Finals. Quite possibly the worst nightmare of a college student. You could be on the edge of passing/not passing, on the edge of that A/A- range, hopefully the latter, but regardless of where you stand in class, finals are a very real and stressful experience. Although I hate to admit this, I am, for the first time ever, close to dropping into/below the C/C- range, which is dangerously close to not passing. After receiving a 4.0 and being selected valedictorian in high school, this is a stressful time for me. I know I am not alone, finals are a stressful time for many people, and so I want to share how I cope with these stressful times by working out during college finals.
First of all, it’s important to keep school your first priority. If you want to make the grades you’re most likely going to need to cut time out of something else, maybe you won’t be able to go out at night, maybe you won’t be able to see your significant other as much, but I encourage you to not cut your time out of your workout or rest time.
Let’s say you get the recommended eight hours of sleep and then take two hours during the day to eat. There’s still 14 hours in the day to study. But let’s face it you’re not going to study for 14 hours straight, it’s just not possible, you’re going to need to take a couple breaks throughout the day. I suggest taking and setting aside an hour and a half maximum for a workout during the middle of your studying (an hour for the workout, plus a half an hour for travel/showering). After studying for a long time, it is easy to lose focus and end up just going through the motions. The break you get from working out
will help get your mind off of the materials and help you refocus.
Even if it is a shorter workout, it can help to reduce stress levels1
. By reducing these stress levels you will be able to focus more on your studies and be more productive as a result. I know it seems like there’s not enough time to workout, but as I have shown you above, even if you are sleeping 8hrs and spending 2hrs a day eating, there is still 14 hours left for studying. I have told myself I didn’t have enough time to workout before, but in reality, by not working out I only put myself behind.
Good luck during your finals, study hard but if you can try to take a little time away from your studies to get a workout in. It may be just what you need.
1. “Exercise and Cortisol Stress Levels: How Does Exercise Decrease Cortisol Stress Levels?” 2012. Accessed November 30. https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/handle/10355/8618.
Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with hisweightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.