Exercise helps strengthen your body’s ability to circulate oxygen and nutrients throughout your system, increasing circulation of both nutrients and oxygen to muscles and ligaments, decreasing risk for joint and back pain while strengthening bones. As the saying goes: use it or lose it!
Implementing more movement into your daily routine is easy and accessible; try parking further away, taking the stairs instead of driving, or engaging in floor exercises and stretching sessions to increase movement.
2. Take a break
Students may find themselves drawn into hours-long scrolling of social media during breaks, but effective break activities can increase productivity and alertness by improving executive functioning, decreasing stress and increasing motivation. Movement-related activities that provide intrinsic motivation such as yoga are particularly effective break activities; creative activities are particularly helpful as they engage the prefrontal cortex to boost memory, focus and attention spans.
Use break opportunities to add more movement into your day by parking further from your destination or converting informal meetings with peers into short walks. Furthermore, switching tasks (also known as interleaving) during breaks to reap some of the same benefits of taking traditional breaks; for instance if studying biology leaves you exhausted but reading literature or revising papers might do the trick! Just be sure that you establish a checkpoint with an accountability partner so you both know when it’s time to review and revisit why this break was taken in the first place.
3. Get up and move
As it’s easy to fall into a routine of sitting all day at your desk and forgetting about movement throughout the day, there are ways you can add more activity into your routine: parking farther from your destination when running errands or talking on the phone while standing up; taking short walks with coworkers during informal meetings or changing informal meetings into walking meetings; floor exercises or stretching routines at home can all add up!
Stretching can be very beneficial, if done properly. Failing to properly warm-up first and stretch before your muscles have had time to adapt can decrease performance and increase injury risks; doing it the right way, however, will allow shortened and tight muscles to return back to their original lengths and help restore performance and prevent future injury risks.
USA Vein Clinics recommends finding ways to add movement throughout your day, such as walking instead of driving, using a stability ball instead of sitting on a desk chair and taking the stairs. Simple floor exercises such as push-ups or plank positions can strengthen muscles that may not get used as often, improving strength, balance and flexibility as well as helping reduce back pain or arthritis symptoms.