Staying Fit for Final Exams (or any Desk-a-Thon)
If you’re a student drilling through last days of finals or just tied to a desk lately, what can you do to stay fit until you can be more active?
First, how long does it take to lose fitness?
This depends upon your age and genetics — and on how fit you are to begin with — but your cardiovascular fitness takes a slight hit in the first couple of weeks of inactivity, while strength declines more slowly. When you stop exercising, those little powerhouses inside your cells, the mitochondria, don’t work as well. If you’re a fit person who has to take a couple of weeks off, no biggie, you’ll get fit again pretty fast.
But what about the brain? This is the double whammy. Your brain is not a computer in a bubble. Brainpower benefits from exercise like the rest of you. Exercise creates new brain cells and brain connections. So taking a few minutes to get moving just might move up your grades, too. It could also protect your mind into old age, too. And if there’s no time for a meal, feed your brain the fuel it needs with E6.
Small (and intense) moves matter
You can keep much of your fitness if you don’t stop completely. Try some interval training, which mixes up a few minutes of short, high-intensity exercise like sprinting with lower intensity activity. Think of it as sending a loud telegraph to your body: “Stay Fit. “Can’t do that? Sneak in 30 total minutes of activity in your day: wiggle at your desk, pace around, step in place, do jumping jacks, walk around the building, climb stairs. It adds up.
Take a stand against sitting
Basically, the moment you sit down, it’s like a big power main has been switched off. Even vigorous daily exercise isn’t enough to counteract the harm of sitting for much of the day. So, stand up often. Try using a standing desk. And while seated, add some desk moves: arm stretches, leg lifts, seated twists, isometrics, where you tighten and hold a group of muscles like gluts for few seconds, repeat. It all adds up.