• Hannah

Top 5 ways for students to get fit and stay healthy in St Andrews

Are you living in or moving to St Andrews, and want to know how you can get fit and stay healthy? We all know that we could improve our weekly routines to stay healthier, be more fit and feel less stressed. Unfortunately, our busy lifestyles can often get in the way of our ability to get fit and stay healthy. Maybe you are looking for more enjoyable ways to get fit and stay healthy in St Andrews?

Here is some good news, there are a number of ways you can do that in St Andrews, Fife. Small changes to your lifestyle can have a massive difference in the way you feel overall, and the best part is, St Andrews is one of the most perfect places to get healthy! This is because there is a wide range of places to get fit and eat healthily, to suit any budget. Here are five easy ways to get fit and stay healthy whilst you are living in St Andrews.

Great, fun ways to exercise in St Andrews

Exercise is one of the key elements to staying fit and healthy. Every person, no matter what their fitness level, should be getting plenty of exercise each week to stay as fit as possible. Sometimes, with busy schedules or a limited budget, often we forget to do this, leading to a run-down or unfit feeling and occasionally making us unwell.

Although sometimes it can be difficult to find time for exercise, especially during busy study periods, it's so important to try to get some exercise in each day. We have found some great, simple ways to keep fit and healthy in St Andrews for every budget.

Go for a walk

It sounds simple, but taking 20-30 minutes to take a walk each day can make a huge difference to your fitness levels and mental health. There are plenty of amazing, beautiful walks in St Andrews, including down by the beach, St Andrews Botanic Gardens or through the local town.

Visit the beach

West Sands is a beautiful beach with miles of scenery and is a great place to relax with a book or even write an essay. Taking your books down to the beach and studying there won't even feel like exercise. Bear in mind that it might be chilly, so take a coat in the winter!

Visit the gardens

The botanic gardens are a national treasure in the heart of St Andrews. The garden boasts rare and unusual plants, ponds, waterfalls, woodland walks and greenhouses with cacti and tropical plants. What's even better, is that admission is free with your student card, so it's well worth a visit and a wander around. Why not take your books and study in the fresh air?

Join a gym

There are a number of gyms available to join in St Andrews if the great outdoors isn't for you. The University of St Andrews boasts its own gym with memberships going for around £160 for the year, or £75 during term time. Alternatively, there are a number of gyms available locally including Functional Fitness Gym, East Sands Leisure Centre and The View Studio.

Try golf

St Andrews is one of the most popular locations for golf in the world. Anyone can play golf in St Andrews, and there are a whopping 10 courses, including the Old Course, The Castle Course and Jubilee Course. The standard high season green fees range between the Old Course at £175 and the 9-hole Balgove Course at £15, so you can still play multiple courses whilst keeping your budget in check!

Healthy eating in St Andrews

One of the most important ways to stay healthy and get fit is to maintain a healthy diet. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to go on a crazy diet or limit your calories too much. If you make the right small choices, like what you snack on, or where you go for a snack or for dinner, you can make a big impact on your health. Eating plenty of vegetables can have a positive impact on your health. Another important factor is to try to eat as much non-processed food as possible, as more calorie-dense foods are usually nutrient-poor. We have chosen what we think are some of the best places in St Andrews to eat or grab a snack without feeling the guilt afterwards!

Zest Café

Zest Café is an independently owned café and coffee shop on South Street in St Andrews. They boast a lovely outside seating area (with cover, as it's Scotland after all!) and welcome everyone including University of St Andrews students, locals and visitors. Zest Café specialize in breakfasts, lunch, snacks, coffee and healthy smoothies. The staff are friendly, welcoming and the best part is that they have a "build your own" salad bar which is ideal for a quick, healthy lunch on-the-go. Check out their website for more health tips!

Heart Space Whole Foods

Heart Space is a Whole Foods shop also located on South Street in St Andrews. They specialize in (yes, you guessed it) whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods. They hate that processed, bad-for-you stuff! The shop covers everything from fruit and veg to chocolate and healthy snacks and is fantastic if you want to make a few small changes and grab something fresh for cooking at home.

Mitchell's Deli

Mitchell's is a restaurant and deli which specializes in Scottish produce. They work with over a dozen local suppliers to bring you the very best baked goods and other food and drinks. They serve loads of great healthy and wholesome choices (and some sweet treats too!). Take a look at their menu here:

Next Door

Next Door is an easy-going breakfast, brunch and lunch spot, right next to the Adamson on South Street. Boasting a menu that is both healthy (and delicious), Next Door is a super stylish café with a host of plant-based options on offer. Take a look at what they have to offer here

How to relax in St Andrews


One of the best ways to relax when your study schedule is rammed is to exercise. There are plenty of places to run in St Andrews including one of the three beaches, or other places as mentioned above. The University of St Andrews boasts a £14m Sports Centre including an indoor tennis court and a climbing wall. With over 50 student sports clubs competing at a range of levels, you're sure to find something that interests you, and gets you away from the books for a while!

Have a spa day

If you're feeling the urge to unwind and aren't keen on taking the active route, visit one of St Andrew's popular spas for the day. Relax and unwind in the Fairmont St Andrews or the Old Course Spa for the day and take a break. If those options might break the bank on your student budget, you could always visit Fresh inc. medispa in St Andrews and enjoy a treatment and use of their facilities from just £40.

Have a weekend off "the sesh"

Although going out is part of the student experience, you should consider taking a short break from it every once in a while, to recharge the batteries, reset, and allow your liver to catch up with you! Consider spending some time with your friends and peers in an alternative setting once in a while. You could host a friends dinner, or meet for coffee in one of St Andrews many cafes and restaurants. Whilst it's so important to socialise and enjoy your student experience, taking a few nights off will work wonders for your health and wellbeing!

Sort out your healthcare at St Andrews

Whilst you are studying in St Andrews, it's important to make sure your healthcare is covered, especially if St Andrews is not your local town. It's especially important for international students to make sure their healthcare is sorted so they can still be treated in an emergency, for example.

Register with a doctor

There are a number of healthcare options for students studying at the University of St Andrews. However, it is important to make sure that you are registered with an NHS practice in St Andrews before you arrive. The University recommends the NHS facility at the community hospital, which houses two NHS practices. You can download the new patient registration and student medical questionnaire here or at the University of St Andrews website.

It is always important to register with an NHS practice, as in an emergency, it's important the NHS can identify you and find your health records. However, although you should register with an NHS practice, you can choose from both a combination of NHS and private healthcare or one or the other. It's completely up to you.

If you would like the option of seeing a private GP in St Andrews, you can visit Vaila Health. Our practice, Croftwell Clinic, is based in St Andrews and has served the locals and students from St Andrews for over 15 years. We offer consultations, prescriptions, referrals, blood tests and much more. Visit our services page to find out more.


It is also important to make sure you have registered with a dentist for your bi-annual check-ups and for any dental work you may need whilst you are away from home and studying at St Andrews. There are a number of dental practices in St Andrews, including Bupa Dental Care, St Andrews Dental Care & Implant Clinic and Gentle Dental Care.

Mental Wellness support in St Andrews

Around one in four people suffer from some mental health difficulty in any one year. It's common to have stresses or problems with your mental health, especially whilst you are studying. You may be far away from family and friends, have a lot of coursework causing you stress or even may be experiencing a culture shock if you are an international student trying to adapt to life in Scotland. It's so important to speak to someone if you are having problems or feeling stressed, upset or depressed.

Talk to friends and family

One of the most important things is that you find someone to speak to. It might be more comfortable for you to have a chat with someone in your family or a close friend. Talking about it will make you feel a bit better, and sometimes talking to someone can help you rationalise or cope with something you were struggling to deal with before.

Speak to your doctor

If you don't have someone close you are comfortable speaking with, or feel particularly mentally unwell, you can visit your doctor for help. A doctor can help you by referring you to someone to speak to, such as a Psychiatrist or Mental Health Nurse. Alternatively, they might be able to prescribe medication to help you to cope better. It would be completely up to you on how you would move forward with treatment. A benefit to visiting a private GP is that you are able to spend longer discussing how you are feeling and options on how to improve your health.

Book an appointment with a Vaila Health private GP here.

Have a chat with Student Services

The University of St Andrews offers an Advice & Support Centre, where students can visit and get further help or even just have a confidential chat with someone. The offices are located at 79 North Street and are open between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. You don't need an appointment and you can go in anytime during their opening hours.

You can also book an appointment with a Wellbeing Adviser, Counsellor or Mental Health Coordinator during term time, by visiting their website or by emailing

Staying fit & healthy in St Andrews

There are a wide range of things to do to get fit and eat healthily to suit any budget in St Andrews. St Andrews is a completely unique place to live and to study. With a world-class reputation, the University of St Andrews itself offers a wide range of social activities, including over 140 student societies and 50 sports clubs. This means that it is an amazing university when it comes to getting fit and staying as healthy as possible both physically and mentally whilst you are studying.

Vaila Health are committed and proud to work alongside the University and the NHS to provide the best healthcare service for the students and staff at the University of St Andrews, should they need it.

We offer a full list of services for acute and chronic physical conditions, mental health, medication, contraception, blood tests, investigations, sexual health screening and referrals. We can also administer Immunotherapy for those who are stable on treatment, with no history of adverse reactions.

If you’re an international student heading to the UK and you’re on medication, please check with your Physician at home that the medication is licensed for use in the UK. Our GPs are usually able to continue prescribing stable repeat medications, but in some instances would request that you are under the care of a Specialist in the UK too. We can help arrange this for you if required.

If you would like to find out more about our location and the services we offer at Vaila Health in St Andrews, give us a call on 0333 577 5999 to find out more or to book an appointment.


Vaila Health

Croftwell Clinic, Prior Muir, St Andrews, KY16 8LP

0333 577 5999 |


0333 577 5999

Croftwell Clinic, Prior Muir, St Andrews, KY16 8LP
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Vaila Health is not an emergency service. If you have concerns about a serious urgent medical condition such as a Heart attack, Stroke or Meningitis then please dial 999 or go straight to A&E. © 2020 Vaila Health, All Rights Reserved

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