Weight gain and your first year at college go hand-in-hand. The dreaded "freshman 15" may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's a commonly used phrase because, well, it is a real phenomenon. No one is immune, unless you have a freakishly fast metabolism. The combination of late-night eats, excessive drinking, dorm-room snacking, unhealthy cafeteria meals and lack of exercise will all contribute to the almost unavoidable weight gain. Aside from trying to eat and drink as healthily as possible on a college budget, exercise is the best way to stay fit.
Yoga in Lake Eola Park
Every Sunday, there's a group yoga class in the park (facebook.com/yogainlake eolapark). No prior yoga experience is required, so throw on some groovy yoga pants and give it a try. There's no shame if all you're able to master is child's pose. Hit the farmers market after and you've got yourself a healthy Sunday funday.
Join a sports team
Some high-school students are used to playing multiple sports year-round, but cut ties with the sports routine before heading to college – a surefire way to gain weight before you know it. Whether you're playing to lose weight or just stay in motion, Orlando Sport and Social Club (orlandosportandsocialclub.com) offers competitive sports teams for adults.
Orlando is home to a ton of amateur race events. There's always a 5K, marathon or some other active race that people can participate in for a reasonable price. For a bit more flair, try newer races like the Color Run or the Flavor Run.
As the nation's second largest university, it is no surprise the campus offers a wide variety of different fitness facilities (check rwc.sdes.ucf.edu). These amenities include:
There's an outdoor lap pool where students can swim laps or take different levels of group lessons to improve their swimming skills.
Students can participate in wheelchair basketball, goalball, swim lessons, a rock climbing wall and a student-assisted workout program with help from the UCF Physical Therapy Faculty members.
Group exercise provides many types of fitness classes, like resistance training, mind/body, cardiovascular endurance, plyometrics and spinning. Classes are open to students of all fitness levels, so you can find comfort in knowing you won't be the best or the worst.
Personal training sessions are available to all students and faculty at UCF. The sessions are 60 minutes long and the first one is free.
Small group training is the happy medium between group exercise and personal physical training. These sessions focus on specific fitness goals over a period of time with a group of like-minded individuals. If you prefer to hide in the back during group exercise classes, this is not the class for you.
Intramural sports leagues are where students can act as a referee or a player in a variety of team, dual and individual sports. If you can't find anyone to play with, you can join a team online.
Lake Claire Recreational Area has volleyball courts, picnic tables and a sanded beach area overlooking the lake. No need to drive to a spring to canoe, kayak or paddleboard – students can rent equipment for the day.
Memory Mall is a huge grassy area in between classroom buildings where students play frisbee and other games in between classes. There are even Quidditch tournaments some weekends.
Adventure Trips are fun outdoor outings, from a daylong excursion to a weeklong expedition that won't break the bank.
Challenge Course has high and low elements and will definitely make you break out in a sweat. Think climbing and crawling.
Sport clubs, which are Registered Student Organizations, can be played competitively or recreationally, but are mainly competitive so come ready to play.
Even though this private liberal arts college in Winter Park is a smaller school, it still has top-notch fitness programs and amenities for students at no additional cost (check rollins.edu/athletics and also rollins.edu/r-wellness). Some of these amenities:
The Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center is open to students as a fitness center for campus recreation. If you need someone to show you how to work out, try the group exercise classes instead.
Group fitness classes give students a chance to work out with friends and peers in a variety of different ways.
Alfond Swimming Pool is available for students to swim laps. Swimming laps while overlooking the lake might have you feeling like you're on vacation, not at school – when in reality, you're burning calories from attending a school so close to all of the great restaurants on Park Avenue.
Barker Family Stadium at Cahall-Sandspur Field is a facility where students can participate in intramurals. You might make some enemies, but you might make some friends – and either way, you'll be sweating.
Tiedtke Tennis Courts are open to students. This seems like one of the least popular hobbies among college kids so chances are that you won't have an audience to impress (or not), or a long wait time to grab a court.
Club sports are aimed toward students who want to play a sport competitively – not competitively enough to play for the school team, but more competitively than intramurals.