The Bookbyte Blog
Combine Exercise & Study to Learn Better
As a student, my New Year's resolutions usually always included some form of promising to exercise, eat healthier, and study more. Sometimes they would come out as a plea to the universe rather than a list of ways to improve myself in the New Year: "Please please please let me get all As and have rock-hard abs and I promise to stop eating twinkie sandwiches together while binge-watching Doctor Who before a huge test."
When school actually started again, exercise usually fell to the wayside while studying, working, and having some semblance of a social life took priority. Exercise, or the lack thereof, is a problem for many students who tend to not make the most health-conscious choices, from pulling all-nighters to subsisting on a diet of instant noodles, energy drinks, and granola bars.
I'm sure you've seen headlines and read blogs telling you to hit the gym before you hit the books. Not only is it great for your overall health, but exercise also boosts your brainpower too. Besides giving you an energy rush, exercise has been proven to improve attention span and your ability to process information faster.
"Yeah, that's great," you're saying. "But if I don't have enough time for sleep, where am I supposed to find time for exercise?" Well, then you'll like this next part (especially if you're a multitasker).
Recent studies have shown that exercising while learning may help you absorb more information than exercising before learning or not exercising at all. Woooo!
The study also found that "light-intensity" exercise to be more beneficial to prime the brain for absorbing new information, whereas more vigorous exercise might hijack the brain's resources leaving fewer for retaining information. Even better! You don't have to work up a major sweat in order to pump up your learning.
So...how do you combine exercise and study? Here are some ideas:
Treadmill or elliptical -- You can control how fast you walk and most treadmills now have a support bar to rest your phone or book.
Audiobooks -- Get the books you need on audio and you can listen to them anywhere, while jogging, lifting weights, and just about anything else.
Fitness ball -- Switch out your desk chair with a fitness ball and you can tone your core muscles while improving your balance and strengthening your back.
Chair squat -- Break up the monotony of typing or reading at your desk with some chair squats.
Wall sitting -- Rest against the wall while holding a book at eye level. This might be a little too vigorous for some (*cough* me *cough*).
Plank reading -- Set your book in front of you before going into plank stance. Maybe reading a little History will help you take your mind off the burning in your muscles.
Got any other exercise/study combinations?