With exams upon us, students have their heads down deep in study. The desire to do our best during study sees us exercise our minds and fill our brains for hours on end. And it’s not just students; teachers and educators put in long hours writing educational content, formulating exams and marking exam papers at the end of each semester.
Our intention to be our best is honourable, but can lead students and educators alike to forget about their physical well-being. Often, long hours in exams or study leaves us with aches and pains in our neck, shoulders, back and hands that we would rather not have. So what are some strategies to combat this very common problem?
You have a lot of content to revise. It’s going to take you a long time. Reduce your anxiety and timetable seated desk sessions in 50 min blocks. Rest for 10 mins after each block by grabbing a drink of water, a few minutes of mindfulness or maybe a few push-ups.
Change your posture
Changing your posture is a great way to relieve muscle tension and minimise the risk of postural strain. A ‘Posture Pole™’ can be a great way to passively and gently “reset” your spine and remind your body through position sense how it would function best. This is a great strategy for night owls or even office workers, when outdoor exercise may be inconvenient. For your nearest Posture Pole supplier visit http://www.posturepole.com.au/find-a-supplier/ .
Plan your study days and do not deviate from your plan. There is always going to be that one friend that wants to go out, messing up your plan and leaving you with less time. This means long periods of head-down action later on, to make up for lost time. Long study sessions may lower your postural awareness, leading to postural strain, eye strain and even headaches.
Move, Shake, Drop.
They say sitting is the new smoking1. Schedule 30 mins of exercise per day2 and include at least 15 mins of moderate huff and puff activity. Movement requires your brain to fire new connections, giving your study brain a rest whilst working with your movement brain. This increases the amount of dopamine in the brain after exercise which is closely associated with reward-based learning and keeping you happy3. One study showed that 15 mins of huff and puff activity increased short-term memory function4. An activity that uses ball skills, balance and coordination like volley-ball or soccer is ideal in tapping this memory-steroid.
When to seek professional help?
If you’re finding yourself waking up stiff and sore the day after long hours of study or frequently reaching for over the counter pain medication to relieve headaches and neck pain, it may to time to see your chiropractor. A chiropractor may help you;
- address postural strain concerns,
- assist with relieving pain and discomfort,
- support you with appropriate treatment for acute neck pain during intense periods of study.
Chiropractic care is designed to educate you in understanding how poor posture can contribute to neck pain, headaches, muscular tension and backache. Visit your chiropractor for postural and activity advice, for strategies to manage and releive headache and neck pain and to prevent recurring postural discomfort.
Copyright: Balanced Body Chiropractic
2 Recommended daily physical activity per day for adults 18-64 years: http://nht.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NationalPhysicalActivityGuidelinesforAdults.pdf
3 Parker, N. F., Cameron, C. M., Taliaferro, J. P., Lee, J., Choi, J. Y., Davidson, T. J., Daw, N. D., ... Witten, I. B. (2016). Reward and choice encoding in terminals of midbrain dopamine neurons depends on striatal target. Nature Neuroscience, 19, 6, 845-54.
4 Zach, S., & Shalom, E. (2016). The Influence of Acute Physical Activity on Working Memory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 122, 2, 365-374.