Finals week is upon us, and chances are, the only kind of exercise you’re thinking about is running away from your responsibilities. Studies have proven, however, that working out can increase your ability to learn and perform well when exam time comes. You might be a dedicated gym rat who hates missing, or maybe exercise is more of a rare occurrence.
Regardless of which side of the spectrum you lean toward, staying active in some way during this week of exams can only benefit you. Don’t have time? No worries — these workouts are designed with the busy student in mind. Find one that caters best to you, and go for it! Your brain (and your bod!) will thank you.
Burpees, Burpees, Burpees
If you’re a hardcore gym rat looking to torch some calories, this one is for you. The workout is pretty straightforward: just set a timer for 15-20 minutes, and bust out as many burpees as you can in that time. If you don’t know what a burpee is, check out the following video for a quick demonstration:
The movement itself is not too difficult to perform, but don’t be fooled, because the 100th burpee is a lot harder than the first. Even the fittest of athletes will be left gasping for air and cringing from lactic acid if this move is done right. You can crank out some burpees almost anywhere (your dorm room, a lobby area, or your living room), and no equipment is required — only a timer and some serious determination! Just be prepared to wipe up the pool of sweat left behind when you’re finished.
A Simple Circuit
This workout is one of medium difficulty, but it has the potential to be a real muscle-burner. Like the previous one, this workout requires no equipment other than a timer and a ready body. It consists of three movements: push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats. Start your timer and then perform a set number of reps for each exercise. For example, do 25 pushups as fast as possible, and then as soon as you finish, immediately do 25 sit-ups as fast as possible, and when you finish the sit-ups, immediately do 25 air squats.
When you finish your last rep of air squats, stop the timer. Depending on how difficult you want to make it, you could increase the number of reps to 50, 75, or 100. The goal is to finish as fast as possible. It’s a one-size-fits-all workout, and it shouldn’t take more than 20-25 minutes out of your day!
(Not sure how to properly perform an air squat? Click this link to find out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_VtOYc6j5c)
When in Doubt, Plank it Out!
Chances are, you won’t sweat much with this workout, but it might be the best one for you during this season of exams. Hours are spent hunched over textbooks, notebooks, and flashcards, putting tons of strain on your back. By the end of the week, you might find it really hard to sit for extended periods of time, which isn’t helping you if you need to study for that Friday morning exam.
The solution? Tighten that core! A stronger midsection improves your sitting posture and keeps that lower back feeling good all week long. The plank is the perfect exercise to keep your body aligned. Check out the following videos to tweak your planking form:
Do three rounds of front and side planks once or twice a day to keep those stomach muscles engaged and your back stress free! Ten minutes out of your day is worth it.
So maybe exercising is not your thing, but you want to stay active this week. Don’t overcomplicate things; just get up and walk! Walking is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, and it doesn’t require you to break a sweat. Trying to memorize terms or piece together a potential essay question? Get up and walk around while you’re thinking it through.
You could also use walking as a reason to take breaks. Every hour or so, get up and go take a 10 minute walk. Get out of the classroom, away from the desk, and move around. Stay inside, or go outside and enjoy Michigan’s finest weather. Either way, give your mind a break and do your body a favor — just move.
— Branden Bisher, SAB Campus Rec Officer