Studying and Exercise: Why and How?

Earlier this week we discussed the importance of taking “brain breaks” while working, and what those breaks should look like. Movement breaks are one of the most important ones. But how can you maximize the effectiveness of these breaks? Here’s the Why, and the How!

WHY:

It Gets the Brain Working:

Research has shown (link) that movement and exercise releases many positive chemicals in the brain, including the proteins that jumpstart memory retention and cognitive functioning. In simpler terms, exercise helps the brain get ready to learn and intake information.

It Relieves Stress:

In addition to those helpful proteins, exercise also releases endorphins. These chemicals aid in stress relief, and promote an overall feeling of happiness. In fact, many therapists and psychologists prescribe additional exercise as a treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders. A little movement can go a long way in avoiding the stress that is so often associated with schoolwork. 

HOW:

Scheduling is Important: 

Alright, I’ve just laid out to you why you should be exercising. But what if you don’t have time to leave for a 45 minute bike ride?

No worries! The kind of movement that helps you study doesn’t have to—and honestly shouldn’t— be long workouts. It can be very helpful to schedule a long run or sports practice BEFORE a study session, but during the studying, quick bursts of cardio are your friend. Here are some examples of good study break workouts:

  • Quick bursts of cardio, such as jumping jacks or burpees

  • Pushups

  • And, if you’re looking for a longer workout, many treadmills and exercise bikes have platforms on which to put a textbook. This can a great way to fit in a workout if you have a lot of reading!

  • If you have a child that is age 13 and lower, it is best to get them outside and running around, not behind a computer. Get those wiggles out!

Exercise is one of the best ways to practice self-care while studying. It gets the brain working, relieves stress, and can even reinforce good scheduling habits. Lace up those sneakers and get to work!