Tips for Staying Healthy and Active During Exams

Exam season is here and UTSC students are beginning to retreat to their natural exam habitats, hidden under piles of books and notes in nooks and crooks of the campus. Believe us, we get it. Freedom is so close, you can taste it; so you settle into a small, quiet corner of the library (if you can find a free spot), bring your blanket, study notes, and a ton of food, and study for hours upon hours. Your GPA depends on it! But what if we told you that taking a physical activity break can help boost those final marks? Crazy, isn’t it? But we promise we’re telling the truth.

Studies show that 20 minutes of exercise before an exam can boost your scores. See, your physical health plays a key role in your mental ability: it has a positive impact on our mood, our stress, and can greatly increase our mental alertness and energy (find out more by clicking here). It also can increase our self-esteem, which can boost your confidence as you walk into that exam room; and all it takes is 10-20 minutes! So, how can you incorporate physical activity breaks into your study breaks? Check out our tips below on how to keep active and stay healthy during the exam season:

  1. A small amount goes a long way TPASC may seem a million miles away, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking a quick movement break on campus. Get up and walk around – take a Timmies tea break from studying and take the long way there. Add a few flights of stairs, grab a breath of fresh air, and give your brain a break. Fun fact: if you take a walk from the very end of HW all the way to the end of SY, you’ve already walked 0.4 km’s! Looking to get outside for a longer walking break? Visit the Athletics & Recreation website for 4-10km routes!
  2. Schedule your physical activity breaks
    Did you know that TPASC is open from 5am-12am, 365 days a year except for holidays (8am-4pm)? That gives you 19 hours to work with when scheduling your day! By scheduling your physical activity breaks, you hold yourself more accountable and are able to better manage your study time. It’s okay to not study for 12 hours straight – so take a break! Whether you’re looking to drop in for a swim, take a drop-in group fitness class, shoot some hoops or hit up the fitness center, we got you covered. Find out more here.
  3. Bring some friends along
    Make it a group outing and try something new.  The presence of a friend actually increases ones motivation to get moving!
  4. Don’t forget to sleep
    Your body needs time to recharge and rejuvenate itself. Sleep also assists in the brains memory formation process, to better absorb all of the studying you’ve done. Sleep also helps to keep you alert – because no one wants to fall asleep in the middle of an exam. Lack of sleep also causes your body to release more stress hormone, called cortisol, which only adds to the exam stress.
  5. Stay hydrated and make sure to eat!
    Your body is like a car – it needs fuel to keep it running. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and eat well: this means avoiding those quick, easy go-to-meals like KFC and pizza (not that we don’t mind a good slice of pizza here and there). Try eating 5-6 smaller meals a day that are filled with whole grains, fruits, healthy fats, vegetables and lean meats or alternative so that you have energy and don’t go hungry.

We hope that our tips and tricks guide you into a successful, less-stressful exam season! This way, you won’t end up like this guy…

Happy holidays and best of luck, UTSC! From your MoveUTSC crew.

Looking for more study tips? Visit the AA&CC website.