The benefits of physical activity for students

Jogger running outside. Andrew Tanglao

Get up and go

We have all heard that physical activity is good for you. This is something that you’ve heard since you were small and you will continue to hear until you are old and grey. But, how does this benefit you as a student specifically? For some, it is extremely difficult to get motivated and go do some kind of physical activity, especially with the seasons changing and the frozen tundra taking over outside which can make it increasingly more difficult to want to do this. The following benefits will hopefully help keep you motivated to get up and at least pace your house a few times a day to help keep the blood flowing and your muscles moving.

The first benefit of energy is that it acts as a natural energy boost. Especially now as the term begins to come to a close we are all scrambling to find enough time in the day to study for finals, finish assignments and find time to breathe in between it all. By sparing some time to get moving and participate in some form of physical activity it will provide you with a natural energy boost and lower your feelings of mental fatigue. This is great news for your wallet as you will not have to purchase such large quantities of coffee anymore, just maybe a pair of running shoes.

Getting up and moving around will also help to improve your quality of sleep. With that end of the term cramming and the never-ending feeling of panic that follows it, tiring out your body will help get it on the same page as your mind when it is time to fall asleep. Many times we go to bed feeling mentally exhausted but our body has not gotten the memo. This leaves us to lay awake for hours wanting nothing more than to crash and with no mental energy to help us get there. By tiring out your body you should be able to fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer which is a gift that we all need at this time of year. As we know, sleep is where we process a lot of our information from the day, so ensuring that we get adequate amounts of it is crucial. This is especially important as we enter into this home stretch.

Another really important thing that participating in consistent physical activity allows is for one to gain a constant sense of achievement. It is far too easy to get weighed down by the grades we receive and the hopelessness that can creep in when thinking about certain classes as it feels like your work is never done and things are not going the way you were anticipating. By performing consistent physical activity you can feel a sense of gratification and accomplishment as the tasks you are performing become easier. You may be able to do more reps, go a further distance or just not sound like you are going to lose a lung when you walk up the stairs too fast. These are all major upsides that we can feel satisfaction in accomplishing, and helps break up the never-ending feeling of constant work with limited reward that we may feel from our coursework.

This is also the brain break that you may not have realized you needed so desperately. With many of us studying from home and trying to limit the amount we go out it does not allow our day to be broken up like it used to be when we had to commute and move between various locations throughout the course of our day. By choosing a time in the middle of your day to spend some time walking around, working out or doing anything else physically active that suits your fancy it allows for you to take a forced brain break. As many of us feel a constant compulsion to keep working as we are just sitting at home the quality of our work suffers as the day goes on as a result. Set an alarm on your phone and walk around for five minutes every hour to break up that time. It will not only make you feel physically better but it will also improve the quality and potential quantity of your work as well.

Just because we are students does not mean that we need to constantly work on flexing our mental muscles. We need to work on our physical ones as well. As it gets colder, being active becomes more difficult and this makes it important to remember why we are doing this in the first place. It is not just to become physically strong but to also help us as academics as well. Get up, move around, and enjoy what your body can do; your coursework will thank you for it later.

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