Nov 1, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Despite multitasking's shortcomings, doing more than one thing at a time may be a benefit, at least when it comes to exercise and studying. In fact, science suggests that a 15-minute workout may boost your brain activity.

According to a recent study published in a July 2018 paper in NeuroImage, exercising immediately after practicing a new motor skill can improve your ability to retain that motor skill over the long term.

What's more exciting is that the researchers found evidence that a single 15-minute burst of cardio can increase your brain's ability and efficiency to create the neural networks required for learning. 

Sleep plays a role, too. So if you want the best results at college, hit the gym, study, and go to bed early.

Let's take a closer look at five strategies to boost your brain function through exercise.

1. For more brain power, give yourself an aerobic boost

The British Journal of Psychology recently published a study which suggests aerobic exercise might boost your brain power enough for your brain to establish connections and learn new things.

The researchers found that aerobic exercise not only improves your memory and thinking ability, but even standing upright as opposed to sitting can boost your brain power, too. 

So, at a minimum, get up and move around when you study. Even better? Give your brain a boost with some aerobic exercise every day. You don't have to go crazy. Just 15 minutes.

2. Record your notes and listen while you work out

Yes, record your voice reading your notes with your questions and commentary. Listen to your notes while you walk, jog, or paddle a boat. Whatever it takes. Swimming might not work so well, but if you can comfortably move with your earbuds in place, go for it!

Don't want to record your notes? Get a friend to do it, or listen to a podcast on the subject you are studying. You might surprise yourself when you sit down to study later.

3. Take short, frequent workout breaks during study time

In the middle of studying, haul yourself up and do some jumping jacks, arm raises, or intense physical movement. Stimulate your body, stimulate your mind. 

You don't need a 30-minute workout session. While you are studying, stop every half hour or 40 minutes and move around. Walk around your study space, stretch, jump, go outside, do some yoga. 

Perhaps make yourself some study break flashcards with different activities so you don't get bored. Surprise yourself every study session and mix up the deck!

4. Bring your notes with you on the treadmill

Pop into your campus gym with your recorded notes, and study and run. When you are on the treadmill or even the elliptical, make sure the workout is challenging enough for you by increasing the incline level.

Listen to notes that challenge you and pretend you are running toward -- or away -- from them. You will likely remember something from your 'study' session.

5. Adjust your workout

Depending on what you need from studying, adjust. If your workout is too intense, you won't remember much because your body will spend a lot of energy on your heart and other muscles.

If you need to remember something, say for an exam, then adjust your workout so your body and mind can work together. If your workout is too intense and requires too much of you, you won't retain what you study.

How do you moderate your workouts to accommodate your study needs? Practice. And keep practising until perfect.

Learn more about exercise physiology. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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