(Photo courtesy of Jazmin Quaynor via Unsplash.com.)
Honestly, last week was probably the most hectic of my life. This week won’t be much better. I have final projects and exams due in every single class and the majority of them are even due on the same day. Because of the fact that I have been focusing entirely on school for the last week and a half, I have really let my workout routine fade away, and by fade away, I mean that I haven’t even worked out for a week.
Yesterday, though, I finally went on a run, and when I got back, I felt 1,000 times better than I had all week. I felt clear-headed. My stress wasn’t as bad and I didn’t feel like I needed to drink the coffee I had been relying on recently.
Nothing about my day was different than before I went on the run. I still had two massive papers to write and an exam to study for. But my attitude, energy levels and mindset had changed. Naturally, after this experience, I took to the Internet to figure out why.
It turns out that exercising is actually scientifically proven to help you do better in school. According to my go-to website on fitness, Livestrong.com, exercising helps reduce stress levels and literally boosts your brain’s ability to think and perform better.
Students are shown to have done better on exams after a workout in the morning, and also, their focus was so much better.
Actually, six months ago I read a book called Spark by John Ratey. It was all about how exercise improves brain function and how there is tons of scientific information about why you need to exercise if you want to be successful in life. Your brain literally runs on a higher capacity when you exercise. That is so crazy.
I think, for me, the reason exercise is the last on my list when I am busy is because of how much time it takes to do something I technically don’t “have” to do. I have to write a paper, I have to study for my exam, but no penalty will come from me not getting in my daily workout. Or so I thought. After that run, I realized that if I had made the commitment to just run 30 minutes every day, I wouldn’t have been so stressed out. I would have been able to focus better and I wouldn’t feel guilty for all the late-night study snacking I did (which you shouldn’t feel guilty about anyway — but that’s a different blog post).
When you’re super busy, a two-hour workout doesn’t have to be what is on the agenda. Revise it. I know that this upcoming week, I won’t have time to go to the gym every day for hours at a time like I can when I am not slammed with homework, so instead, my goal is to go on a short 30-minute run most days. Just do something. Take walk breaks during your study sessions. Go outside the library and walk around on the sidewalk for 10 minutes and then come back. You will feel so much better.
The key is to breathe, manage your time and make it a priority to move your body no matter what.
Collegian Blogger Katy Mueller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @katymueller13.