Student Health
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Staying fit!

Partying, fastfood, drinking, little or no sleep… all being part of the student lifestyle. But, all do not do any good for your body nor for your performances at high school or college. A lot of research is dedicated to student performances and their lifestyles. All concluding the same thing: an active healthy student performs better!

Physical exercises are closely related to the functioning of our brain. A recent study performed by Georg Kuhn (professor at the Center for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden) has found that fit teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 performed better on cognitive tests than their fellow students. Even the future of these teenagers is supposed to look brighter with higher educational and socioeconomic status later in life. Kuhn says: “We cannot determine from this study alone that physical fitness causes better cognitive functioning, but taken together with other studies, we can assume that better cardiovascular fitness may optimize cognitive performance and academic achievements.”

Besides physical exercises student food is also an important ingredient for the functioning of our brain. More on student food is featured in the ‘eating healthy’ section of Students.net. Read on for more on physical fitness and how it can keep your brain fit.

Physical fitness as brain exercises

Regularly working out is key to your performances. By regular we mean normal everyday physical activities, like running the stairs, walking and cycling for at least 30 minutes a day. Besides these daily activities, try to do cardiovascular fitness at least 2 times a week. It will not only stimulate your learning capabilities today, but you will also take advantage of it on a later age, significantly reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s and mental declination.

Good thing about cardiovascular fitness is that you do not need to take an expensive gym contract. Cardiovascular fitness is all about exercises like cycling, running and walking (vigorously!). Main thing about these exercises is that you have to keep up with them regularly and enjoy doing it. Ask a friend, roommate or somebody else to join you. Also, interaction with others helps you keeping your brain sharp! Discuss what you have learnt in class, review the subject you have written an essay about or talk about your thesis. Interaction with people gives you different opinions and views on subjects, which you can gain insights and learn from.

In ‘Jump rope for heart program may improve student performance’ an article written by Jean Blaydes (educational consultant), she sums up the ways in which the cardiovascular action jumping rope could help you to prepare the brain for learning:

  • Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and coordination.
  • Raising heart rate gets more blood to the brain, feeding it needed nutrients and oxygen for heightened alertness and metal focus.
  • Aerobic exercise grows new brain cells in rodents, and promising research suggests that may also apply to humans.
  • The vestibular system that creates spatial awareness and mental alertness is strengthened through activities such as jumping rope. Balance and jumping activities provide the student with a framework for reading and other academic skills.
  • Rhythmic aspects of jumping rope can develop the internal dialogue needed to establish basic reading skills. Beat awareness and beat competency simulate the basic rhythm patterns of our language that need to be established for better language acquisition.
  • Physical activity reduces stress. Cardiovascular exercise places the brain into homeostasis and contributes to balancing the body’s chemistry, electrical, and organ systems. Exercise can have similar benefits as some anti-depressant medications.

Next to cardiovascular fitness, you can do other home exercises to keep you body and mind fit. Find out more on home exercises in the student health section of Student.net.

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