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Managing Stress with Physical Activity

Why not take this as an opportunity to form a new habit at university? Research indicates it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit (Clear, n.d.), meaning you could incorporate regular physical activity as a part of your daily routine by the end of the term! Because of this we have put together some top tips on how to stay active both in and outside of Portsmouth during your time with us.

Have to got any other ideas to help students get active? Pop them in the comments section and help us keep active!

University of Portsmouth Gym

Did you know that UoP gym is a part of BUCS’ UNIversal Gym Membership scheme? This means that you can use your membership at other registered university gyms all over the country. So you can still make the most of a student gym membership if you’re distance learning, commuting to Portsmouth or during the holidays if you’re not in the area. Read more about the scheme and check out the registered university gyms here.


Parkrun organise weekly running events across the world for people to join in free. They are events which are organised for anyone to run and take part in a safe and friendly environment. Have a look at their website to see their next event near you.

Online Clubs

There has been a growth of online clubs to bring like-minded people together through online platforms and social media. For example, i-Team is an online cycling team which was founded in Portsmouth and now has members all over the world. It’s run by members and has sponsors to help them enter teams into events worldwide. Check out their website here.

Outdoor Gym Stations

The UK Government have a “Healthy Towns” project, which funds outdoor gym equipment in different cities over the UK. Portsmouth has two stations at Canoe Lake in Southsea and also on the seafront near the free volleyball courts. Why not have a look online and see if there are any near you?

Couch to 5k

The NHS have formed a very popular “Couch to 5k” running challenge to help people get active over a period of 9 weeks. It’s specifically designed to help people become more active and has a clear structure to help you progress. You can read about it here and also download the podcasts online.

Student Groups

UPSU has a wide range of student groups which are mainly on-campus. If you’re in Portsmouth and fancy a new challenge, why don’t you contact one of our groups to see if you can get involved for a taster session? Our groups and their contact details are listed here.

Online Workout Videos

Would you rather stay in to get active? Or maybe you’ve got responsibilities at home which make it more difficult. There are loads of online workouts to help you work out in your own home - even without needing gym equipment! Check out this video on YouTube using textbooks in your workout!

Stressless Week

UPSU organise a stressless week during exams time to help keep students informed in their rights and how to access to support during this very stressful period. Our sabbs also organise a variety of sessions in collaboration with UoP Sport and Rec to help keep students active in their study breaks. Check out this year’s sessions here.

Walking Breaks

Are you losing focus in the library? Have you lost track of how many hours you’ve been revising for? Make sure you take a break and get out the house. Put a coat on and go explore your local area!


Yoga is proven to help flexibility, posture and improves your physical health, with people all over the world practicing it. Why don’t you use yoga as a way to take a break and stretch out when you’ve been sat at your desk reading textbooks all day.


Whether you are new to swimming or a seasoned mermaid or merman, swimming literally lifts you up, taking hold of the weight of daily life and suspending you in complete serenity. If you're local to Portsmouth or a coastal area you could even have a quick swim in the sea and feel the salty waves penetrate your muscles to help you achieve complete relaxation. Check out these swimming tips.

Check Out Your Local Community

There may even be fun and cheap physical activities to challenge yourself in your very own community. From quirky trampolines to rock climbing and adult play area nights out, you can help support those in your local area while having fun and getting fit!

Join in with a Friend

Getting active is always better when it is with a friend. If you're new to physical activity, involving your friends is a great way to introduce yourself to new things. Gain confidence as a group, find a new hobby and expand your friendship group with new mutual interests.

Take up a New Sport

Getting involved with a new sport can be great for improving your fitness and giving you a complete break from the monotony of studying. Varying your study sessions and trying a new physical sporting activity can benefit your well-being and give you the opportunity to learn new transferable skills and improve your team working abilities.

Go Dancing

Dancing can be a fun activity to take part in as a way to express yourself and forget about your revision for a moment. Immerse yourself in music and feel yourself absorbed by the movements and sounds. Whether you're in a group or solo, dancing can make you feel free whilst improving your cardiovascular health, mental health, coordination, agility and flexibility.


Clear, J. (n.d.). How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science). Retrieved from:

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