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Top ten universities for healthier students revealed

UK universities ranked by range and cost of fitness and wellbeing facilities
by Hayley Pearce | 8 Jan 2019

Research reflects students' shift to healthier living

The University of Nottingham has been crowned the best in the UK for healthy student living in research released today.

It comes as 2019 is set to see a continued shift towards alcohol-free, health-conscious student culture, with one in five students claiming to be teetotal according to NUS data from earlier this year.

Student accommodation search engine Mystudenthalls.com has ranked the country’s best universities for supporting healthier student lifestyles.

The University of Edinburgh, University of York, University of Glasgow and University of Bristol also made the top ten.

After Bristol came Cambridge, Newcastle, Exeter, St Andrews and Imperial.

To create the league table, it looked at the range of health and fitness facilities and activities, such as gyms, meditation, mindfulness and yoga, and the cost for students to access them.

The research also looked at how student unions cater for sober students- with dedicated societies, and events for overall wellbeing.


Mystudenthalls.com MD and founder Dan Roberts said: “For so long, student culture has been synonymous with drinking and partying, but it’s clear that a wider shift towards wellness is reflective in the ways that students are spending their money and free time, as well as how they eat, sleep and live.

“We undertook the research to highlight the ways in which universities are accommodating a range of lifestyles, ensuring that students are supported and catered for; however they choose to live. 

“We have seen a demand for alcohol-free, quieter student accommodation, in which students who are avoiding late-nights and partying can be comfortable and feel supported with their choices.

“It’s really important that universities, organisations and accommodation providers are offering a range of living and working spaces, as well as affordable amenities for student wellness and we would encourage prospective students to do their research into this before they apply.”


The University of Nottingham has been found to be the best in the country for encouraging healthy student living and offering the most comprehensive and accessible health and fitness facilities in the UK.

It has more sports clubs than any other UK university, earning it the title of Sports University of the Year in the 2019 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Its student gym membership was also found to be one of the most affordable, with the most comprehensive priced at just £159, while some universities charge up to £630 for similar memberships.

The University of Edinburgh came in at a close second, with its health and fitness membership equating to just £2.50 each week, and some of the best-ranked facilities in the UK.

The research highlights a shift away from the traditional student culture of binge-drinking and unhealthy diets, universities like Newcastle offering dedicated sober socials, and Glasgow even offering ‘Sober Sonic’ club nights, for alcohol-free partying.

When it comes to being teetotal at university, TSR member PollyParrot23 said: "The great thing about university is how diverse it is and you'll find students that drink every night, students that might have a few drinks at weekend or on occasion and those that won't drink at all (for all sorts of reasons be it religion, health or just not liking it)."


For mental wellbeing, Nottingham also offers mindfulness programmes to support students with maintaining mental wellbeing at all times, not just during times of exam stress.

Edinburgh also offers mindfulness training for students, and free weekly mindfulness sessions run by the university’s honorary mindfulness chaplain.

In a thread about feeling anxious at university, TSR member AnxietyGirl recommends joining a fitness class and practising mindfulness: "If the gym isn't your thing, there are less intimidating options like yoga. The endorphins released from excercise are a brilliant antidote to depression and anxiety.

"I feel really self conscious about excercising in public so I like to go for a run around the back streets at night time so I don't bump into anyone.

"Try mindfulness. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a type of non-religious meditation."

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