Back To School: How Exercise Helps You Learn
Each year as the Summer months fade away, busy Fall months bring not only changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin spice flavored beverages, but another school year as well. A new school year means another nine months of learning for both students and parents alike.
Learning and getting adjusted to strict schedules can leave one feeling mentally and physically exhausted. However, regardless of the type of learning you will be doing, exercise can boost your brain power, give you much needed energy while putting your hectic life in balance as you prepare for the busy months ahead of you.
Creating a schedule that includes exercise as well as work, school, and other activities will help keep your mind clear, focused, and energized every day. Just 30-minutes of cardio pumps blood to your brain and all that oxygen will keep your cranium functioning at full capacity.
Whether you find yourself studying for a test in school or learning how to do a new activity while your kids are in classes, having a full functioning brain, thanks to a little bit of exercise, will be a huge help.
How Exercise Helps You with Memory and Focus
Exercise directly benefits from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the cell growth. These chemicals also play a role in enhancing brain functions such as memory, problem solving, and decision making.
Exercising clears your mind, compacting down the many thoughts, tasks, and ideas previously inhabiting your thoughts. This also allows new ideas to fill the open space and improve memory and focus.
Although cardio is specified above, any type of exercise can have the same impact on improving memory and focus. Any type of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, tennis, stair climbing, and many others require your body to exert enough energy to cause blood and chemicals to rush to your brain.
Exercising will pump up your brain, allowing you to perform better at tasks that require concentration and recall – both important while studying in school or learning a new hobby. Put exercise to the test and your brain will remember to thank you later.
How Exercise Relieves Anxiety
The new school year brings new friends, new tasks, new studies, and new environments into one’s life. It’s common for one to feel anxious or worried about fitting in, getting a good grade, or accomplishing tasks throughout the school year. These worrisome moments can negatively impact your mental fitness.By exercising, your physical fitness can support your mental fitness, pushing worries and anxiety aside.
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. On the other end, if your body feels better, so does your mind. The endorphins that exercise produces puts your brain at ease, allowing you to sleep, stay relaxed, and reduce stress. A small walk around the block or an afternoon lifting weights will both give your brain a chance to relax and the chemicals left from being physically active will keep your mind at ease.
The relationship between anxiety and exercise is a two-way street. As mentioned above, exercising can put things in order and leave one with a clear mind. However, if one does not work out or gets stressed from the ever-mounting assignments and tasks, unused energy and excess hormones and chemicals can build up causing even more worry and anxiety.
Exercise doesn’t only keep you feeling physically healthy and happy, it also prevents mental strain and unhappiness from entering into your life. If you haven’t exercised recently, simply get off the couch and go for a walk. Small and simple steps, literally and figuratively, will do wonders for boosting your positive attitude.
How Exercise Boosts Confidence Which Helps Making New Friends
As the new school year rolls around, opportunities to make new friends and relationships abound. Making friends can be difficult at times, but by exercising and reaching a physically fit and mentally stable level of emotion, making friends can be one less worry on your plate. Exercise can be done alone, with a partner, or in large groups.
Not only does exercise make you feel like you can take on the world, boosting your confidence along the way, but the majority of physical activities are made for multiple people to participate together. Whether it’s a walk around the park, a yoga class at the downtown health club, or participating in the weekend’s 5k race, there will be several chances to meet a new, friendly face that could blossom into a lasting friendship.
Every year, the top new year’s resolution is often “health” related. This means that a large portion of the world’s population is not happy with their level of physical activity and wants to improve. What better time to dust off that resolution than in the months before a new one needs to be created.
Get out there with the hustle and bustle of a new school year and not only exercise, but take advantage of the several new faces in your classes to have someone there to push you when times get tough. With a new buddy by your side, reaching personal fitness goals will be easier. Exercising together will be more fun and your friendship can strengthen along with your muscles. Say “hello” to more motivation and “goodbye” to excuses.
Author: Ethan Babcock, Utah State University.