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Lesson 10: Be Physically Active

I’ll go straight to the point in this lesson. You are going to be spending at least 2 years of your precious life working towards your HSC exams. Do you need to stay healthy during those 2 years? Of course, you do!

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

By now, you’ve probably realised that I love the analogy of running a marathon. So, here’s another piece of wisdom that you should add to your growing collection:

You cannot run a marathon for 2 years if you are not in good health.

Many students think they should neglect their physical health to become Laureates. Physical exercise takes time and energy. So, it seems reasonable to cut down on physical activity, so you can devote more time and energy to your studies, right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Your health is one of your greatest assets in your quest to become a Laureate. I was fortunate enough to have people make me realise this while I was still studying. Indeed, from the lesson about burning desire, recall that I was unwilling to give up my health to become a Laureate. However, not all students are fortunate enough to realise this. The point of this entire topic is to address this issue once and for all. There are many aspects of health. This lesson will focus on only one: Physical Activity.

Exercise not only improves your body, but it also enhances your mind, your attitude, and your mood.

Before we continue, let me make the following point clear to you: I’m not telling you to spend a whole lot of time and energy on exercise. I’m just recommending that you engage in some level of physical activity on a regular basis. You have 24 hours in a day. This is equivalent to 1440 minutes. Can you devote only 30 minutes to exercise? 30 minutes is only 2% of your day. Surely, you can do it, right? It’s no big deal. Whether it’s walking briskly, jogging, running or a more structured workout, you can do it for 30 minutes! In fact, you can even break it down into multiple chunks throughout the day. For example, you can exercise for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. It’s not very hard to do but the benefits, when done regularly are tremendous. You don’t absolutely need to exercise every single day but as long as you are doing it frequently enough, you should reap the following benefits:

Benefit 1: Exercise boosts your academic performance.

Would an improvement in academic performance be of use to you? Of course, it would! Your objective is to become a Laureate. Of course, you need all the study boosts you can get. Physical exercise, especially cardio, improves your blood circulation. This increases the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain. The more oxygen your brain gets, the better it performs. This means that you’ll study better. You’ll be able to learn new things more quickly and memorise stuff more easily. You’ll be able to do past papers more rapidly while leaving fewer mistakes. Who wouldn’t want that?

Benefit 2: Exercise reduces stress. Big time!

When you exercise, your body produces lots and lots of endorphins. These are the brain chemicals that make you feel relaxed and happy. Moreover, whenever you complete a workout, you’ll feel a sense of achievement. This is equivalent to feeling “rewarded” for something. Whenever you feel rewarded, your body produces dopamine, another “feel good” hormone. Both endorphin and dopamine are key to alleviate stress, so the more your body produces them, the least likely you are going to feel stressed. The journey to becoming a Laureate can obviously be a stressful one. From the previous topic, you hopefully realised the importance of getting rid of negative emotions. So, if you could take 30 minutes a day to clear off that stress and improve your mood, would you do it? Of course, you would! It’s the rational thing to do. You’ll be able to study better when you are in a good mood. Plus, maintaining a good mood is key to staying motivated and maintaining the level of consistency you need to become a Laureate.

Benefit 3: Exercise helps you sleep better.

Sleep is vital on the road to become a Laureate. It is one of the things that you cannot afford to neglect if you want to be successful in the long run. We’ll talk more about the importance of sleep in the next lesson, but for now, know that physical activity improves the quality of your sleep, resulting in you feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle the next day of study. Moreover, if you exercise outside, you’ll be exposed to a lot of natural light from the sun. This is essential in helping your body establish and maintain a reasonable sleep-wake cycle.

Benefit 4: Exercise improves your energy levels.

Do you want more energy to study? Of course, you do! More energy means you’ll be able to do more work in a shorter period of time. This might seem counterintuitive, but when done regularly (and in moderation, obviously!), exercise reduces fatigue and boosts energy. Try the following experiment: whenever you feel tired during the day, go for a brisk walk or a little jog instead of taking a nap. You could even do a short cardio workout. For the first few days, you might not see the effects, but after a week or two, you’ll notice that you feel more energised. This extra energy can, of course, be used to give you the extra edge you need to go through your work for the rest of your day.

Benefit 5: Exercise boosts your Immune system.

You obviously know what happens when you get sick. You can’t go to school, can’t concentrate properly and can’t do your homework to the high standard you are used to doing them. Getting sick is not fun. Fortunately, exercise can help you get sick less often. How so? Exercise enables immune cells to perform better by improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and strengthening antibodies. This boosts immunity and helps fight infections, meaning that you get sick less often! Remember that every day counts when you want to become a Laureate. When you exercise, you’ll get sick less often, meaning that you’ll lose fewer days of studies!

There are plenty of ways you could engage in physical activity, so I won’t recommend any particular exercise or workout plan. There are plenty of free apps, YouTube videos and workout programs on the internet that you could use. All you need to do is look around and find what suit you.

So, to wrap this lesson up, the Key Takeaway is:

Exercise often.

Do you have any questions or comments? Post them below!

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