7 Study Habit Lessons You Can Learn from Working Out
Hitting the gym may not be something you often think about when it comes to honing a study habit, but there may be no better place to learn the lessons needed to excel in the classroom. While your goal on the treadmill may be to improve stamina, lose weight, or simply look better in a swimsuit, you can also apply the same lessons you learn here for creating study habits that work. Here are 7 takeaways.
1. New exercises lead to new developments.
Have you ever gone to the gym consistently and did the same workout over and over again without any changes in repetitions or weights or length of time in cardio? If so, you probably noticed that everything gets easier the longer you do it. The problem with that is that your body expends less energy to get through the workout and so you find yourself plateauing.
The same thing can happen when it comes to studying. If you just work on the things you’re comfortable with, you don’t challenge the other aspects of your “game,” and so you start falling behind.
2. Doing the unexpected equals progress.
One of the best ways to get past a plateau point with working out is to incorporate new exercises that focus on different muscle groups (or perhaps the same body part, but just from a different angle). By keeping your body off-guard, it works harder to keep up, and that leads to you developing and honing muscles that you never thought you had. Same with cardio. By incorporating hills into your running routine, for instance, you force yourself to work harder. That increase in output results in a better-conditioned you.
For studying, expect the same. By approaching new subjects or familiar subjects from a different viewpoint, you can learn to keep your mental muscles popping.
3. The hardest part is often getting started.
Oftentimes, the most difficult part of working out is putting on the clothes and lacing up your shoes. Once you get over that hump, the workout doesn’t necessarily become physically easier, but it becomes something you feel in control of — something you’re confident that you can do.
Likewise, the most important study habit that you can learn is to simply get started. Set aside the time and the place; don’t demand too much of yourself going in. Limit the barriers to entry as much as possible. Then, once you’re “in it,” give it everything you’ve got.
4. Trainers can help.
If you’ve never tried a fitness class, then you may be surprised by just how much more you are capable of when you have someone there encouraging you and showing you how to do the workouts every step of the way. You may not be able to go strong for every rep or moment, but you will also find yourself doing a lot more than you would on your own otherwise. Trainers just have that effect.
Similarly, if you run into problems with your studying, reach out to a teacher, a fellow student, or a tutor, and get them to help you over whichever obstacles are in your way.
5. Groups help.
Again, going back to the fitness class example, it isn’t only the trainer that is helping you achieve new levels of performance. Being around others who are in the same situation as you are — and perhaps better or worse, give or take — can give you the encouragement that you need to push through pain and discomfort and achieve new levels of conditioning or strength.
Groups can also be valuable in tackling material that may seem intimidating or unapproachable within a classroom or study group setting.
6. With frequency comes confidence.
If you work out more, then you will get in better shape, period. If you do it long enough, you’ll actually start feeling confident about the things that you can do and the way that you look. When it comes to improving study habits, the more time you spend with the material, the more confident that you’ll become with it.
You’ll also have confidence in what you don’t know, being sure to isolate problem areas and ask for help when the time is right.
7. It’s more effective when you have something you’re working towards.
One of the hardest things to maintain as you get out of organized athletic competitions in high school is to keep your motivation to stay in shape going. It helps to have specific goals in mind, such as running a marathon or wearing a bikini to the beach. If you know there is a specific target, then you will have an easier time finding a place for workouts in your daily routine. Likewise, your study habit repertoire can benefit from the same goal-setting. Whether it’s to pass a test or the reward you get for achieving a certain grade, you need things that motivate you and give you a prize to keep your eyes on.
Workouts don’t just bring with them physical fitness and mental clarity. As seen above, they can also make you a better student and a better studier. Think about it the next time you don’t want to hit the books, and let your inner “athlete” take over.