Grad students and regular exercise: Is it actually feasible?

Today I’ll be covering a topic that most of us have encountered in our journey of health and fitness: time. As graduate students, we are busy for the majority of our day. Between research, meetings, TA assignments, writing, studying, and of course, attending classes, there’s hardly time to eat a meal much less fit in a workout. So how is it possible to be an outstanding student while having an active lifestyle? This problem has plagued me for many years, but I believe the key is to simply MAKE time. Hear me out:

Despite a busy schedule, we all have certain activities that we make time for, be it as trivial as a watching a TV show, or meaningful as spending time with a loved one. We prioritize them. If you are having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, what you should ask yourself is not “How can I fit in a workout?” but “Is working out important to me?”. If you feel like fitness is something you truly wish to incorporate into your life (which has numerous proven health benefits) then begin by following these steps.

  1. Devote 45 minutes to an hour 3 times a week to exercising.
  2. Try and center each workout around the same time each day, so that you can establish a habit.
  3. Choose a time that works with you as an graduate student. Do you prefer to knock it out early and start your day more energized? Or would you rather use your workout to relieve the stress of the day and wind down for the evening.
  4. Stick with your established workout schedule for at least 1 month. Habit-forming is key. If you begin to associate working out with your daily routine, you’ll find it much easier to dedicate time to it.

Grad students are traditionally overworked, stressed, and all-around tired.  By incorporating regular exercise into our lives, we can improve our sleeping habits, reduce overall stress levels, and lead healthier lives while we contribute to higher education. Not to mention the numerous physiological benefits (to be covered in a different post).


As always, these are just my thoughts, and I would love to hear yours! Is it possible for a graduate student to incorporate regular exercise into our lives? or are we too busy entirely?

This is Dr. Chaos, signing off ~