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How Can Exercise Help Students With Their Studies?

Habits
Oct 5, 2022
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Table of Contents

If your college experience is anything like mine was, it’ll be a mixture of fun, intellectual stimulation and sleepless nights, anxiety-inducing presentations, and stressful papers. It’s natural for your calendar to fill up quickly with all the personal and social commitments students are expected to keep. But to deal with the stressors of life, it’s also important to make time for yourself amid the chaos.

Movement with meditation is a great way to ensure that you have a healthy mind and body no matter how demanding life gets.

Here are three reasons why students should schedule some exercise time:

1. Regularly Exercising Gives You Better Focus

Life as a student can sometimes become pretty overwhelming — I have experienced it firsthand. Having one too many tasks and approaching deadlines can leave us in a state of panic, which in return affects our focus and concentration. It’s a vicious cycle.

However, if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that regular exercise can help you stay focused. I found that although fitting a workout into my day felt like it took time away from studying, I was so much more productive afterwards that it was a net positive.

2. Sleep & Memory Become Better With Scheduled Movement

According to the National Library of Medicine, sleep-deprived people are more likely to have impaired cognitive abilities and perform poorly on memory recall tests. I can attest to this personally — those all nighters weren’t good for me!

Unless you’re some superhuman who thrives on 3hrs of sleep, you probably need to get at least 8hrs of sleep especially before major exams and presentations. One thing that helps me get enough sleep is doing exercise in the morning. Exercise right before bed is a bad idea but I find if I go for a run or hit the gym in the morning, I’m physically tired enough to hit the hay before 10pm.

3. Exercise Helps Boost Academic Performance

I’ve shared a bunch of anecdotes but there’s actually a strong correlation between regular exercise and improved academic performance (here’s some info). Research shows that people who exercise more and improve their fitness tend to improve their grades as well.

If you feel super exhausted after classes, don’t give up just yet. Start exercising a few minutes every day, and you’ll see a marked improvement in your energy levels, making it easier to study more and better, increasing grades and performance on standardized tests.

How to Start Exercising Consistently?

By now, we’ve established that exercise is good for your overall fitness and your academic performance.

It may be challenging to begin a new exercise regimen as a student because you have many obligations and scheduling difficulties. But the good news is that you don’t need to work out for hours at end. A study by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous aerobic exercise every week is all you need.

That’s all.

10 to 15 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and you can achieve your fitness and academic goals.

Here are a few suggestions for enhancing your academic performance and physical fitness through exercise:

Do micro workouts during your study sessions

It sounds crazy but a 1 minute bout of exercise can actually still boost your focus. Focus Bear has a micro workout feature that can remind you to do microworkouts throughout the day. It’ll boost your alertness, mood and your fitness.

Find a type of exercise you enjoy

You don’t have to go to a gym to work out. If you love dancing, a Salsa class can be just as powerful as half an hour of running on a treadmill (and potentially a lot more fun). Even running on the treadmill can be more enjoyable if you listen to an audiobook while you do it or go to the gym with a friend. If you enjoy the exercise, you’re going to be far more likely to do it consistently.

Establish a Routine

Setting clear time limits for school, home life, exercise, and other aspects of your life is important for success. A routine will help you stick to your exercise habit even when different facets of your life grow chaotic. If you struggle with routines, Focus Bear can help you stick to your morning habits.

Begin slowly

It’s tempting to go from zero to hero and start doing 1hr runs every day despite your recent couch potato status. Crash exercise plans/challenges are a recipe for getting injured. It’s far better to start small and focus on consistency over volume. Have a read of Jeremy’s article on tiny habits for some examples. He started with 5 minute workouts and built up to doing 90 minutes of exercise every morning over the course of six months.

Set a goal

Some people find it much easier to exercise if they’ve got a goal to strive for. Make it realistic though: there’s no point signing up for a marathon in 2 months if you can barely run round the block right now. A 5k fun run might be more achievable 😅

Get yourself a workout buddy (or a virtual one)

One final strategy that has worked for me is training with a workout buddy. I find it much easier to get out the door if I know a friend is waiting for me. However, other people can be flakey. At times like that a virtual workout buddy might be just the ticket for you 😉

Check out Focus Bear — it’s an app for your computer and smart phone that will help you stick to your morning routine, do micro-workouts throughout the day and also shield you from distractions when you’re studying.


Habits
Oct 5, 2022

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