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4 Simple Exercises To Do During a Study Break
Monday, February 8, 2016

You’ve been hunched over that AP Environmental Science textbook for at least three hours, and now you’re struggling to make heads or tails of the latest paragraph.  You’ve already had two protein bars, your favorite fruit smoothie, and--as a last resort--a piece of sugary candy, but you still feel like your brain simply cannot absorb any more information.  

Does this scenario seem familiar?

If so, then you should consider espousing the ancient Roman ideal of a “sound mind in a sound body” (mens sana in corpore sano).  This philosophy, which some scholars attribute to an earlier Greek source, has been interpreted and applied in a variety of ways.  But for the sake of your study habits, think of it like this: if your body is healthy, then your brain will follow suit.  

So why not close that textbook for a few minutes and do some exercises?  You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to the books in the short term, and, what’s more, you’ll feel better overall in the long term.  We’ve culled dozens of fitness websites’ exercise suggestions, and here are four that we recommend trying out during a study break:

  1. Push-ups.  A classic, tried-and-true exercise that will build upper-body strength and get your blood flowing.  When doing push-ups, you can target different muscles by changing the positions of your hands. For a brief demo, take a look at this.  But be warned: if you have a lot of writing or typing ahead of you, push-ups can make your arms and hands feel tired, in which case you should probably opt for the other exercises in this list.  
  2. Crunches.  Another staple exercise, crunches (or bent knee sit-ups) will help tighten up your midsection.  Try starting out with two or three reps of 10-15 crunches, then working your way up to more from there.  If you need a refresher on how to position your body and do crunches, see this demo.
  3. Squat Jumps.  If you have enough space, try a few reps of these, which ACE (the American Council on Exercise) describes as follows: “a bit of heart rate work while working on the whole body.”  Getting that heart rate up a little bit can help sustain your focus as you get back to your studies. And who knows: maybe you’ll even think these are fun?  You can find a brief demo here.
  4. Jumping Jacks!  Remember these?  You know you’re going to have fun doing them again for the first time since your grade school days.  A few reps of these will certainly get your blood pumping and give you that much needed energy to prepare for tomorrow’s big test.  And in case you’ve forgotten how to do a jumping jack, you can take a look at this.

So these should be enough to get your started.  If you’re looking for more exercise ideas, check out the American Council on Exercise’s wonderfully comprehensive website.

Happy exercising, and don’t forget to get back to studying!