Exercise can help improve your memory, boost your energy, and even put you in a better mood. Best of all, exercise supercharges your brain which usually means better grades!

The science

The Centers for Disease Control have stated that “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance.”

First – regular exercise increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, which makes it easier for you to concentrate, comprehend, and recall information. Second – exercise has been shown to spur the creation of new cells in your brain. Third – regular exercise augments brain-derived neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in the brain. (If you were exercising more regularly, you might understand that last sentence.)

The translation is – keeping your body fit keeps your brain fit… which makes you a better student.

The benefits

Beyond supercharging your brain, regular exercise can benefit you in a lot of ways. It can:

  1. Lift your mood: All the studies show it - Regular exercise helps improve your mood and relieve stress in students.

  2. Help your grades: A research study at Michigan State University proved a link between regular exercise and higher GPAs.

  3. Improve your sleep: You NEED good, sound sleep. Exercise reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep you get.

  4. Increase your energy: Yep, expending a little energy working out can give you energy boosts while you’re studying and doing other things.

  5. Sharpen your memory: Exercise has been determined to generate new cells in the part of the brain that controls retention and recall of memories.

Strategies to make it work

We get it – you’re busy. Classes, work, family, and hundreds of other things eat up almost every hour of your day. You can’t imagine being able to fit in a workout every day. And you can’t afford to join a gym or buy equipment.

The good news is – often when you enroll in college, you also receive access to their facilities – FREE. So head over to campus with your ID to utilize the gym, biking/walking paths, swimming pools, and other facilities.

Didn’t get access to work out facilities? That’s OK, all you really need is physical activity, and that can be done anywhere! You can do push-ups, crunches, running, stretching, and lots of other exercises in which you use your own body as your weights (they’re called “bodyweight exercises” and you can find some here. Or if you really want some kind of weights, try using heavy items from around the house, or backpacks filled with textbooks. The point is, working out is about the exercise not where or how you do it.

Things to think about when starting out

  1. Buddy up
    Physical activity is always more fun with a friend. Work out together. Push each other. Even compete against each other on the basketball court, tennis court, running path, etc.

  2. Don’t get overwhelmed
    If the thought of 30 minutes EVERY day has you panicked, take a breath. You can break it up into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day – done whenever you find the time – and you’ll still see all the same health benefits!

  3. Set a goal
    When you have a goal, you are more motivated to achieve. Exercise to improve your grades, get more sleep, increase your energy, or just improve your health in general. And on those days when you really don’t feel like working out… remember your goal.

  4. Do something you like
    If you hate running, don’t torture yourself by forcing yourself to run. Do physical activities that you find fun – dancing, walking the dog, golf, basketball with the kids, etc. It all counts!

  5. Be creative
    Think of ways to kill two birds with one stone. Walk or bike somewhere instead of driving. Do exercises in your seat at work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ten minutes of yoga in the morning

It’s important. And easier than you think.

Being healthy – body and mind – not only makes you a better student, but it also makes you a better parent, friend, and employee. So find the ways to exercise that suit you best and start a simple workout routine. Stick with it and change it up to keep it interesting.

Resources from C2C

The Complete 2 Compete program is here to provide resources and support to help Mississippi adults go back to college and complete their degrees. From the guidance of C2C Coaches to the flexibility of the University Studies degree, to financial assistance through the C2C Grant, C2C is here to provide support every step of the way – from enrollment through degree completion.

Contact C2C today and discover all the tools available for you to complete your degree. (But do it after your workout.)