Fitting in Fitness- a Graduate Student Perspective

As a new student, at a new university, in a new province, and a new degree, I find it challenging to fall into a new rhythm. Sometimes I forget that I am my best self when I make time to move. When I am active I am more prepared to cope with intellectual road bumps, and more tuned in to what my body needs. I also have more energy than after your average cup of coffee. Not to mention, I can’t keep my eyes open by the time I hit the pillow.

If movement can make us feel great, what’s stopping us? For me, barriers to moving often show up in areas of my life related to money and time. These barriers can be different for everyone.

Here are some of my go-to strategies for making space for movement in your budget and your schedule:

  1. Prioritize, and schedule accordingly

Take a moment at the beginning of your week to schedule in fitness – just as you would schedule meetings and classes. Setting my schedule up this way at the start of the week helps me normalize fitness in my schedule. I intentionally make enough hours in my week for physical activity and this helps form a habit that carries me through busier times.

  1. Make moving social

Take your coffee date on the road for a walk through Pacific Spirit Park. Kick a ball around with your kids. Set goals for movement with friends- and keep each other accountable.

  1. Explore your options

Find the best fit-you have options. Sign up for a class with UBC Recreation. Get outside. Check-out energizing online exercise videos (check out this link for a few options). Explore different studios in the city. Keep an eye out for free classes or discounted introductory offers. Attend community or by-donation classes. Look into an energy exchange (volunteer your time, in exchange for complimentary classes).

Building a habit takes time, effort, and often more than one try. I find my main motivator to be noticing the differences in my body and head space. Notice if you are more focused, notice which workout leaves you with the most energy, notice if you feel stronger, notice if you feel happier, and be kind to yourself along the way.

I’ll leave you with a challenge: put your phone (or desktop, or tablet, or laptop) away for the next 10 minutes and get moving!

Looking for inspiration? Try taking part in MoveUBC!

As February soon approaches, excitement on campus is building for the kick off to MoveUBC month! MoveUBC is a university-wide campaign to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior amongst students, staff, faculty and the UBC community. Nontraditional forms of movement are welcome and encouraged!  

Learn more and get involved at

Post written by Jocelyn Micallef