By Louise Bell Study tips Life beyond the books: fitness 3 Sep 2012 You don’t have to be at university or college to enjoy the lighter side of student life. In the first of a series of posts throughout September, Louise Bell brings you a guide to broadening your horizons. First up: health and fitness Healthy body, healthy mind; it may be a cliché, but there’s plenty of evidence that regular exercise can boost your brainpower as well as your muscles. Physical activity releases endorphins – your brain’s feel-good chemicals – helps you relax and improves your mood. In short, it’ll help give you the energy and focus you need to juggle a busy schedule of working and studying. The choice is endless. From archery to zumba, from cricket to capoeira, you can take your pick. Although fun and enjoyment should be your main motivation, whatever you choose you’ll be learning valuable lessons about focus, commitment and concentration – all skills employers love to see. Go for something like football, cricket or netball and you’ll get a crash course in teamwork too. If you’re studying at a college, that’s the obvious place to start. Check the noticeboard to see what’s going on, and ask about the facilities available. It’s also worth enquiring about any arrangements with local sports centres or gyms, such as discounted membership or free introductory sessions. Check your local authority website or search on Active Places or Change4Life for activities near you. There are also organisations that run leagues and events specifically for students at further education colleges. British Colleges Sport runs leagues in sports including athletics, badminton and swimming, with a major national championships each year. The Southern England Student Sports Association offers beach volleyball as well as the usual football, cricket, hockey, rounders, basketball and golf. So there’s plenty to try, but make sure you check that your college is a member of the relevant organisation before taking part in any events. Get (even more) involved Keen on sport? Want to give something back? Then why not join the two million volunteers in the UK who are already helping organise community sports activities and events. It’s a great way to broaden your experience and develop your leadership and communication skills. Sport England’s volunteers page explains how to help and where to go for more information. Volunteering England has a list of local volunteer centres and the Sports Makers website explains how you can become part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy. If you’re in the South East… Kent Colleges Student Sports Association organises football, basketball, netball and rugby events for local further education colleges If you’re in Newcastle… A Leisureplus card costs less than £10 and offers a year of discounted activities This article first appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Accounting Technician, AAT’s membership magazine. Don’t miss Louise’s second post, which goes live on 10 September, which will look at getting involved in writing for newspapers and magazines. Louise Bell has contributed to Accounting Technician magazine.