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If you’re trying to improve your academic standing, particularly within a competitive field such as finance, then commitment and concentration are imperative.
Contrary to popular belief, endless studying where you are fixed to your desk, surrounded by stimulants and without taking breaks is not the key to improved performance.
It may be counterintuitive to some, but exercise is a simple and effective means of boosting mood, cognitive capacity and concentration.
If you are pursuing a profession in finance and either embarking on or in the midst of your academic journey, here are some suggestions on how to exercising can help you while studying.
Warming up to exercise
Before you begin exercising, it’s worth taking into consideration your physical health before starting. From this, you can better align your exercise preferences and what interests you.
If you have any pre-existing conditions or lingering injuries, it’s best to consult your doctor or at least engage in activities that will be less stressful on your body.
If your goal is simply to gain the cognitive benefits of exercising while maximizing the time you can study, then you are better off pursuing activities that are less time-intense and not as rigorous.
If you are looking for either a physical challenge or a mental diversion from studying, then there are a variety of exercise programs, activities and games that can help to alleviate the stress of learning while improving your physical health.
Always remember to start slow and not push yourself too hard, because there’s nothing worse than injuring yourself for this critical period.
It’s always good, regardless of what exercises you are doing, to stretch before and after exercising.
Doing rotational movements before exercising, such as circling your arms overhead and swinging your leg back and forth and then alternating sides, helps to ensure proper range of motion before exercising.
When you are done, passive stretches such as holding your foot and stretching your quad or holding your arm behind your head to stretch your triceps are great ways to restore mobility and to prevent and strains.
Low intensity workouts
It’s recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. For some people, this may seem like a stretch, but it’s not too demanding of a commitment when you realize that exercising is something that you can do at almost any time of the day!
The simplest exercise you can do is to walk. If you live close to your work or school (within 2 miles), try walking to work. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.
Instead of having a coffee or soda each time you break, try and break up studying by going for a 5 minute walk every hour and a half.
During your lunch break, you can also try going for a 15–20-minute walk.
Walking is a great form of exercise because it is not technically demanding, can be done anywhere, is weight-bearing but not too impactful on your joints and you can control the intensity!
Aerobic exercise, such as walking, is a great form of exercise to do for people who are studying because you can do it without having to change into special clothes and it gives maximum benefits with minimal effort.
Another great option is riding a bike. If you commute slightly further away (approximately 5 miles), then you’re looking at a 35-minute bike ride each way, which easily fills the daily exercising requirements.
Even if you don’t live that far, or don’t wish to commute, you can go on a bike ride during lunch, after work or studying, or take small trips as a break during the day.
Swimming is another great one. It has a very low impact on the body and, if you have access to a pool, can be done regularly. It is a full body workout and, if you ride your bike or walk, is a good alternative form of exercise.
Of course, there is the inconvenience of having to change and take a shower afterwards, and you need to like swimming, but if you’re looking for a consistently good exercise that isn’t too time consuming, swimming is a great choice.
Medium intensity workouts
If you are looking to tone and strengthen your muscles, then there are a variety of exercises you can try. Chair squats can be done where you are studying, which simply requires you to stand up and then sit back down in your chair.
You can do this for 10 repetitions and then pause for 30 seconds before repeating again. Try this cycle 3 times for a good low body workout.
An alternative to chair squats is wall squats, which require you to lean your back against a wall and then slide against the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Generally, when exercising you will do at least 2 sets with 10 repetitions for each set. Just remember, go slow and don’t overdo it!
If you don’t even feel like leaving your chair, there are other exercises you can try. If you are sitting in a rigid chair with arms, then you can do modified dips.
With either your feet on the floor (but not exerting force) or with your feet off the floor (if you’re ambitious), push yourself up with your arms and then lower yourself back down.
If you’re looking for even more resistance, you can try using resistance bands or homemade weights, such as water bottles (or even your textbooks).
With a water bottle of textbook, you can do bicep curls by lifting the objects by bending your arms at the elbow and then lowering them. Pretty simple, but effective.
Going for high Intensity
If you’re looking for more of a challenge or like a high intensity workout to break up your studying sessions and work day, then there are a variety of exercises you can try.
Treadmills, elliptical machines and even jumping rope offer great aerobic workouts that can easily be done with 30 minutes.
Lifting weights, exercise machines and even rowing machines offer the opportunity to develop strength and, depending on what exercises you do, how much weight you use and how many repetitions you perform, you can incorporate aerobic exercise as well.
For those who like more of a competitive activity, basketball, tennis, soccer or even long-distance running are other great ways to exercise.
Just remember that these forms of exercise can be more taxing or possibly lead to injury, so consult a personal trainer (or doctor) if you are unfamiliar and always stay safe!
Just because you are trying to become an accomplished financial professional doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice physical fitness. There are a variety of simple exercises and techniques that can help you get the most out of your sessions.
In as little as 30 minutes a day, you can reap the physical as well as the mental rewards of exercising which will help you perform and achieve to your potential.
If you’re on the road to becoming a financial success, the only thing you need to do now is to get moving!
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