Importance of exercise for successful studying

- September 30, 2020

If you’re a student (full-time or part-time), at some point you will need to study. For some, studying comes naturally and for others, it’s a real struggle. Over the next few months, we will be producing a series on successful studying with a broad range of tips, hopefully to make it a bit easier.

First up: the importance of exercise.

Not only is exercise great for weight management and an outlet for frustration and stress, it has also been proven that exercise helps improve our ability to learn and remember. According to The New York Times, a recent study shows that exercise may improve memory, even in times of stress – and let’s face it, exams are pretty darn stressful.

Exercise before or after studying?

In addition, studies have shown that we retain more information and are more creative for three hours after exercise. So exercise before you study. Aneeka Buys, Master Trainer at Virgin Active, suggests exercising so that you feel energised but not to the point of exhaustion. “You want to prime your brain for taking on new information, so the best thing to do is get some fresh air. Some Vitamin D (in the form of sunshine) for stress management, and a brisk walk or light jog will do wonders! Remember, we want to energise, not overexert.”

Don’t just exercise, deskercise!

Research says you should take a break from studying every 30 minutes. But rather than scrolling through your Instagram account, move. Sitting for too long can be hazardous to your health, regardless of whether you exercised that morning or not. Plus, exercise breaks prevent fatigue and offset all the damage too much sitting can do. So set your alarm!

Here is Buys’ full-body workout using only your desk and chair:

Incline push-ups: place your hands on your desk and lower yourself down, keeping your core tight. Push back up.

Desk reverse rows: ‘hang’ from your desk and pull yourself up. Lower back down.

Step-ups onto your chair: make sure your chair is pushed up against a wall.

Glute bridges onto your chair: lie on the floor with your feet up on a chair, arms next to your body, lift your hips, squeezing your butt at the same time. Lower back down.

Tricep Dips: sit on your chair and lower yourself until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Push yourself back up.