Wellbeing Week 2017: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – Exercise during Law School

Exercise. It’s a love hate relationship. More so if you are a time poor law student. It is often the last thing we want to think about when we’re balancing multiple deadlines and stress levels are high. But are we really doing our study efforts a favour when we opt to stay at our desks an extra hour rather than getting moving?

Research indicates that pushing back against the inertia and finding time to be active pays dividends in terms of your productivity and brain function. Getting up, taking a minute to get some fresh air and moving your body between study sessions makes for a more productive law student.

Exercise has been proven to “aid in concentration and helps reduce anxiety” advises Dr Adrienne Forsyth, Accredited Practising Dietician, Lecturer in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at La Trobe University. Consequently, Dr Forsyth suggests that “when exercising in the morning, the impact it can have on a student is reducing their anxiety by providing a sense of calmness for the rest of the day, allowing you to function at your peak”. Meaning that even though you may feel like you are struggling through a rigorous workout, you will feel great after and this positive feeling will last throughout the day. Furthermore, as Dr Forsyth continues, “exercise helps you to stay more alert and allows you to have a better quality of sleep”.

Most of us know that exercise is ‘good for us’, the hard question is how to actually make it happen. “Make it habitual, just like brushing your teeth” suggests Dr Adrienne Forsyth. A simple way is to build exercise into your travel to and from uni or work – ride your bike, or swap your car for a combination of walking and public transport – even if the trip takes a little longer, you’ll gain some reading time and exercise. “Incidental exercise counts too” says Dr Forsyth. “Park your car further away from your classes or get off the tram a few stops earlier so that you can incorporate exercise into your day”. Once you get into the habit of exercising regularly your body will not only reap the benefits but the exercise itself will become easier.

If you are finding motivation difficult, try exercising with your friends so that you can keep one another accountable. “When exercise is fun, it becomes something you love to do,” suggests Dr Forysth. Get involved in the LSA’s Law School Mixed Netball comp, or grab a friend and do a walk around the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary.

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A walk or run outside will do a world of good for your mental clarity and your wellbeing. Hate running? Take a class or get into the gym and lift something heavy. There is something for everyone and every ability, whether it be reformer pilates, boxing, spin or yoga – or if class fees are an obstacle, try YouTube workout videos. “Start somewhere and build up gradually” suggests Dr Forsyth.

Just keep in mind the wise words of one of our favourite American legal eagles: “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t shoot their husbands!”

To find out more about our 2017 Wellbeing Week events, see our event schedule!

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