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Medical Handling college stress by exercise?

  1. Jul 15, 2012 #1
    Everyone knows college is tough. My professer suggested to me that I should daily do some strenous exercise for at least half an hour. I think he gave that suggestions, so that I could reduce my stress level and after exercise my brain will be fresh so I could study better. I on the other hand don't exercise at all (not because I hate exercise or due to a lack of options) but because I think those 30 minutes are better used studying. So my question is this:

    Will 30 minutes of strenous exercise daily have a significant beneficial effect on my studies or not?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2012 #2


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    Yeah 30 minutes would be good, like riding a bike, walking for thirty minutes without an mp3, practicing taichi or doing yoga. The idea is it should be peaceful, no rock music, no noisy environment... Fountains are great places too if you can hear the water and really listen to it.

    Too many students today think they can multitask but they usually proven wrong in a variety of studies. So if you can eliminate the urge to check email, Facebook and your text messages the you will go a long way to developing your concentration for the subject at hand.
  4. Jul 15, 2012 #3


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    If you don't think you can spare 30 minutes a day for exercise you are studying wrong (especially if this is undergraduate). To many students think more studying is "better". You need to learn to how to study smarter. In undergrad you should definitely have time for exercise and other daily activities.

    Even in professional or graduate school you should still have time to do other things besides studying. Its especially important in graduate work that you learn to study smarter and not just harder.
  5. Jul 15, 2012 #4
    Wow. You need a wake-up call about exercising. It's good for everything. Try and find out how to do it well. I know jedish below said not rock music but exercise is terribly boring without music. If you can, dedicate a separate room where you live and have three things only in it: exercise equipment, sterio, and a nice rug for the floor exercises. That's a perscription for everyone living. Take it serious and you will benefit from it. I know because I've been fortunate to live a wonderfully healthy life and exercise has been a very important part of that and oh yeah, I've done a lot of studying too.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  6. Jul 16, 2012 #5
    Well yes I am an undergraduate student bobze. And what do you mean by studying "smarter". I heard alot about it but don't know what it is? I do however study long hours (often at the expense of sleep (I manage to sleep 4-5 1/2 hours during semesters daily) in the hope of scoring more).

  7. Jul 16, 2012 #6


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    Studying at the expense of sleep is an example of not studying smarter. Very simply studying smarter is maximising productivity of study which may involve decreasing the total time studying and spending it doing something else. It may be that rather than studying 10 hours a day and sleeping for 6 hours a night you will be more productive by getting 8 hours and studying for 8 because the sleep you get will ensure that you are in a better state of mind and body for those 8 hours than for those 10.
  8. Jul 16, 2012 #7
    Not only does lack of sleep effect you, but sometimes the way that you study is just plain wrong. It's difficult to be that much more efficient when you're studying something like math, because there's not much you can do besides solving problems, and making sure you understand everything.

    One thing that I have heard works well (and I've done it myself to some success) is that you talk your way through a problem like you're teaching it to a class. If you're confident enough that you know it, and can vocally express each step successfully, then you have more than likely shown that you know your subject well.

    For other classes, like a history class, a lot of it can come down to the way you take notes, and how you study those notes. It's very inefficient to just re-read through the book before a test. It is, however, very time-conservative and beneficial to take notes in a way that you can easily find each important sub-topic, and have all of the underlying facts in the same area. If you feel like you don't know that topic well enough, then you can go back through the book until you feel like you do.

    Now, some methods of studying don't work as well for some people as it may for others. The best thing that you can do is seriously examine the way that you study, and search for ways that you can improve it. The more you improve it, the less time you need to spend studying, and therefore you will be opening up your time for other beneficial and arguably necessary activities like exercise, or even social activities.

    Besides, maybe some of this stress is due to you overworking yourself, when you could probably be cutting down your study-time by a considerable amount, granted you find ways to improve how you study.

    As a side note: I also like how you incorporated parentheses within parentheses in your post. That may work in math, but I don't think I've seen that before in English.
  9. Jul 17, 2012 #8
    Thanks people.

    As for the parentheses, well I thought whether or not to insert the inner parnetheses ( I myself have rarely seen them in English before) but in the end I did use them thinking that they were required.
  10. Aug 13, 2012 #9

    Tell me how to study smarter! I spend almost all of my day studying and in the end I don't feel like I've done anything.
  11. Aug 13, 2012 #10


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    Exercise actually increases neurogenesis. I'm not sure what psychological effects this has, but it's always been associated with positive cognitive benefit.
  12. Aug 13, 2012 #11


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    Perhaps the forum can help :smile: when you study what do you do? I mean everything here from where and what times to whether or not you take notes with pen and paper or dictaphone and doodling.
  13. Aug 13, 2012 #12
    I just want to say on the subject of sleep oh goodness it's SO important. I'm studying psychology and they have done a lot of tests where they give someone something to learn and then they see how sleep affects their performance on tests and it always always helps.

    Even when the students had a choice between taking a nap or using the time to revise the people who took a nap did better than the people who revised!

    They ran a rat through amaze and scanned him (I think it was an EEG, I can't remember, anyone?) and when he went to sleep afterwards the EEG readouts were identical to those he gave when running through the maze, suggesting that he dreamed about running through the maze.

    There's a idea that maybe the reason our dreams are mixed up versions of our day is because our brain is revising everything in a random order but also trying out connections between things that we might not have consciously connected, which can sometimes lead to an inspiration or to a better understanding of something.
  14. Aug 13, 2012 #13

    I have the book and PDFs of notes from other students, I don't make my own notes, I read the book and if there's something I don't understand I read it in the notes because it's usually written simpler, then I read it again in the book.
    As I go along I make flashcards using Anki. When I feel like I know things well I try to find quiz questions on the internet for the curriculum and if there's something I don't know I read about it again and add it to the flashcards.

    I tend to just start in the morning and keep reading till night time. (stooping for food) But I get distracted A LOT. Sometimes I find I'm reading the same sentence over and over again for a long long time and the meaning isn't going in at all. Or that I have been doing that and not even noticing because I'm thinking about something else. Then I tend to switch over to flashcards but sometimes at some point they won't go in either. So I play tetris while listening to Berkeley lectures for half an hour and go back to the book. Sometimes it's longer than half an hour.

    So in the end it feels like I spent the whole day studying and learned nothing but the truth is I spent most of the day daydreaming.

    Edit to note: I think I have seen parenthesis within parenthesis in novels, but maybe it was the internet. Anyway this is postmodernism we can do what we want.
  15. Aug 13, 2012 #14


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    Hrmm... maybe you can give us some tips; my current method of studying is to log onto physicsforums and avoid any discussions pertaining to my study material.
  16. Aug 13, 2012 #15
    That sounds good to me. Certainly wish all those years I spent posting on silly message boards just because I was bored I had been posting on THIS message board.
  17. Aug 13, 2012 #16


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    Lol seems like we're all procrastinators. My tips would be to plan the day around breaks and mix things up to keep boredom at bay. For example: for the first 45 minutes study subject X, then take a 15 minute tea/coffee break, then 30 minutes subject Y etc etc.

    Sounds strange but I've found that multiple, varied, irregular sessions are good at keeping momentum going. Conversely trying to sit down and hammer out hour after hour of study tends to result in ever dwindling productivity.
  18. Aug 13, 2012 #17
    The big problem with me with taking breaks is that they suddenly get out of hand and I never manage to keep them down to the amount of time scheduled.
  19. Aug 13, 2012 #18
    Actually, lurking or posting on Physics Forum is FAR more productive than lurking or posting a forum like Encyclopedia Dramatica Forum or 4chan.com/b/

    The content on this site is at least educational, and more importantly it is at least possibly to have an educational and intellectual conservation on this forum (Physics Forum) unlike a HUGE majority of forums on the Internet. If possible, you could try to have discussions pertaining to the study material by remaining yourself that you're on this forum for studying help. Suppress any urges to engage in distracting posting behavior on this forum, but don't do this constantly since your suppressed urge will eventually overpower your will-power.

    Or better yet, hide your computer while you are studying, so that the computer (or more importantly the Internet) doesn't serve as a distraction to you. Sometimes out of site= out of mind. I personally find the Internet to be one of, if not the most, distracting distractions on not only my studying but other IRL (in real life) activities ever. This has probably been the case since 2005 for me (so about 7 years of this nefarious distraction known as the Internet).

    You should develop a habit of using the Internet PRIMARILY for homework, studying, using your Syllabus (which helps your studying and homework), and checking your email. Entertainment such as watching Youtube videos or posting on this forum should be your reward (positive reinforcer) for your studying.

    Also remember that you must take baby-steps in order to eventually reduce and rid yourself of this distracting OCD-like, post-on-Physics Forum habit. Don't try to think that you can completely rid yourself of this bad habit (or any bad habit) because if you do, you will loose self-esteem and end up reverting back to or even reinforcing and strengthening your bad habits .

    Perhaps you may never rid yourself from this compulsive, non-study material-related forum posting habit or Internet distractions in general, but as long as you can eventually keep such distractions at a reasonably low-level, you should be proud of yourself.

    Here's a protip: The more stress you experience, the more likely you will engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors as a stress-reducing behavior. Unfortunately, the stress relieved from obsessive-compulsive behaviors is only temporary, and you will end up engaging in more OCD behavior once you become stress-out from your OCD behavior (which in this case for you and ESPECIALLY me is compulsively and procrastinating web-surfing).

    I noticed that some people become obsessive about posting on forums to the point where they post as much as possible. I was unfortunately one of those people. At one point, on this forum called the LoungeForum in the span of half a year I posted about 5000 posts {{which is roughly 27.4 posts per day}}. Needless to say this had a HUGE negative impact on my academics for my first year of college, and I regret to this day that I didn't seek for professional help (or any help at all) for dealing with that ANNOYING and DETRIMENTAL PROBLEM.

    Oh well, at least I learn from my mistakes and now I know when I have a particular problem and the help I can seek from other people (as well as what I can do to help myself).

    I just hope more kids learn about how to cope with their OCD-behaviors so that they don't end up destroying their lives. More importantly, I hope you guys found this post helpful!
  20. Sep 2, 2012 #19
    Wow. It seems my orignial post has developed into a post on "smart studying" so why not continue it. Why does'nt everyone join in so we can have this discussion on good study practices and help each other out. I'll start by listing what I do which helps me in getting good grades:

    1) Enroll in courses which actually are interesting. I've always found that in interesting courses, work is'nt work, it's actually FUN. Yeah I mean it. An example: I took a course Introduction to programming which involved programming in Matlab. It was tough but I could code for 8 hours at a stretch without getting bored.

    2) Make notes: Honestly, its very important. I make tons of notes. Anything which you write down will make a lot of sense later on. I've seen students not make notes because everything is in the book only to struggle afterwards.

    3) Meet your TA's: Anything which I don't understand, I look up in the lecture notes or the book. If I don't get what I'm looking for, the next day I meet my TA. I prefer meeting my TA rather than emailing them since that way I understand better.

    By the way any thoughts on study groups? I've never used them so I'm interested in what people have to say about them.
  21. Sep 2, 2012 #20
    Hee hee so jelly of you!

    1. We don't have a choice about which subjects we pick until 4th year
    2. Cool! Yes I like taking notes, even though there are a lot of free ones by other people on the net.
    3. We don't have TAs.

    I watched a really good lecture on youtube from Samford (not Stanford) about effective studying that mentioned how to go about forming a study group and making sure it wasn't a waste of time.

    You have to have a topic (i.e. a chapter or a part of a chapter) for each meeting and everybody has to come with 4 questions (either questions they really need to know the answer to or want to discuss, or quiz questions)

    Oh there's a great add on for firefox called leechblock which allows you to make a list of all the websites with which you waste your time (youtube etc.) and block them out during certain hours of the day. It even allows you to lock out its own options and about:config ... which I didn't think I would need.. but I did.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  22. Sep 2, 2012 #21
    About study groups.

    I've found (from observations) that they actually are more detrimental than beneficial. At the start of the study group 'session' everyone's serious but eventually the conversation turns to movies, jokes and the usual stuff.

    Nice app leechblock.
  23. Sep 2, 2012 #22
    Yeah he warned about that in the video. Maybe the trick is to form study groups with people who you don't like!
  24. Sep 2, 2012 #23


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    Something about studying smarter is that there is no "one size fits all" solution. Part of being a good student is learning how you learn best.

    Coming back to the orignal post in question, I have a suggestion. Why not try it for a semester? Find an exercise mode that fits for you. Join a sports club. Take up a martial art. Get up at 6:00 am every morning and run. Work your way through the P90X DVDs. Remember the best exercise is the exercise that actually do.

    Try it and see if your academic performance goes up or down.

    Of course, even if there is no noticable academic performance improvement short term, there are also long-term and perhaps unseen benefits. For example, statistically speaking, you will get sick less and you'll fight off infections faster. You'll sleep better and be more alert. You'll live longer. Daily chores won't be as much of a struggle.

    Let us know what happens.
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