4 Quick Study Break Exercises
Exercising can be difficult to fit into the school year. Personally, I find myself skipping my workouts and becoming more sedentary as the school year progresses. While replacing my workout time with studying has been beneficial for my GPA, it is important to find a balance between the two. This balance is the most easily disrupted during midterms and finals. As such, I’ve started to use short exercises as a studying break. These are my favourite quick study break exercises. Happy exercising!
1) Alternate Between Sets of Skipping and Squats
I find skipping a fast way to fit cardio into my schedule. I like to do 5 sets of 100 single skips and 10 squats in between each set of skipping. If you keep up with skipping, you can complete your single skip sets quicker. Thus, this will decrease the amount of time spent exercising during finals. You can also progress your single skips to double unders.
Tips for Squats:
-Check your posture. Your shoulder blades should be down and in and your back should be straight. I find it easier to maintain this posture with my arms straight out and with my hands clasped.
-Engage your core.
-Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your knees should be lined up with your third toe.
-Lower like you are sitting back into a chair. This prevents your knees from passing your toes. Your knees should never pass your toes (unless you want joint pain).
2) Push Ups
I find push ups an excellent way to work on my upper body and core strength. This exercise may initially seem intimidating but there are several progressions that will make this exercise suitable to your current level of strength. You can start your push ups against the wall then progress to a lower surface until you can do your push ups off of the floor. For example, you can start against the wall then progress to a table then to a bench then to the floor.
-Make sure that your joints are stacked. Your shoulders, elbows and wrist should be in a vertical line when in the plank position. -Engage your core and gluts.
-Make sure your body is in a straight line. Do not raise your hips. This is cheating!
-Slowly lower your body until your chest almost reaches the floor. I often see people complete their push up through mid range of motion. For example, they will lower until their arms are slightly bent then raise themselves up from this position. This is also cheating!
-Engage your core, gluts, triceps and shoulder muscles to raise yourself from the floor.
3) Hollow Rocks
This is my favourite core exercise. I have a weak core and I have to do this exercise at an easier progression. You can start with your knees bent with your arms by your sides and progress to the final hollow position. You use your core to rock yourself forwards and backwards. Please refer to this video.
-You should NOT be able to slip your hand under your back and the floor.
4) Quadratus Lumborum Stretch
I have poor posture when I study. Subsequently, I constantly have low back pain during the school year. I find this stretch the most effective for my back pain.
-Sit in a straddle position.
-Using your inside arm, the back of your hand should face your leg/ankle.
-Open your body and side flex at your hips.
-Your outside arm should reach for your foot.
Bonus (Advance) Core Exercise: Headstands
When I am bored of studying, I like to do headstands. I find this exercise good for my core. If you have never tried a headstand, please do NOT attempt. Please go to a yoga class to receive proper instruction and spotting.
-Start with the Teddy Bear headstand. (Place elbows on your knees)
-Once you are comfortable with the Teddy Bear headstand, engage your core and gluts to lift your legs.
Photo Credits: Courtney Long & Yoga Journal