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Extra Credit: Dorm-sized workouts

Staying fit and having fun with short, creative exercise routines

Columnist

Published: Friday, October 21, 2011

Updated: Friday, October 21, 2011 15:10

There are a few reasons why I've stayed healthy at college. The first, most basic and luckiest explanation is my genes. Second, I really like vegetables, fruit, lean protein and whole grains like quinoa and barley. Maybe I just like the word quinoa. But I would say that the best reason I'm in relatively good shape is because I use my free time to work out in my dorm room.

Anyone, even you freshmen loving your triples, can do most of these exercises in your dorm. Granted, they are least embarrassing in singles, but definitely still doable in doubles or triples. I find time to exercise every day, and so can you. There is always time for a 20-minute workout or two 10-minute workouts.

How? I'm glad you asked. Set your alarm 20 or 30 minutes earlier than usual. Then you can get your sweat on and still have time to shower before class. If you're not a morning person, work out when you finish class in the afternoon - it's a great break between lectures and homework.

I wish I could say that there are many exercise-based websites that I frequent. Sadly, I am shamelessly addicted to Exercise TV online and when I'm home I use Exercise TV On Demand. With time, I'm sure you'll learn to love it, too.

Sometimes you'll have only 10 minutes to work out. Not a problem! Exercise TV online has many mini-workouts from which to choose. When I'm pressed for time, I gravitate toward videos that target key areas like legs or abs. Brief lower body workouts are usually a combination of lunging, jumping and kicking. Roundhouse kicking may be my favorite form of exercise. On the other hand, the short abdominal videos incorporate standing and twisting moves with traditional crunches. This approach can be challenging but is definitely more interesting than typical abdominal exercises. These quick workouts are intense and, therefore, pretty darn satisfying after just 10 minutes.

When you find yourself with 20 minutes to spare, grab a yoga mat or a towel and check out some longer workout options. With a little more time, you can really stretch out your body from head to toe with yoga and Pilates. Yoga can make you feel inches taller while Pilates helps build core strength and long lean muscle. Can't argue with that.

If you find yourself with 30 minutes of free time, you should try my favorite exercise video on Exercise TV online: Bridal Body Burn. A few times a week, Violet Zaki, a wonderful Australian trainer, tells me to stop thinking about my in-laws and to start focusing on how great I'm going to look in my wedding dress. This workout is a half hour of incredibly fun cardio and strength moves, including roundhouse kicking and twisting abdominal moves.

Working out is the best thing you can do with your free time, assuming that you're not too busy curing cancer, finding dinosaur fossils or curing dinosaur cancer. Find time to work out every day, or maybe a few times a week, and you will be happier. How do I know this? Because of a quote from everyone's favorite sorority girl turned lawyer, Elle Woods: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands."

Siena Tugendrajch is pursuing an English and psychology double major. Her interests include epic similes and personality tests.

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