How Exercise can Make You a Better Student

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Everyone has exactly 24 hours in a day – how do you spend yours? Students schedules are filled with obligations, but planning enough time to exercise a few times each week can help you to stay focused. Surprisingly, less than 5% of adults participate in thirty minutes of physical activity each day, and only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Exercise does not mean you need to hang out at the gym every day. Even a brisk walk to school can help to improve your physical and mental well being. Incorporating physical activity into our everyday lives can do wonder to our bodies, but the question is – how important are the benefits?

Want to feel happier? Exercise improves your mood.
When we are exercising we also increase the level of dopamine and serotonin in our brain. The serotonin regulates the mood, appetite, sleep, memory and sexual desire while dopamine effects emotional response. These chemicals in your brain have an important role when it comes to regulating your overall mood. You do not need to have a killer work out in order to improve your state of mind. Some kind of physical activity for 20-30 minutes can be enough. In other words, exercise can really give you an emotional lift in less than 30 minutes.

Feeling unfocused? Exercise can improve your focus and concentration.
Feeling a bit distracted in the classroom? Thirty minutes of physical exercise can help you to improve your focus and concentration. Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance among students. Your mind will feel sharper after physical activity which may help you to improve your productivity. So for the next time that you are feeling a bit unfocused – take a break and get some kind of physical activity, and come back with new, fresh energy!

Are you feeling stressed? Exercise is a great stress relief.
Even though you do not feel like you could squeeze another thing into your schedule, you might have to rethink. Taking a break for some exercise may even help you finish your tasks faster. It is healthy for your brain to get a break in order to return even more relaxed than before. It is common for students to feel stressed over school. Exercise also helps you to sleep better and it easing typical college anxiety. Research has shown that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality. Julia Andersson, a student at Santa Barbara City College, explains that physical activity is necessary for her in order to stay on top of everything in school. “I do not put any pressure on my self. I just exercise when I feel like it, but one thing is certain – it really keeps my mood and concentration on top.” The key to a healthy lifestyle as a student is time management. Planning your time and following routines may really help a student to stay focused and on track and that is how Julia is organizing her life as well. “I make sure to stick to my schedule and routines. If I have a long day in school and I know that I am going to be tired after, I put on my working clothes in the morning in order to keep my self-motivated from the beginning.”

It is really important to keep the exercise balanced. Training should be fun, not a compulsion. Sometimes that walk back and forth from school is sufficient and sometimes it’s even okay not to do anything at all. As a student it can be really hard to find a balance between school, social activities, friends, and relationships, but remember this: 45-minutes of working out is only 3% of your day, so what is your excuse?

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Cecilia Rosell

Cecilia Rosell is from Sweden. She is a BA student studying Communication and Media. Cecilia’s passions and background are in both photography and graphic design. Coming to Santa Barbara supports Cecilia’s goal of traveling and exploring the world. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in nature with her camera, family, and friends.

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