Gyms and GPAs: How Exercise Could Improve Your Academic Performance
July 15, 2020
Finding time to exercise may be difficult, but improving your physical health can also benefit academic performance
College students have plenty to think about. As states slowly reopen businesses and effectively return to a “new normal," exercise may not be on a busy student’s mind. However, regular exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health. It can also help your grades. According to a 2017 study done by the Stanford Center for Policy Analysis, the amount of physical activity and college academic performance are intertwined. Students engaging in recreational sports and consistent physical activity are more likely to achieve a higher GPA than those who do not. There are many reasons why this is the case but these findings reinforce the idea that if you work on your physical health, you are creating better everyday habits that support progressive academics. Below are some examples of why it might be worth to prioritizing fitness in conjunction with school.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Not everyone sees exercise as fun or even a "break" from studying and that’s normal. The first time going to the gym may feel like more work and less play. However, regular exercise (especially aerobic and endurance-training exercise) reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. Ever heard of the expression “runner’s high?" It’s a positive feeling of exhilaration caused by endorphins released when doing a cardio heavy workout. Exercise can act both as a mood-booster and a de-stressing technique. A positive, confident mindset is incredibly beneficial when tackling schoolwork.
Increased Energy Levels
Exercising more and more often gives you a greater amount of energy. This is why some people go to the gym in the morning. It gives them an extra energy boost so they can be more productive, creative, and clear-minded. Pinpoint which time you study most often and take some time to exercise before that time. You will have more endurance to study longer and more effectively. If you find yourself stuck in an unproductive cycle, simply moving around your dorm can re-focus your brain to the important tasks.
Time Management Skills
Finding time to workout in college is difficult. If you are not on a sports team with specific workout regimes and schedules, there may be little motivation. Exercise does not have to be rigorous in order to be effective. A simple walk around campus could be successful. Making exercise a priority a few times a week creates better habits in time management. Though you may be busier than normal, the workload allows you to cut out unnecessary procrastination habits. Furthermore, there are interesting ways to combine exercise and studying. Some students may find it beneficial to look over notes for a test while riding an elliptical.
There is a pervasive stereotype that gyms are full of bodybuilders, which is simply not the case. Working out is not only for athletes, it is important that college students nurture their physical health as it is correlates to mental health and academic performance. Exercise is incredibly versatile, you can focus on cardio, weights, core strength, or flexibility. Many colleges even have group workout classes featuring yoga, zumba, spin, or kickboxing. So get to know school’s athletic center, it’s a good idea both for your body and mind.
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