NATALIE THOMPSON

Balancing university work and another facet of university life can often be an overwhelming and challenging task. Add sport to the mix with training times, matches and other events, and it could easily become a road to academic disaster.

To help you balance the demands of academics and sport, Perdeby spoke to Tuks students who have found a way to participate in sport while keeping up with their studies.

Athlete and fourth-year civil engineering student Ashleigh Hlungwani said, “It comes naturally to me, because I have been doing sport since Grade 1. But I would say prioritise what is most important.” Hlungwani said that sport is important at university, because it relaxes your mind. Athlete Sonnika Knoetze, an Honours student in the Faculty of Education, advised students not to procrastinate. “If you need to do something, do it now,” she said.

Dave Mogotlane, Tuks cricketer and second-year psychology student, told Perdeby, “Managing to balance sport and studies in first year is very challenging but it is possible through good time management. It’s important to plan ahead and distinguish clearly between time for training, studies and free time. Sometimes you may need to sacrifice some of your social life to put extra work into your studies or training but it is well worth it in the long run.”

Residence sport provides the opportunity to get to know members of your res and other residences, and is also a good way to avoid cabin fever.

Karin Jonker is a second-year geology student and plays netball for her res. “The two or three hours you take a week to do sport will help you relieve stress and feel part of your res.” She said that she finds it easy to balance studies and sport and added that doing sport is better than “taking a nap”.Second-year environmental sciences student Antoinette van Niekerk agrees that sport is an important part of student life. “I recommend sports as it helps with first-year syndrome and meeting new people. And it’s a nice vibe.”

Most students interviewed agreed that successfully balancing the two activities can only be achieved through equal commitment to both, but that it is rewarding if you can do it.

Exercise can help you enjoy university life to the full. According to health24.com, exercise has added benefits that students don’t always consider but should take into account, such as reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, which relieves stress on your heart. Exercise improves blood flow and therefore prevents blood clots, which cause strokes and heart attacks. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and depression, which are a part of student life.

Another benefit of exercise is that it improves your sex life, as the brain is the most important sexual organ. Stressed and depressed people battle to enjoy a healthy sex life.

With so much work to do as a student, you often neglect exercise and with all the fast food you’re (probably) eating, your knowledge might not be the only thing that expands while at university. To help you avoid first-year syndrome, Perdeby has included some exercises you can incorporate into your busy schedule. You don’t even have to leave your room:

• 20 push-ups. Use your arms to lower and raise your body.

• 30 crunches. Lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your shoulders towards your knees.

• 30 burpees. Stand and then drop into a squatting position. Quickly jump backwards into a plank position before returning to the squatting and finally standing positions.

• 20 split jumps. Stand with one foot forward and the other back with your knees slightly bent. Bend your legs more to dip your body down.

• 30 tricep dips. Hold the edge of a chair or table and bend your elbows to lower yourself to the ground.

• 30 jack knives. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest while lifting your shoulders at the same time.

• 20 tuck jumps. Hold the edge of a chair or table and bend your elbows to lower yourself to the ground.

Illustration: Modeste Goutondji

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