Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to get more exercise? You wouldn’t be alone. Exercising more is the most common New Year’s resolution. That’s not surprising given that the benefits of exercise are drummed into our heads on a near-daily basis. And it’s true, exercise is really good for us. A lot of the benefits of exercise are long-term. But there are immediate benefits too, and some of them are especially relevant to university students:
Exercise improves memory– studies show that exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills in direct ways. Exercise stimulates various physiological changes in the body, including encouraging the production of chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. Many studies also suggest that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in people who exercise compared to those who don’t. So you may want to add regular exercise to your revision schedule!
Exercise reduces stress and anxiety, and improves mood – stress isn’t purely mental, it manifests itself physically too. When you’re stressed your body is tense and you may experience back or neck pain, or even tightness in the chest, stomach cramps, and a racing pulse. Exercise can ease the physical symptoms of stress, while the release of endorphins enhances one’s sense of well-being, boosting physical and mental energy. You can increase the anxiety-busting effects of physical activity by exercising outdoors. Being in nature has been shown to have a restorative, calming effect on the body.
Exercise improves sleep – if there’s one thing you probably wish you had, it’s more sleep. Studies show that people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they do as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise on a regular basis. Exercise both improves the quality of sleep and prolongs its duration.
It’s clear that one of the best things you can do to honour yourself and practice self-love this month (and every day!) is to get some exercise. But one thing university students don’t have is a lot of time.
That’s why high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a particularly great way to exercise. HIIT involves workouts that alternate between intense bursts of activity and periods of less-intense activity or rest. Because your body is having to switch from low to very high gear, it has to work harder than it would during a steady-state cardio workout. This means you get a highly effective workout in very little time. In addition to being efficient, HIIT workouts don’t require any equipment, can be done anywhere (even your dorm room), and are healthier for your heart.
Our friends at Myflexifit have developed HIIT workouts to suit any skill level. If you download their app and use the voucher code #UNIBOX, you can have a 30-day free trial!
There are yoga classes, pilates, Martial arts, boot camp and HIIT. All on your phone!
Even if your New Year’s resolution wasn’t to get more exercise, you owe it to yourself to break a sweat.
Create your Fitness Plan!
1) Consider your fitness goals. (Relaxing, to get stronger, more supple…)
2) Create a balanced routine.
3) Start low and progress slowly.
4) Build activity into your daily routine.
5) Plan to include different activities.
6) Allow time for recovery.
7) Put it on paper.