Stay fit and focused during your studies

Set up a simple circuit in your room as shown by Student Content Shaper Ruaidhri

University life can demand a lot of your attention, especially when trying to balance your studies, a new environment, as well as trying to develop something resembling a social life. Being a student can take a toll on your physical health as well as your mental health. 

The two are closely linked; research has shown that physical activity has lots of benefits for our mental and physical wellbeing. Regular exercise can help you manage stress, help you concentrate more and improve your sleep. All of which are important parts of doing well in your studies. 

Moving your body more, whether that be in the Sport & Fitness Centre or in your own room, can be a welcome break for both your body and mind. Staying still, working on essays, and looking at your laptop for hours, isn’t the kindest thing you can do for your body. Staying still for hours on end can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), not to mention reducing your overall calorie burn. 

Also, a shift in body posture and maybe a brief stint away from your desk might give you that well needed break to reignite those essay writing skills.

Eating something nutritious, or taking some time out for self-care, are also excellent ways of supporting your mental wellbeing. These are all useful habits to adopt not just for your uni studies, but for the world of work.

Looking after your physical and mental health doesn’t have to be strenuous or costly. The below activities can be as simple as you want them to be and can be done without any special equipment.

  1. Step away from your desk and take a brisk walk around campus or your block (tip; take your noise cancelling headphones if you live somewhere noisy).
  2. Set up a simple circuit in your room: squats (10 reps – the number of times you do an exercise), press ups (10 reps), plank (30 seconds). Rest for 1 minute. Repeat these 5 times to raise your heart rate. Unsure of how to do these exercises? Give student Ruaidhri's video a watch for a break down and different variations. 
  3. Arrange to have a break with a friend, and go for a short, 15-minute jog, avoiding talking about your Uni work. Don’t fancy a jog? Walking is fine too. Give your mind a break from your course and catch up with each other.
  4. Close your room door, turn off the lights, and meditate for 10 minutes, focusing the attention on your breath.
  5. Simply go and grab a piece of fruit and a tall glass of water. Remember, if you’re on campus, there are free water stations around so you can top up your water as you study.
  6. Take a 20-minute nap. A little extra sleep is almost never a bad idea!
  7. As you sit (or stand) at your desk, you could take advantage of stretching those neglected parts of your body or to manage any tension in your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Even just raising up on your tip toes to help get that bloody back up in circulation.

As you can imagine, there are endless ways to support your mental health, whether that be through physical movement, what you eat, or where you direct your attention.

Half the battle may be knowing what works best for you at a particular moment in time. So, if one method doesn’t work, then try another.  Whatever you do, make sure you take regular breaks and don't feel guilty about it. It’s important for your body and your productivity.

For more study tips, advice and resources, visit our UoBe Ready student intranet page. 


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