The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Shape up for second semester

How to shed those post exam pounds.

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Exams are finally over and the second semester has begun.  It’s time to wave goodbye to those home-cooked meals and to face another ten weeks of pasta overdose and liver damage (which, let’s face it, we never put a stop to back at home anyway). The one thing which most of us wish that we could actually turn our backs on, however, is that Santa-esque belly which we have somehow managed to acquire. Curse those Yorkshire puddings and numerous nights spent on the sofa in a Quality Street induced coma, not to mention the endless packs of Sainsbury’s cookies which have been consumed while going over our revision notes for the tenth time.

The good news is that you don’t need a gym membership in order to lose that extra weight. There are a whole range of other ways in which we students can shed those post exams pounds, without losing the kind of pounds we would really rather hold onto. It would be a shame to make such a large dent in that lovely January loan, after all. Did you know, for instance, that housekeeping burns a huge amount of calories? According to the British Heart Foundation, a 30 minute blast of your bedroom with the vacuum burns, for the average 18-21 year old, around 106 calories – that’s a whole Kit-Kat, or a packet of Wotsits! Not bad. On top of that, 45 minutes worth of ironing can wipe 104 calories away from your daily intake, not to mention cleaning the floors and other surfaces, which burns a whopping 200 calories an hour. So whack on your iTunes library, change into your scrubs and get cleaning. Plus let’s face it, our student houses could do with a little more tlc.

Fidgeting can burn up to 650 calories a day, so instead of slobbing on the sofa or in bed, wiggle those bums and shake those legs. Experts also recommend sex as a highly effective form of exercise, with 42 half-hour sessions burning 3250 calories. It can also lower your stress levels and boost your immunity to colds or other infections, making it a win-win situation. Another calorie-busting idea which costs nothing is to walk to uni; a slow stroll up Wilmslow Road into Fallowfield could rid you of up to 100 calories. Time to leave those uniriders at home.

So don’t get caught up in the New Year’s Resolution hype and think that an expensive gym membership or a drastic, time-consuming lifestyle change is needed. These simple steps could go a long way. Of course it has to be kept in mind that weight loss is down to 20% exercise, and 80% diet, so swap the aforementioned Sainsbury’s cookies for apples and the post night out McDonalds’ for carrot sticks, and you could get that beach bod you have been lusting after just in time for summer.