Exercise and exams

It’s exam time, so you’re probably doing some pretty heavy mental gymnastics. But what about the rest of your body? I find that I really slack off on my workouts when exam time rolls around. Actually, I start slacking off during the second round of assessments. It’s the classic tale: you’re too busy, too stressed and too tired to work out, so you don’t. This may not be the best thing for your health (or your grades), as exercise has been proven time and time again to boost your mood (gotta love those endorphins), enhance concentration, and of course, increase your physical fitness.

As a time-poor uni student, I took to studying during my workouts last semester, and there’s definitely some lessons to be learned from my mistakes.

Trying to do your reading on the treadmill is not a good idea. You will fall off, and the gym staff will laugh at you. You can read on the stationary bike though – I find this really effective because I a) don’t focus on the pain of the workout, and b) don’t focus on the pain of an 80-page government reading. Downside: I look like a weirdo, and am now known as ‘the girl who comes to the gym to study’. If you can, download your lecture recordings and put them on you iPod, so you can listen to them during your workout.

Not all of us have gym memberships though, and honestly, you probably don’t need one. I’ve discovered the best time to exercise, especially during exams, is actually while studying (sans gym). Don’t give me that WTF look, I’ll explain my ‘cray cray’ ways…

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I often get bored, distracted, hungry, etc. while studying, and suddenly find myself playing Candy Crush. An hour later I’m trapped in an Instagram/Twitter/Facebook cycle, and there goes the study day. What I’ve now started doing, is if I get bored, jump up and do 50 squats, lunges, air punches, or crunches, or a quick weights set for 5 mins. It gets my body moving and blood pumping back to my brain, plus it gets out any nervous energy I’ve collected while sitting down. If I’m really not feeling the study, I’ll go for a run or walk for 20 mins.

This way, I’m still exercising at least a little, without cutting into my study time, and without having to trek to the gym.

PS: Please don’t try this in the library. Or maybe do… I’ll leave that up to you.

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