These stressful exam periods tend to bring with them long periods of sitting down, hunched over keyboards and note pads franticly trying to cram information onto paper and into our brains. The combination of extended seated periods and stress does no good for our physical or mental health. Thankfully, exercise could be our saviour. As well as counteracting the negative effects that the study period brings to many of us, exercising could actually increase our productivity, effectiveness and, dare I say ultimately our grades! Training causes your body to release mood boosting, stress reducing endorphins as well as positively effecting the quality of sleep. Needless to say, a temporary study break that makes you feel good and sleep better at night is convincing enough but the reasons to exercise don’t stop there. Exercise has been shown to increase neurogenesis in the brain as well as the much needed oxygen supply to the squidgy stuff between your ears. Taking time to get our sweat on allows us to return to our studies with greater attention, motivation, biceps and maybe even brain cells. If all that wasn’t convincing enough, we’ve put together two easy to follow workouts for at home or the gym. Break up your revision schedule, grab some friends, whap on that ever-seductive gym gear and try something new. If you need any further advice or have questions regarding the workouts don’t be afraid to ask anyone flaunting the GUWC logo around the gym or contact the facebook page. Good luck!
-Meggy Croal and Philip Kruse, GUWC Welfare Officers
Warm Up and Stretching
All figures are found below!
- Roll downs– From standing to touching the floor and back up. Slow and controlled, keep the knees soft. 3 repeats. (Fig. 1)
- Downward dog to upward dog- Transition from the show positions slowly and try and feel a stretch in each position. 5 repeats. (Fig. 2)
- Lunge stretch- Go onto your knees and step one foot far out in front of you. Push your hips forward. Hold for 15 seconds each leg. (Fig. 3)
- Butterfly legs- Sit down with bottoms of feet touching each other and knees pointing in opposite directions. Lean forward into the stretch if it feels good. Pulse knees up and down 15 times. (Fig. 4)
- T-spines- Lie on your side with your knees brought up and your arms lying out in front of you. Slowly lift the top arm and move it the other side of your body, following it with your eyes. Then return it to starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side. (Fig. 5)
- Arm circles- Circle your arms forward 10 times and then back 10 times. (Fig 6)
Exercises to do at Home
All figures are found below!
Reps/times can be adjusted to individual capabilities and requires just a chair/bed for the split squats and dips and a wall/door for the wall sits.
Repeat 3 times taking a few minutes rest after each round but try not to rest between exercises.
- Press ups- Start from a planking position, bend arms to get nose to the floor and then push up to arms straight again. Keep the elbows tucked in. If necessary, you can drop from feet to knees to reduce difficulty. As many reps as possible. (Fig. 7)
- Wall sits- Stand up with your back to a wall or door. Drop down into a squat position with your back still resting against the wall/door. Hold for ~1 minute. (Fig. 8)
- Planks- Hands directly beneath shoulders and onto your toes. Can also be done on elbows. Back should stay in a flat, straight line. Hold for ~1 minute. (Fig. 9)
- Bulgarian split squats- Place one foot up onto a bed or chair and step the other foot out in front. Lower into this position then push back up. Repeat 15x each leg. (Fig. 10)
- Mountain climbers- Start back in the plank position. Reach one leg forward towards your head at a time then return to original position. These can be done either slowly or with more of a jump. (15 each leg). (Fig. 11)
- Tricep dips- Sit with your back to a chair/bed. Place your hands onto the chair behind you and lift yourself onto your feet which can be either extended right out in front of you or closer in (easier). Bottom should not be on the floor. Bend the arms and push back up. (10-20 reps). (Fig. 12)
- Burpees- Start standing. Put hands onto the floor and jump the feet backwards so that you are now in a plank position. Jump the feet back in and then do a jump into the air so you should finish standing again. (6-15 reps). (Fig. 13)
-Workout by: Alice Francis-Freeman