How exercise has changed my study routine

Finally! It’s so good to be back! Instead of going on a long tirade about everything that has been keeping me busy lately, I thought I’d get straight back to blogging:

 An image of my sister and I completing our first half marathon.

An image of my sister and I completing our first half marathon.

I’ve been an advocate of the Pomodoro Technique for years, and have experimented with different worktime intervals to see what works best. Sometimes I’ve found that 45-minute intervals were the way to go, and other times I’ve found myself unable to work for more than 20 minutes before getting distracted. What I've found changes the game completely is implementing physical exercise into my study routine.

Here’s my current working from home Pomodoro routine:

1. Set the timer for 5 minutes, just to get started.

2. When the timer goes off, have a five-minute break. Do ten jumping jacks and ten burpees in quick succession. Grab some water and get a cup of tea.

3. Set the timer for 25 minutes and work without distraction until the timer goes off.

4. Repeat four times with four five-minute exercise breaks in between, and for the fifth break, spend 15 minutes outside.

5. Repeat this pattern for as many times as you’d like, or until your tasks are complete.

Before you think, “how am I supposed to do jumping jacks in study hall without looking like a complete maniac,” let me suggest a few other alternatives:

-          Running up and down the stairs.

-          Going to the lavatory and do ten squats in the stall.

-          Go for a brisk walk around the building.

If you’re reading in a café, perhaps try to do some dynamic stretches, get up from your seat, get some water to hydrate yourself. What I want to stress for all these instances is the importance of putting away your phone, and not spending your breaks mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Going through your social media every 25 minutes will only derail you, and make your breaks longer, without the added energy boost you get from exercising.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits exercise has for learning, I’ve added three video resources below:

Click here to listen to the College Info Geek podcast on “How exercise improves your brain”:

Click here to watch the “What I’ve Learned” video on why exercise is so underrated:

And click here to watch neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki’s TED Talk on the protective benefits exercise has for your brain: