Everyone knows that going to the gym can help improve your fitness and general health. But did you know it can also improve your academic performance? Now that we’ve got your interest, how can you incorporate a healthy routine to your already busy study schedule? Here’s how we can help you.
So where’s the evidence?
Studies at the University of British Columbia have shown that patients who exercised more i.e. did more aerobic exercise, the kind that makes your heart thump and you sweat profusely, had larger brain sizes. The hippocampus (the area that encourages verbal memory and learning) was seen to grow larger with more exercise. However, weightlifting didn’t have an effect on brain size.
Additionally, Heidi Godman from Harvard University also writes that regular aerobic exercise helps to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammations, encourages chemical releases in the brain and growth of new cells. The International Journal of Workplace Health Management recently conducted a study that showed people who exercised during the day were 23% more productive at work than when they didn’t exercise.
Exercise also helps students with one of their bad habits- sleep. It helps the body go into a regular biological routine of sleep after exercise. In turn this can help your mood– exercise can help release serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone, and reduce stress and anxiety.
So how can you take advantage of these health benefits?
We all know what to do- get off the sofa and start exercising! In the study from the University of British Columbia, some of the participants took a brisk walk for an hour, twice a week. So around 120 minutes a week. If you feel you can’t quite reach that in your first week, perhaps try doing it progressively. Start with a few minutes on your first day, then add on a few minutes after.
If walking isn’t your cup of tea, then try swimming, or anything else that can help you break out in a light sweat. Household chores like cleaning, walking up and down stairs.
If you like the idea of self-defense classes, that would also work. Many towns have a karate dojo or other form of martial art class and are around an hour long and held several times a week, depending on your level of capability. Many universities and high schools offer these self-defense classes at a student rate so it’s not very expensive at all.
Exercise has been proven repeatedly to help boost your brain power, improve productivity and concentration. Secondary effects of regular aerobic exercise are less stress, anxiety and better sleep patterns. All these elements will help you succeed more at your studies. You can take advantage of these health benefits by walking twice a week, jogging, swimming, taking up exercise classes or martial arts or any form of exercise for a few hours.