Monday, October 4, 2010

Grad school and exercise - is there time for both?

Last week I had the good fortune to talk with students in an education and technology class at Carlow about this blog and some of my other work in which I use technology in my teaching and research. The students in the class asked thoughtful questions and I enjoyed the dialog. At the end of our session, I asked them to jot down potential topics for this blog and I left with a stack of ideas! So in coming weeks, I'll be responding to their questions and suggestions.

One student asked for suggestions regarding how to fit exercise into your schedule, when you are a student, and working, and already incredibly busy.

The best strategy I have found is to determine how your exercise might directly enhance your ability to keep up with your school work, this may sound vague, but here are a few ideas:

1. Use exercise time as brainstorming time. If you have to do a lot of writing in your program, try looking at your notes, and then go for a run or go to the gym or whatever, and just think about your paper... take a piece of note paper and a pen and jot down ideas as they come to you. I have found that I more effectively form ideas for papers when I am exercising, than when I am sitting in front of the computer.

2. Listen while you work(out). If your class includes listening to podcasts, listen to them while exercising.

3. Break up long work sessions with exercise. If you have any days of the week when you have several hours to do school work (I know many folks don't have this, but if you do), work for a few hours and take an exercise break before returning to your school work. I have found that this makes me more effective in my second work session.

4. Walk or run with your school buddy. A few posts ago I suggested that you find a good school friend, someone you can really lean on when things get tough, someone to help you process obstacles and frustrations, someone to cheer you on, and someone for whom you can do the same. Perhaps your school buddy can also be an exercise buddy, thus you can exercise and get support and encouragement at the same time.

5. Practice presentations while exercising. I practiced my dissertation defense while swimming laps.

6. Exercise during lunch hours. Some of us get in the habit of working (job work) right through lunch, we eat at our desk and just keep working. Instead, use lunch hour for yourself and at least a few days a week, use this time to work out.

7. Find time-efficient workouts. Fitness books/magazines or a trainer can suggest half-hour workouts that will give you the most effective workout for your limited time... if you don't already know a few of these routines, do some research, identify a few and then pencil them in 3-4 days a week.

8. Try it for a month. If you commit to one of the above strategies and consistently fit in regular exercise, you will see the results -- you will realize that you can work more effectively as a student when you are also getting some exercise. This will reinforce the decision to keep making time for exercise.

Other ideas? Friends... how have you made time for exercise, even with the demands of school, work, family, and other responsibilities?

Cheering you on in your work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
The Encouragement Lounge by Harriet L. Schwartz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.