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Students in a stairwell
March 13, 2019
2 mins read

4 easy ways to exercise while you study

Take it from me, I don’t exercise unless it fits nicely into my schedule.

With exam time around the corner, this can become harder to do as prioritizing stationary studying over active movement seems like the better choice. However, even this notoriously stagnant individual has come up with 4 easy ways to incorporate movement into studying.

1. Exercise first 

It’s best to start your day with a simple exercise before you hit the books. This will alert your brain and begin the process of optimal information retention.

Idea: Jog from the bus stop to the library, take a brisk walk to the coffee shop, walk up the 4 flights of stairs in Irving—all of these (and a few more) will begin to boost the size of your hippocampus a.k.a. the part of your brain used for memorizing and learning.

2. Practice active recall 

Anyone can recite materials when staring at a textbook, but test your knowledge by explaining it in your own words and take a walk while you’re at it.

Idea: Stroll down to Nitobe gardens on an active recall break, and try to explain all the material you just learned back to yourself. You could also bring along a study buddy and explain different concepts to one another.

3. Use incentives 

We all need motivation sometimes, so why not combine exercise challenges into your study routine?

Idea: Make a game that incorporates fitness into a study session. Set some goals for right answers on a sample test or correct answers on flashcards. For example 10 squats if you get 5 questions right, 10 pushups for a perfect score, etc. Reward your intelligence by strengthening your body! It’s win-win.    

4. Remember the law of diminishing returns 

Your brain, like any muscle, needs a break. If we learned anything from Econ 101, the longer you study, the less information you will retain at the same rate.

Idea: When you feel like your brain is lagging, take 10 minutes to stand up and stretch your body, or take a walk to fill your water bottle, or try the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of studying, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 metres away—this will give your eyes a break.

Students walking around campus

It doesn’t take long in the basement of Koerner to know that a change of pace is sometimes needed to kickstart your study motivation. By doing these simple moves, you’ll find your study groove.