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(FREE!) Even though you might feel corny by yourself, you can "design" your own workout for your small place. Try a combination of any of the following low-impact moves, always trying to get both your arms and legs involved:
Marching in place
Stepping up and down the stairs or running the stairs in your building
Side steps (step touch)
Jogging in place or high knee running in place
Grapevines sideways, forward and back
Kickboxing moves (front kicks, squats, side kicks, punches)
Turn on your favorite music and just dance!
($) If space and ceilings allow, jumping rope ($6) can torch big calories. If you don't have room for a rope, mimic it with your hands and wrists. Jump in place, skip, hop on one foot, etc. to get your heart pumping.
($$) Workout videos or DVDs ($10+) offer a lot of variety for a very low investment. Some workouts can be done in a small space, such as low impact aerobics, kickboxing, cardio Pilates, belly dancing, and more. If you need more room, grab a couple of friends and take your video to the lounge area of the dorm.
Strength Training Options
(FREE!) You can use your body weight for resistance to work several major muscle groups. Try these exercises that link to illustrated demonstrations (you'll find even more body weight exercises in the Fitness Resource Center):
($$) For just a few more dollars, a good set of dumbbells ($20) and even a stability ball ($25) can round out your workout plan, giving you even more strength training options. Put your chair into storage and sit on your ball instead and you'll strengthen more than your mind while you study, plus it doubles as exercise equipment when you need it.
(FREE!) Use what you have. Most stretches can be done while sitting or standing, so you don't need any special equipment. SparkPeople's Stretching Guide will help you get started, whether you want to take breaks at your desk, or use more space and time for a full body routine. Consider using your dorm furniture to help increase your stretching capacity: prop up foot up onto your chair, desk, or bed to stretch the hamstrings more deeply; use the walls for stretching your arms, chest, and calves.
($) Invest in a yoga workout video. This form of exercise not only stretches and strengthens, but it also helps relieve stress and calm that busy mind, preparing you for a more restful sleep or energized day.
($$) Consider buying a yoga mat ($20) or padded exercise mat ($25+). Both can be rolled up or folded away easily, and they will make stretching (and other floor exercises) much more comfortable.
Dorm life doesn't have to be a doom. For little or no money, the single room that multitasks as a bedroom, study, kitchen and lounge can also become your own personal gym. Leave college weight gain at the door. In just a few minutes a day, you'll see a toned, healthy, and relaxed body and mind. What better way to experience college life?
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.
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