Tis the season – of finals, that is. When you feel like your planner is about to explode with essays, assignments, and tests, you’re often faced with a decision: to exercise, or not to exercise? Academic commitments should be a priority, but students who neglect to exercise are putting more than their waistlines at risk! While exercise is no doubt important for general health and weight management, students often fail to consider the other benefits associated with being active, including:
Recent studies have suggested a link between fitness and intelligence. Studies of students have found that increased aerobic capacity is correlated with increased memory function. Get running to get your A!
When you exercise, endorphins (feel good chemicals) are released, contributing to better moods and lower stress levels. Whether you say “om” in a yoga class or sweat it out on the elliptical, you’ll be in a better mood when you’re done!
It’s easy to lock yourself up in the library or your dorm room, studying life away. Making exercise a priority gets you out and interacting. Try a group fitness class or just get into the rec centre to see people besides your professors and TAs!
Providing a much needed study break
Oftentimes you’re actually more productive if we take breaks during our work! A quick workout is a perfect way to leave the textbooks and papers for a brief escape. You never need to feel guilty for taking a break to exercise—it’s too good for you! Whether you opt for a group fitness class, hit the weight room, or simply take a walk outside, making sure you fit physical activity into your busy schedule will keep you sane, smart, and healthy this semester. Every little bit counts and making the time for exercise will benefit you in more ways than one! Here are some simple ways to fit more exercise into your life:
Walk to class.
It doesn’t seem like much, but choosing to walk instead of taking the bus is a simple way to make sure you’re staying active. Even on your busiest days, walking to campus is no more time-consuming than waiting around at a bus stop.
Take the stairs.
If the fourth floor of the library is your favourite study spot, consider taking the stairs every time you go. With a heavy backpack, your trips for coffee, phone calls, and fresh air can add up to quite a few flights. Every step counts!
Join a club.
If you’re the kind of person who needs to be held accountable, joining a club may be the best option. With fellow members to ask where you’ve been, skipping practices will be much harder. If you don’t want to join a club, even becoming a regular in a group fitness class will help keep you honest. Let peer pressure work in your favour!
Mark it down
Schedule your exercise just as you’d schedule your meetings, tests, and other commitments; writing it down serves as a reminder that you’ve made a commitment and that you need to follow through.
Make it easy
Keep a gym bag packed with your shoes, lock, and water bottle ready to go. If you need a break from your studies, you can’t make excuses about not being ready to get moving. Set yourself up for success!
Now that you know why exercise should remain a priority and you’ve got some ideas to step up your activity level, you’ve only got one decision to make: exercise now, or exercise later?