So it’s back to school, and your schedule hardly leaves any room for sleep, let alone going to the gym. Well, you might want to rethink that! Sure, working out can help you have the biceps to finally get the attention of that blonde in your Economics class, but experts believe that working out regularly helps with mental improvement and lowering stress levels.

  • Studies have shown that a regular cardio workout increases blood and oxygen flow, which can enhance the ability of neurotransmitters in the brain to work faster. This won’t turn you into Einstein, but can improve reasoning, memory, vocabulary and reaction time.
  • Having to focus on maintaining your balance and breath in a Yoga or Pilates class is a great way to distract your mind and give it the break it needs from constant studying. Try hot yoga: The heat will give you the additional bonus of relaxing tense muscles.
  • Nervous about doing a presentation in front of the class? Feeling nervous isn’t only psychological. Psychologists say that a key element behind failing under pressure is physical fatigue. So geting a good night sleep is key.  If you are having trouble sleeping, a regular cardio workout will lower your resting pulse rate, can lower blood pressure, improves digestion, and assists your brain in producing more feel-good chemicals.
  • Most people think of stretching as a five-minute thing you’re “suppose” to do before a workout, but stretching for 10-20 minutes a day disallows tension to build up in the neck and back. Regular stretchers say they have fewer headaches and backaches. Try stretching as soon as you wake up or before you go to bed for a great start or finish to your day.

Stretch Exercise Examples:

  • Abdominal Twist: Use a wide grip bar. If you don’t have one, substitute with a broom, hockey stick, etc. Place the bar behind your head with your hands resting on top. (kind of like a scarecrow) Feet should be in a wide stance. Begin twisting your upper body slowly from one side to the other.
  • Hamstring Stretch: Lie down and lift one leg straight up. Hold onto your lower leg, ankle, or foot, and pull leg towards you until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Flex foot and hold stretch. Switch legs. (You can also do this with a resistance band. Wrap the band around foot or ankle and pull ends toward you.)
  • Calf Stretch: Stand with your hands up against a wall. Lunge one leg back. Keep both feet straight and try to keep your heel on the ground. Bend your front leg until you feel the stretch in your calf.
  • Butt & Hamstring Stretch: Lay on the ground. Put your right ankle just above the knee of the opposite leg. Lift legs and lace fingers around supporting leg. Pull legs towards your upper body until you feel the stretch. Switch sides.
  • Groin Stretch: Sit with your back straight and soles of your feet touching. Use your elbows to push your knees to the ground.  For a more intense stretch, lean forward.
  • Quad Stretch: Lay face down on the floor. Reach back and grab foot. Pull foot into your glute until you feel stretch in your quad. (Exercise can be made made easier with resistance band. Wrap band around foot and pull ends towards you instead of reaching back to grab foot). Repeat with opposite leg.
  • Neck Rotations: Turn head to the right, lower, and slowly roll forward to your left shoulder. Do not tilt your head back. Roll back to right side. Repeat.
  • Triceps Stretch: Place both arms overhead. Gently pull behind your elbow to slide palm (of the arm you are pulling) down the middle of your back.
  • Forearm Stretch: Hold onto the fingers of the opposite hand. Pull back until you feel a stretch. Hold stretch.
  • Bicep Stretch: Clasp hands behind your back with palms together. Straighten arms and rotate arms (inside down). Raise arms away from body. Hold Stretch.


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