Regular exercise leads to optimum health. Most people know this for a fact. College students, particularly distance education learners, believe that exercising and meditation such as through Yoga are integral to their physical and mental health. However, when it comes to actually sticking to an exercise routine, their lifestyle tells a different story.
Most online students have “risky” study practices. The dangerous habit of mindless eating while staring in front of the computer screen for hours is not exactly the healthiest way to go about studying (and living). Spending the day sitting on your desk poses major health risks such as eye strain, headache, and stress. It can even lead to memory problems!
Health experts highly recommend that students take exercise breaks to promote physical and mental health. But here’s where the problem is: online college students find it can quite challenging to squeeze exercise routines into their day. They juggle study and other responsibilities while trying to earn their degree. With all the tasks that require their attention (sometimes all at once!), they find it incredibly difficult to organize their daily to-dos—let alone hit the gym or keep up with a strict workout schedule.
While visiting the local gym should be on the list for anyone wanting to be healthy, there are actually good exercise alternatives you can do in the comfort of your home. With an exercise that does not take too much of your time or keep you pressured with results, you can be healthy in body and mind and, consequently, excel in your academics.
Saying Yes to Yoga and Other Exercises
Yoga is an ancient practice that allows the mind and body to be in union with each other. It integrates meditation, breathing exercises, and stretches to allow stress reduction, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
Yoga is beneficial to your mental health. It promotes increased body alertness, stress relief, decreased muscle tension, inflammation, strain, sharpness, and focus.
Yoga is also one of the most essential tools for psychotherapy according to the American Psychological Association. It works better at helping reduce the risk of depression, hyperactivity, and sleep disorders than most medicines and artificial substances. In addition, Yoga enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain to stabilize nerve activity, sharpen memory, and control moods and behavior.
For years, Yoga has been known as a type of meditative approach that promotes inner motivation, peace, and mindfulness. It combats stress, which has become a way of life for online college students. For these reasons, Yoga is deemed helpful to students struggling with academic performance.
Why Yoga and Exercise Breaks Matter to An Online Student
Let’s take a look at the ten reasons why Yoga and other forms of exercise are critical to our overall wellness—and particularly to an online student’s well-being.
Improved Physical and Mental Health
Exercise is a highly recommended approach for achieving optimal physical health. Online students, therefore, need exercise to perform better academically especially as research cites the direct link between academic performance and physical health.
Low-intensity exercises increase our body’s energy levels, and this is ideal for counteracting fatigue, one of the biggest struggles of an online student. When a student needs to study long hours for major exams, their body is bound to be fatigued. Yoga, aerobic exercises, dancing, and more exercise routines that involve the body’s upper and lower regions help decrease the risk of coronary diseases and depression.
Yoga also helps stabilize the heart rate and enhances cardiovascular functions. It is also a proven way to increase strength and improve conditioning.
Effective Brain Development
Exercise boosts the production of the protein called FNDC5 and releases it to the bloodstream. This type of protein facilitates existing brain cells to continuously reproduce. In short, daily exercises promote a healthier and stronger brain.
As a form of meditation, Yoga also keeps the nervous system healthy. Doing Yoga while taking a break from your hours-long studying enhances brain function and reduces the risk of anxiety, stress, and depression.
The protein that your body generates during exercise responds well with the region in the brain that is responsible for memory retention. If you’re an online student, you should know that regular exercise boosts your memory.
For those who barely remember names, a recent study on Perpetual and Motor Skills concluded that women performed higher, or by about 20% more, in memory tests conducted after an exercise on the treadmill. Problem-solving skills are also enhanced by at least 20%.
Did you know that the intensity of your workout also makes a big difference? Following intensive exercises, individuals tend to learn and remember vocabulary words better. More intensive exercises lead to an increase in epinephrine, dopamine, and BDNF levels in the brain. For enhanced memory, why not take study breaks and work out?
According to research, exercises performed in as little as 20 minutes before studying or as a study break can boosts concentration. Intense activities such as aerobics, jogging, or brisk walking can promote better circulation of the blood from your body to the brain. This, in turn, enables effective cell growth for learning and cognition.
Various forms of exercise have an impact on the brain in several ways. This implies that certain types of physical activities are better than others at enhancing your sense of focus.
When doing Yoga to take breaks from studying, try Yoga positions that promote discipline and focus. You may also opt for local gyms offer that college student rebates on Yoga classes.
Another research concluded that any physical activity enhances your brain’s capacities, improves your intelligence quotient (IQ), and builds concentration. When you’re studying and you end up losing focus, get up, do five minutes of walking, or do some stretching. Just be sure to warm up before attempting to stretch. Or why not brisk walk to the next neighborhood and reap the benefits?
It’s essential to stay eager in your online coursework, even if you seem to be drowning in a schedule loaded with coursework and exams to attend to. Attempting to keep an optimistic attitude lets you remain focused but it isn’t considered as the most effortless activity.
Studying can be stress-inducing. The mere thought of the sheer amount of academic work that you need to work on can tremendously affect your mood and cause you to be out of focus and feel strained. If you seem to be always in a funky mood and having staying interested in studying, exercise may be the answer.
Exercising works by easing your tension and lowering your stress levels. It lets you handle mild to moderate depression effectively. If you spend time working out or doing Yoga right before studying or during your study breaks, you will be in a positive mood for learning.
In one study, it was found that regular Yoga practice decreases the occurrence of depression, increases serotonin levels, and drops the levels protein that breaks down neurotransmitters. At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, Ph.D., found that Yoga enhances positive mood levels and immune function efficiency.
Studies have demonstrated that Yoga and exercise routines have a positive effect on the brain and nervous system. These activities stabilize the blood pressure and keep your heart rate in check when it goes on haywire mode under extreme pressure (such as during exams!).
The tightening of your muscles, which is mostly caused by stress, can be relived through stretching exercises and Yoga. Stretching exercises relax your muscles and allow you to feel invigorated and refreshed. Short breaks while you study in order to move around and do stretching is the most ideal approach to get the best results in your academic performance.
For instance, the main reason why you may feel better following a kickboxing class may be due to your psychological state compared to the number of punches you landed. As indicated by a study conducted at the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise can stimulate a positive outlook. Subsequent to riding a stationary bicycle for about 20 minutes at average intensity, a gathering of 18-to 25-year-olds revealed a rapid change in disposition. While the study didn’t tackle substances such as endorphins, everyone knows that your body discharges mood-inducing synthetic compounds during exercise.
It may seem quite unbelievable, yet Yoga and exercise are both awesome approaches to taking a break from studying letting off steam,
According to researchers at Princeton University, physical activities such as Yoga and exercise power the brain to handle tension and stress and promote better focus. In a similar study conducted at wellness centers around the Penn State campus, it was found that students are able to release stress by exercising especially during finals week.
Reduced Eye Strain and Headaches
Exercise allows you to take your eyes off the screen. This is quite ideal for online college students who spend most of their time studying and looking at their desktops or laptops. You may gaze at lecture slides for a considerable length of time at once, but the ideal break is not really a movie or a show on TV. Your eyes merit a break from the strain you’ve put on them just to have a high GPA. Therefore, it’s best to consider yoga and exercise.
Increased Motivation and Productivity
Exercise, as a form of study break for students, was found to help improve productivity levels. It is an effective method to get yourself pumped for your coursework. Yoga classes also help you become motivated by releasing unwanted stress-causing toxins. Exercise will allow you to take time for yourself, remain motivated to complete your academic tasks.
The good thing about Yoga is that it requires neither complicated equipment nor a massive space. You can always do it at the comfort of your own home. Yoga in this respect is not a workout routine keep you in shape; rather, it is an exercise that benefits you by keeping you motivated and productive.
Better Sleep Quality
Lack of sleep quality can be associated with hypertension, obesity, low academic performance, and depression, among other health conditions. Integrating Yoga into your study breaks results in better sleep quality. A research found that those who do Yoga and exercises sleep longer and feel more rested during the day compared with those who only spent their day sitting in front of their computer.
Another study was to prove the impact of Yoga on rest specifically on patients experiencing lymphoma and certain illnesses. It concluded that Yoga can lower the occurrence of sleep disturbances. Overall, it promotes better sleep quality than sleep medications do.
Yoga has also been known to increase the discharge of melatonin, a hormone that manages sleep and alertness. Yoga also has a positive effect on depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. All conditions significantly contribute to your sleep quality.
Improved Academic Performance
From a study conducted by the International Journal of Yoga, it was found that scholastic performance was enhanced in students who frequently practice or attend Yoga classes as opposed to those who do not. According to the study, academic or scholastic performance was described as the capacity to perform tasks and show capability in academic tests with standard reviewing methods.
Every online college student needs to focus on their studies and excel in academic programs to complete their course and earn their degree. In this day and age when stressful situations have become a way of life for many college students, it won’t hurt to try some relaxing exercise methods that do wonders. Do Yoga alone to really enjoy your “me time” or gain pleasure in interacting with your Yoga buddies. Do exercises on your own to really focus inward or have fun to share health goals with your peers. Either way, keep fit not only to keep your body healthy but also to keep your mind sharp so you do outstanding work in school.
Perform better as an online student. Do not “live” in the library, quit gazing at the four corners of your room, and induce some endorphins. Integrate Yoga and perform exercise routines into your study schedule. Better yet, make it a part of your lifestyle!