Gabrielle Wilson, better known as ‘Gab’, is the Red Runner for online students and is on a mission to inspire others like her to join #BetterInRed from wherever they are. She’s a pro at juggling work, study and exercise into an already very full schedule.
Here she shares her tips for being #BetterInRed, making exercise an unbreakable habit.
Hi, my name is Gab and I’m the Red Runner for CSU online students. I’m studying a Masters of Teaching (Primary) full time online, and working at a primary school 4 ½ days a week.
I knew taking on the challenge of work and study would be hard work, but I don’t think I knew exactly what I was signing up for!
I love to prioritise exercise, but this isn’t always easy; particularly when assessments are due or during exam time! With such a busy schedule, it takes some clever thinking and impressive time management to squeeze some physical activity into the day along with study and work.
Here are my top tips for juggling study, work and physical activity:
- Lock it in! I make sure to lock in non-negotiable activities each week to get me moving, and I organise my study schedule around this. For me, this includes parkrun each Saturday, boot camp one evening a week with a work friend and social netball on Mondays. By locking in these activities, I know that when uni gets hectic I will still get my three sessions a week of exercise at a minimum, and it doesn’t become a chore trying to make time for it.
- Lazy fitness! There are definitely weeks throughout the semester where trying to get out and be active is borderline impossible. When this happens, I try to fit in some extra activity within my daily routine; which often seems easier than fitting in a full 30 minutes or hour specifically for exercise. I know people always say ‘take the stairs’, but there are a million ways you can add in a few more steps. Some of my go-to lazy fitness activities are to take the rubbish out instead of asking your partner or kids to, wander around the house or backyard when you’re on the phone, and when you’re walking at work or the shops simply pick up the pace!
- Get active with friends! One of my favourite hacks is to involve friends in my activities. This not only makes exercise way more enjoyable, but it is quite an efficient use of time! Catching up with a friend on a walk, or in between burpees doubles as exercise and friend time (which are both SUPER important) – and it means one less thing to try to make time for.
- Active study! Do you ever feel like sitting and listening to an hour-long lecture recording is a waste of time? I do. I’ve started downloading my recorded lectures and listening to them on a walk, or bike ride. You can listen to them on the treadmill if you’re a gym-goer, or even play them while you run around cooking dinner in the kitchen. Take away that hour of sitting, and combine your lectures with some activity! Even just getting up and standing at your desk while you listen will make a difference.
- Find your motivation! I know that exercise gives me energy; that’s my motivation. It clears my mind, helps me concentrate while studying, makes me happier at home and work, boosts my confidence and obviously does wonders for my health. Finding your motivation will really help to keep you on track; whether that be lose weight, increase fitness, increase happiness, find body confidence or get out and socialise. Remind yourself regularly of your motivations; write them in your diary, put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or fridge or, my go-to, set events in your phone with messages to yourself instead of alarms. Find what works for you!
I know that studying online, working and exercising regularly is hard work but I hope you can take at least something from my reflections on being a Red Runner and how I make this happen. I look forward to seeing your posts during the remaining weeks of the Better in Red challenge – let’s finish it with a bang! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BetterInRed.
#BetterInRed is all about getting the most out of university life by looking after your health and wellbeing. It is an exercise challenge that will run for eight weeks from Monday 6 March.
So, lace up, get out and challenge yourself to complete 30 minutes of exercise three times per week. Share your exercise using #BetterInRed and you could win some great prizes!
Find out more at social.csu