There are two types of students in this world: those who exercise and those who do not. Although many students find themselves with too little time to participate in sports or to go to the gym after class, there are surprising benefits to exercise that might just make you want to get moving!
Prioritizing What Matters
Some students find that between studying, classes, tests, and labs, there is absolutely no time to “waste” exercising. Intellectually driven students might prefer to spend their time at a desk rather than on the field, finding that this helps to boost their knowledge, enhance their education, and improve their grades. However, getting exercise is important for all students. Thin, wide, short, or tall, exercise is good for all—and it boasts some surprising benefits!
Although spending hours locked away in a closed room while studying might sound like an effective way to learn, it is not. The surprising news is that studies show that physical activity actually increases memory. That means that exercise can serve as a means to help students excel when studying for an important exam!
Our tip: instead of sitting in a room, tirelessly reading, writing, and highlighting, step outside for a bit and get a little exercise. This will help get the blood flowing, it will refresh the mind, and it will give the brain a short break before returning—all while setting up a better chance of remembering what is on the upcoming test!
Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Mental and emotional health are two serious issues that have been placed in the limelight, recently. Many students do not understand how to address stress, anxiety, and depression, which can prohibit them from properly executing the work that is at hand. Depression can cloud one’s mind with sad thoughts, eliminating the ability to focus on what is important.
However, physical activity is a great way to lower the effects of these difficulties, enabling students to easily focus on what they need to do to succeed! Go for a quick run to unwind and clear your mind, and be sure to take study breaks every couple hours!
Improve Your Sleep Schedule
Exercise sets students up for success. After a long, strenuous work out, their body and mind will feel exhausted. This leads to a better night’s sleep! Rather than battling a racing mind and energetic body, students who exercise can fall asleep and stay asleep more easily.
Seized by Stereotypes
According to researchers at Stanford University, the stereotype that undermines athletes’ academic abilities has, over time, harmed their performance in the classroom. In layman’s terms, “some college student-athletes suffer from ‘dumb jock’ stereotypes when it comes to academic performance,” leading to underperformance in the classroom (Parker). Unfortunately, it is nearly expected that many athletes will fit into the “dumb jock” stereotype, which has led to social acceptance of this misconception.
However, it is time to lay this stereotype to rest as exercise has actually found to be very beneficial to student athletes when off the field and in the classroom.
Brain Function Boost
In reality, one of the most significant results of exercise is an increase in clear brain function. The New York Times details recent research by asking, “Why would exercise build brainpower in ways that thinking might not? The brain, like all muscles and organs, is a tissue, and its function declines with underuse and age . . . Exercise, though, seems to slow or reverse the brain’s physical decay, much as it does with muscles. Exercise seems to make neurons nimble” (Reynolds). In other words, exercise does not only strengthen the muscles used, but it also strengthens our minds. It does not only have a mental effect on our brain, but a physical effect.
Sharpen Your Cognitive Ability
To further detail the physical effect exercise has on the brain, let’s review another study. The Los Angeles Times quoted psychology professor, Michelle Voss, saying, “Aerobic exercise improves ability to coordinate multiple things, long-term planning and your ability to stay on task for extended periods,” while resistance training “improves your ability to focus amid distracters” (Fell). This makes it obvious that physical activity benefits the brain short term, but what about long term? Voss’ study found that exercise actually, physically grows the brain, and can help to fend off brain damaging diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, long term.
Exercise Your Right to Learn Better!
Students, it’s time to start exercising! Students who want to improve their brain function and studying habits will highly benefit from exercise. If you are looking for a place to exercise your right and ability to learn better, consider Florida National University! Apply today to begin learning in one of our programs, whether on campus or online.
Fell, James S. “In-Your-Face Fitness: Dumbbells Can Make You Brainy.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
Parker, Clifton B. “Stereotypes Can Affect Athletes’ Academic Performance.” Stanford University. Stanford University, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.
Reynolds, Gretchen. “How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.