Happy Study Week!
Wait, did I just combine the words happy and study in the same sentence? Wow. How can anyone be happy when they have to study? Especially if they have to study for the next few hundred hours?
I’m sure we all understand the struggle of finals. We make our best effort and sacrifice any time we can spare to prepare for the Big Tests. We pore through pages and click through websites and sort through Youtube videos scrambling for a strategy or tool that’ll allow us to finally memorize the basic amino acids and recite muscle origins and insertions. We give it our all, even if it doesn’t make us remotely happy.
But what if there was a study strategy that was easy, effective, and fun? What if it even made you a little happier while you studied? What if I told you this strategy was just… moving?
That’s right. More and more research is showing that studying before, after, and maybe even during a good workout can boost your brain cells and help you learn material better.
Why is that? Some experts claim that it is due to exercise’s effect of increasing blood flow to the brain. Another theory is that exercise increases the expression of compounds called brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which are associated with increased cognitive function and alertness. Whatever the case, it’s clear we should really start moving this week. How should we do that though, and in what order? Here are some ideas.
- Exercise, then study! Start off your morning with a nice dose of cardio and it may make your following study session a little more bearable. Plus, you’ll enjoy the benefits of increased brain blood flow and feel-good endorphins to help you be smart and feel great. So consider heading out for a nice outdoor walk or run in the AM before hitting the books.
- Study, then exercise! Getting the studying right out of the way is a good idea, especially, if you’re worried about time – and then shaking that worry off with some light cardio afterword can help calm the mind and put you back into focus. One study found that exercising a few hours after studying significantly enhances long-term memory storage and retention.
- Exercise while you study! Seems crazy, right? Well, one study that put participants on a cycle ergometer while memorizing vocabulary words found that the group exercising on the cycle while they studied recalled way more words than the group sitting quietly while they studied.So maybe it’s a little awkward to jog around the block with your biology book blocking your view, but some other strategies you can consider is playing study videos or an audiobook while you exercise or accompany a HIIT circuit with some brief flashcard studying during rest periods.
- Don’t forget about proper nutrition! Nourishing that ginormous brain of yours is a must, so consider feeding it some healthy fats, antioxidants, and adequate carbohydrates to best boost your brain power.
So I’ll say it again: Happy Finals Week! Remember to stay active this week while you’re studying — it might help you out in the long run.