‘Tis the season for crying and cramming. Before we go home for the holidays, we have to make it through exams. The library is officially open 24/7 and the study rooms are already booked up. You probably already Googled how to efficiently study and the best way to remember the most information in the smallest amount of time, in fact the reason you are reading the Campus Rec blog is because you ran out of methods of procrastination.
What you will find is that one of the best ways to enhance your memory and learning ability is exercise. Everyone will be eating, studying, and sleeping in the coming weeks and many students are going to throw personal hygiene and health to the wayside in order to pass classes and maintain scholarships.
However, if you take just one hour out of your day to devote to physical activity, you can improve your studying abilities better than you would if you were sitting in the library studying for that hour. Why?
It’s simple science. A healthy body means a healthy brain.
Based on a study published in the Journal of Physiological Sciences, moderate intensity exercise releases hormones such as endorphins and dopamine that increase neural activity in the prefrontal cortex which improves cognitive function.
Neural activity is basically the connections made between neurons in your brain and the prefrontal cortex in the part of the brain in charge of decision making, problem solving, and processing past events.
Not only does exercise increase neural activity, it increases the amount of oxygen going to your brain. When you exercise, more blood pumps through your body than if you are idle. This extra blood, which contains nutrients and oxygen, also pumps to your brain and increases its ability to perform. If you take one hour to exercise before you go study at the library for six hours, your brain works more efficiently.
Therefore, you will be able to remember the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for your Chemistry final as well as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for that last Psych exam while finally understanding when to use the pluperfect subjunctive form instead of the pluscuamperfect subjunctive form to write that Spanish essay worth 20% of your overall grade.
So take a break from studying for that Orgo final and head outside for a run. However, it is getting colder outside and you may want to try an indoor track like the one at the Johnson Center. Maybe you are like me and hate running; that is okay because Campus Rec has plenty of activities for everyone.
Maybe you do not have time to learn racquetball or squash, there is always open gym for basketball or you can ask someone at the front desk for a Ping-Pong table on Tuesday nights after 7pm. Even better, on certain nights, there is open gym for volleyball, indoor soccer, and even badminton.
If taking a break from your studies sounds too crazy, then maybe you can try studying and exercising at the same time. The George Street Gym and the Johnson Center have treadmills, stationary bikes, and even rowing machines perfect for studying while doing low intensity exercise that still gets your blood flowing.
Whether you decide to go for a run to the Battery or play an intense round of Ping-Pong, remember taking a break from your studies, for even an hour, to get active could help you memorize the three Keynesian Conjectures Regarding Consumption and ace that Macro final.
by Madison Martin
Media contributor to Campus Recreation Services