“Workout early in the morning, before your brain figures out what you’re doing.”
Whether we like it or not, school’s back. I think many of us dread this season: summer drifting away, colder weather approaching, late night homework sessions dominating. I don’t know about you, but I shudder whenever I hear the word ‘September’ or see a ‘Back to school’ advert. Amongst many issues that trouble our minds during the school year, staying fit shouldn’t be one of them. There is a definite link between health and education, which I’ll try to unpack in this post. Feeling happy ‘in your own skin’ I think really improves your mental health and overall confidence, especially when emersed in a world which harshly judges you on your appearance alone. So, I thought I’d share some tips to help keep fit and healthy whilst studying. You got this!
1. RISE EARLY TO HIIT
If you know you have a busy day ahead of you, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and do a ‘Seven Minute Workout’. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is fast becoming the fitness geek’s workout of choice. It’s a win-win, fast and effective method. Simply download a ‘Seven Minute Workout’ App on your phone or tablet – there are many to choose from but mine is called ‘Seven’ – and your day will get off to the best start! The format is as follows: Twelve x 30 seconds of different exercises, working your absolute socks off (it only delivers results if you put in ‘110%’), each is followed by 10 seconds rest.
You’ll feel like you’ve really woken up and achieved something. You’ll also develop a strong ‘Love/Hate’ relationship for the routine, trust me!
I read an article (link at the end of this post) which gives evidence that when you exercise, your brain-power is boosted in many ways. Firstly, focus is spiked for two to three hours after exercise – useful on a school day, especially before an exam or presentation. Another benefit was that exercise increases productivity, this I think is mostly psychological. Notice how, if you start your day productively, you are more likely to finish it productively. The article quoted this phrase, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” which I had never heard of before, however it makes complete sense, if a little ironic. Lastly, exercise is also said to improve memory capacity; French speaking exam, here we come!
2. TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY
PE lessons: a slot of time in the day that you’re given to exercise, why not take advantage of it? So that means doing extra running when given an option, trying harder to reach the ball in netball or rugby, and racing everyone back to the changing rooms at the end. PE (or Gym Class, whatever you call it) is probably my favourite subject for many reasons; you’re not always sat inside a stuffy classroom writing, and you learn how to stay fit and healthy – vital life lessons. Next time you’ve got sport, use it as your workout for the day. Also, take the initiative to participate in sports clubs. Not only will it keep you active, but you can make new friends and find new passions. For me, sport really helped me to come out of my shell, and for that alone it’s been so important to me.
3. KEEP ON YOUR TOES
Now, I’m not giving you an excuse to be late to all your lessons – even though it would be a good one. But instead of barging your way elbows-first, through the jungles also known as busy school corridors to your next class, take the ‘scenic’ route. By elongating the amount of time you spend up and active in between periods of sitting down, you’ll get the benefits of an overall workout (explained in the first tip, and in the linked post). If possible, another great one is to walk or cycle to school. Starting and ending your day in the fresh air will do you a world of good! Furthermore, try to stay active at break times. I know boys tend to be better at this than girls; football’s popular amongst them, and easy to play pretty much anywhere – whilst girls seem to sit down and ‘socialise’. Out of boredom one lunch – I’m not always the ‘sit down and chat’ kind of person – I invented a game called ‘Tollyball’. A mixture of tennis and volleyball, with the most dodgy rules ever, played with a rolled up piece of tin foil. Every time we play it more people get involved and it’s actually great fun!
I guess what I’m saying is ‘Move more!’ By consciously finding ways to incorporate more movement into every day, you’ll quickly find that you have more energy and feel more alert and able to face the challenges that school throws at you.