How Exercise Will Boost Your Learning & Focus

How Exercise Will Boost Your Learning & Focus

I was trying to work. But I was tired and foggy. I had no motivation, except to lay down in my bed. But I had so much work to complete. I was on a schedule, dang it! Unfortunately, I had gotten to a point where my brain was useless.

So, I got up from my desk and found other tasks to complete. Tasks that didn’t require my brain, but did require movement. I tidied up the living room, put some dishes away, and walked down to my mailbox. After a little while, I realized that I wasn’t so tired anymore. In fact, I felt pretty good. Maybe it was time to try that work again?

Has that happened to you? Your brain is just down (for whatever reason), but if you move around for a bit, that fog seems to lift. I’ve since found out that our brains and bodies work as a team. And both parts of that team NEED physical movement to be at their peak. In fact, if you want to focus, study, and learn, exercise should become your new best friend.

Let’s talk about why movement or exercise is so good for learning or studying and how you can make sure you move on a regular basis!

PS – Hate exercise? Me, too! I use the words exercise and movement interchangeably. You don’t have to hit that spin class or become a bodybuilder to move. Walking the dog or having a living room dance party count as movement!

How Exercise Will Boost Your Learning & Focus

Benefits of Exercise on Learning

Our bodies are meant to move all the time, not sit in a chair and take notes or scroll on our phones. And it turns out that movement has a host of positive side effects. Getting regular movement helps you sleep better (one of my favorite pastimes!), improves your physical and mental health, and helps you learn more. Yep, learn more.

Let’s get nerdy here folks. When you exercise, your body releases all sorts of hormones that make you feel better, both mentally and physically. The hormones also increase your ability to focus. Poor mental or physical health can often impede learning, so improving those will also improve your learning. Exercise also helps to create new neurons and strengthens existing ones. More neurons = more learning.

How to Incorporate Exercise

If you don’t already, it’s time to make a routine. Pick a time of day – morning, afternoon, or evening – and set up a routine that includes some sort of movement. It could be a yoga class, a walk around campus, a swim, or a bike ride. Whatever that movement looks like for you, schedule it. Make it a priority and schedule your other time around it.

On a side note – you can exercise any time of day. Some research has shown benefits for exercising before studying or going to class. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work in your schedule and that’s ok. Movement is movement.

Short Bursts

Grab movement when you have extra time as well. One study has shown that exercising for as little as 2 minutes can improve your focus while studying. Take a quick walk around the block or do some jumping jacks in your room before an online class.

Grab a friend

Exercise is always more fun with a friend. You are also way more likely to move if you have to meet someone.  I have a regularly scheduled walk with a neighbor once a week. It’s our time to catch up, vent about daily happenings, and just enjoy some fresh air. Set up a running group or sign up for a class with a friend.

Now, wherever I’m feeling particularly run down, I get my move on! Within 15 minutes, I feel refreshed and can get back to work.

How does movement or exercise help you with learning? Let me know in the comments below!

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