance break to get yourself out of breath. You may even want to check out some guided workouts; there are numerous apps designed to help you get in some full body movements in a short period of time.

4. Sign up for a workout class

While adding another commitment to your schedule may seem counterproductive when you’re already busy, it could be the best way to hold yourself accountable. For some of us, if something is on the calendar, it will get done—especially if there’s a fee involved. You may not commit to working out at home, but you may be less likely to skip a formalized workout class. Plus, you’ll have a certified teacher to make sure you’re using good form who can also provide specific tips for you. If you’re interested in taking a workout class, check out what your campus offers as well as local YMCA branches and workout studios. Grab a friend and take a sweat break!

Related: Student Fitness: How to Get Moving in High School and College 

Although making time to stay active can be challenging with a busy student schedule, it’s worth it for so many reasons! Take steps to prioritize your physical activity and you’ll start reaping the benefits in no time. 

If you’re looking for more advice on maintaining a healthy life balance, check out real student advice with these Top Tips for Juggling Schoolwork, Exercise, and Activities.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Laura Wallace

Laura Wallace

Laura is a student at Anderson University, where she's pursuing a major in Social Studies Education with a minor in Spanish. Originally from North Carolina, she now calls Savannah, Georgia, home. She loves dark chocolate, stickers, and the color blue. In her free time, she plays the piano, participates in traditional Greek dance, and loves to visit thrift shops! 


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Amari Toussaint

Amari Toussaint

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me narrow my school choices down from 10 schools to four and then two. It also gave me information on a school I had never heard about or thought about attending until now, which is the school I will be attending in the fall. I am thankful for CollegeXpress and its helpful tools.

Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.

Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me gain interest in many colleges/universities and many scholarships. I would say the most helpful thing CollegeXpress has done for me is sending me emails that tell me certain types of colleges are interested in me as well as emails about scholarships that I can look at and possibly apply for.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, IA

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Pacific University

Forest Grove, OR

Calvin University

Grand Rapids, MI