Tag Archives: exercise

Smarter in Seven Minutes a Day

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Art by Ben Wiseman

According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, you can get a health-helping workout in just seven minutes a day. Using their carefully designed regimen of thirty second bursts of activity and ten second rest periods, you can hit every major muscle group, and do so in an order that maximizes results. How can this help your gray matter? There’s excellent research to show that a healthier body lets your brain perform at peak!

Build Your Body, Build Your Brain!

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“For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.

(Italics are mine – StudyProf)

How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain – NYTimes.com (viajonathanmarcus)
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Boost Your Brain Performance With These Powerful Tips

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  • sailorsleepGet adequate sleep at night and take a nap during the day when possible. The average person needs about 8.5 to 9 hours per night, but some need more and some need less. Stress in your life—physical, mental, or emotional—will often increase your need for sleep (though it may make sleep more difficult). If possible, try to go to sleep at the same time each night and allow your body to wake up on its own. The research on this is hard to fault. Numerous excellent studies from around the world show that getting enough sleep is absolutely critical to functioning at your peak, mentally and physically. Example: A U.S. Navy study of recruits in training published in 2008 noted, “In short, recruits who receive 8 hr of sleep per night scored on average 11% higher [on a standardized test] than their counterparts who receive only 6 hr of sleep, supporting our hypothesis that more sleep was associated with significantly better academic performance.”
  • Exercising your body exercises your brain. Regular physical exercise makes your brain work better. Not only should you work up a sweat four or five times a week, you should also Continue reading Boost Your Brain Performance With These Powerful Tips
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

More Productive Studying By Raising Your Heart Rate

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Exercise in many ways optimizes your brain to learn. –Dr. John Ratey

In my personal practice I’ve found it helpful to get up from my studies or work every thirty to forty-five minutes and do some exercise … something to get my blood pumping … something that I can complete in two to five minutes. I use this helpful (free) timer to keep me on track.

I’ve found that my concentration levels remain higher, I’m more productive, and I can work much longer over all. I also don’t end up feeling as tired by the end of the day.

You will, of course, need to identify things that work well for you personally (and, of course, consult a doctor if you have any physical issues). The point is to get your heart rate up a bit.

I personally alternate between these exercises…

  • push ups
  • sit ups
  • brisk walking around the block
  • jogging
  • jumping jacks
  • squats or lunges
  • curls (I just use a basic pair of dumbbells I have)
  • bench press
  • dips (putting my feet on one chair and my hands on two more chairs)
  • shadow boxing
  • crunches

You can find demos of many/most of these at youtube.

By the way, there is solid research finding a correlation between exercise and better brain functioning.

Are You Smart Enough to Get Good Grades?

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Do you have enough mental muscle to get the grades you want or to score as high as you would like on the SAT or GRE?  I’ve pointed out several times that peak mental performance depends more on technique than on sheer power, however, there is no doubt that having a beefy brain does make things easier.

Good news!  Neurological research has demonstrated that the brain responds to mental exercise much like a muscle.  The more you work it, the stronger it gets.  I’m not just referring to IQ; the brain itself actually grows physically in response to training.

Vincenzo Malacarne, an 18th Century Italian scientist first discovered this when he trained birds to do a series of complex tricks.  Later he dissected the birds’s brains and found increased folding in the brains of the trained birds.  The modern technological breakthroughs in brain scans have shown similar variations in human brains in response to learning.

This is great news.  It means that, just as our bodies respond to exercise by becoming stronger and healthier, so do our noggins.  So break out those books and start pumping info!  You can get smarter!

Top Five Ways College Students Work Too Hard (Part 5)

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When I was a kid I mowed lawns for extra money during the summers. Sure, it’s hot, sweaty work–especially in West Texas where chickens actually lay hard-boiled eggs–but mowing lawns is great. How else could a twelve-year old make twenty dollars an hour?mowing1

One thing I quickly learned was that taking care of your lawn mower makes the work go much more smoothly. Making sure the blade is sharp, the oil is changed regularly, and the air filter is clean can save you hours a day.

I heard of one idiot who failed to check the oil, like, EVER causing the engine to seize-up altogether and transmogrifying the mower into a very large, grass-covered paper weight. My dad was NOT happy.

Your brain is the tool you work with as a student, so take care of it! If you don’t you end up working much harder for poorer results. I’ve seen poorly maintained brains seize up during finals, burst into flames, and significantly char previously quite serviceable head wear.

So avoid trouble and save yourself time and effort by taking care of your gray matter. Here are some tips to on how to keep your noggin humming along. The links give more info and prove that I’m not just making this stuff up. Real scientists–and sometimes video footage–show I’m for real. So there.

  1. Get plenty of sleep … http://www.livescience.com/health/071115-sleep-memories.html
  2. Exercise regularly … http://www.livescience.com/health/080806-brain-exercise.html
  3. Britney Spears kills brain cells … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLUVNRLZzLE&feature=related
  4. Eat right … http://www.livescience.com/health/080709-food-brain.html
  5. Stay socially engaged … http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029172856.htm
  6. Avoid bull riding unless absolutely necessary … [warning; not for the faint of heart] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgVHoWAJ0Nw
  7. Manage your stress … http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/24620.php

I hope you’ve benefitted from the Top Five Ways College Students Work Too Hard. Be sure to let me know in the comments of any other ways you’ve found to get better grades with less work.

Top Five Ways College Students Work Too Hard

  1. Cramming
  2. Taking too many notes on the wrong stuff
  3. Reading more than you need to
  4. Studying the wrong way
  5. Not taking care of your brain
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.