By design, being a student can lend itself to a sedentary lifestyle between lectures, study requirements, assignments and exams. Think back to when you were a child…How often were you sitting still? Think about your current lifestyle… How often do you move? Somewhere in between being a child and being an adult, we lose the critical habit of movement.
The key for all adults is to build sustainable healthy movement habits into our day. Meagan Miskin is the Health, Wellbeing & Injury Management Consultant at CDU and she shares her top five tips to increase your movement and productivity.
Movement is medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental state - Carol Welch
“We’ve made sitting into an art form. Excess sitting is now linked with 35 diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression. Governments such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have identified sedentary life as a catastrophe”, says Dr James Levine, Director of Obesity Solutions at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Researcher at the Arizona State University.
Not only does movement give us physical health benefits, it is also proven to improve our mental health, focus, concentration and productivity, in some cases by up to as much as 15%. Let's not forget the benefits on our stress levels!
Quite often when we think of exercise we think of running, going to the gym or playing sport. However, you don’t need to be an exercise fanatic to get the benefits of moving your body. All you need to do is increase how much movement you do on a regular basis, gradually increase the intensity to a moderate level and then maintain over time. Who knows, maybe you will be entering a triathlon before you know it!
Our top five movement options that don’t include going to the gym or playing sport:
1. Walk or ride
Schedule 20 – 45 minutes for a brisk walk or ride before you start your study period. Maybe take the dog out for a walk? Physical exercise is designed to get blood flowing and this includes to your brain as well. Check out more information on active transport here.
Gardening is a great way to move and relax, providing opportunities to still the mind for a little while. Often when you take time out from focusing on one thing, when you go back to it, you will have a freshness in your approach which can ultimately lead to an improved outcome.
3. Get up and stretch
Stretching is a great way to increase the blood flow to your muscles, relaxing them and thereby relaxing your state of mind as well. Schedule in regular stretch breaks. Here are 11 stretches you can do on your short break.
4. Study while you move
With Learnline, CDU's online learning environment, students can listen to courses, tutorials and move around at the same time. Audiobooks, podcasts, mp3 files... They are all fantastic for enabling us to move while we learn.
5. Track your movement
Invest in a step tracker. If you aren’t anywhere near 10,000 steps a day on average it’s a good sign that you need to add more movement into your day.
"Once people are up and moving, they never go back. This is a fundamental shift in how we function, our health gets better with movement, productivity gets better, and people enjoy their jobs — and lives — more.” says Dr. Levine