Be Smart….. Get Moving!

Posted: April 24, 2013 in exercise, fitness, learning, university

forrest-gump3

When I was in college, the term, “freshman fifteen,” referred to the fifteen pounds or more that most students gained during their first year of college. It was a true phenomenon, and I suppose we could chalk it up to a number of things. Perhaps metabolism slows down a little after 18. Or, it could be the high fat and starch diets found in many college cafeterias. Or perhaps, we should point a finger at the frat parties with plentiful booze. To top it off, it could also be the sedentary lifestyle of students who study for hours on a daily basis (is that true?). Whatever the reason, you don’t have to go to the gym every day to fight off the pounds. Making a conscious effort to stay physically active can make a big difference, not only in your body, but also in your mind. It is a well-established fact that exercise strengthens the structure and function of the brain. Many animal and human studies have “shown that a few months of moderate exercise can create new neurons, lift mood and hone memory and thinking”.

Here are some easy ways to do it:

  • Walk. Walk a lot. If you drive to school, don’t go for the closest parking lot. Park further away, and then take a brisk walk to your class.
  • Always, always choose the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If you live close enough to campus to ride a bike to school, then do it!
  • When you walk to classes, do so at a brisk pace. Who cares if it doesn’t look cool?
  • Your campus probably has a gym. Go there and use the tread mill, elliptical, or stationery bike, and you can even use your study flash cards while you do it (see the previous post on this topic).

When you are studying, take breaks ever 45-50 minutes. This is good for your mind, but it is also good for your body if you use the break to move. Take a walk around the dorm, go up and down the stairs a few times, or change your study area. For example, if you have been studying in the library for the last hour, pack up your bag and walk to the café. Study for an hour while you sip your latte, and then pack up your bag and move to yet another area. The breaks and movement are great for your concentration and study power.

To sum it up…. Get moving!

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