Exercise not only makes your body healthy – it makes your brain healthy too. Studies have shown that exercising can improve your thinking skills. Plus, it’ll help you retain information better. So here are eight – wait, 12 ways to exercise? Oh boy. Get ready to feel the burn.

  1. Run on an elliptical or treadmill

This one’s easy. Just pop into AUA’s on-campus gym, put your study materials in front of you, and run. Let studying distract you from the fact that you’re running. When you’re on the machines, make sure to gradually increase your incline level. To end your work out, return the incline to your starting level and cool down. Also fun: imagine you’re running away from a bear or towards your goals – hey, whatever motivates you.

  1. Chair squats

Studying requires a lot of sitting, which can make you antsy, but getting up too often can invite procrastination. Well, this exercise splits the difference. All you have to do is stand up from your chair and squat halfway – hovering over your chair. Hold this for ten seconds and then repeat about twenty times. Here’s a visual to get an idea of how to do it right.

  1. Wall sitting

This is kind of like #2 but you get some back support and it’s easier to hold for longer. You can also change it up a little by lifting one leg at a time, which will make you feel extra cool. If you’re a klutz like me, you may  prefer this option rather than risk fumbling backwards into a chair. Happens every time.

  1. Abdominal lifts

You can even sneak in some upper-body workouts while you memorize all the organs in your torso (medical school, right?). This only works if your chair has handles and isn’t a swivel. First – crisscross your legs on the seat. Then, only using your arms for support, lift up your body from the chair. You can also use this to fool people into believing you can levitate – as long as they don’t see your arms.

  1. Ab Swivel

Swivel chairs – they’re the most fun chairs around. Seriously, how many times have you used one to just roll around? Now they can be put to good use with the oblique swivel! First, hold onto your desk. Then use your arms to push yourself back and forth about 15-times. So, the next time someone judges you for choosing a swivel chair, show off your killer abs.

  1. Leg planks

Too absorbed by your lecture notes to stand up? Understandable. That’s why lifting up your legs and holding them at a 90-degree angle for about 10-seconds at a time is the best thing ever for a lazy person like myself. After all, I do my entire exercise regimen from my desk – even when I’m not working.

  1. Water bottle curls

When you’re on the go, you probably have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. If you don’t, you should, by the way. Well, now you can multitask. Just like lifting weights, curl that water bottle up to your shoulder about 15-times to get a quick and easy workout. This will help build strength in your wrists, which will you’ll probably need to take tests and whatnot. Or operate – wherever you’re at academically or professionally.

  1. Stretch to the sky

This one is also relatively simple. Sit up straight and raise your arms to the sky. You’ll never get there but, after holding that position for 10-seconds or so, you’ll feel refreshed. This is especially nice after a legit workout. Note: please don’t do this in class, lest you want to confuse your professor.

  1. Hold onto the edge of your seat

You may find yourself sitting at the edge of your seat during a good thriller, but have you tried holding that position? That’s slightly cooler. Sitting at the very edge of your seat with your hands firmly gripping the chair will keep your body weight down. Also, make sure this is not a swivel chair. That’s more of a #5 thing. Pro-tip: playing “The Touch” by Stan Bush will make this exercise go ten times faster.

10. Resistance bands

Remember Stretch Armstrong? That was cool. He was apparently ripped because he could stretch. Now you can be ripped too with resistance bands! These bands are usually cheap and you can take them anywhere. Put the band in both hands and stretch it as far as you can.

11. Replace your chair with a fitness ball

Chairs are so 2010. You’ll be doing a lot of sitting while you pour over your textbooks and notes. Why not have a chair that doubles as exercise equipment? A fitness ball will tone your core muscles and improve your balance. Plus, it’s bouncy, which is slightly more fun than a swivel chair.

12. Shrug

None of this working for you? Shrug it off. Literally, shrug. Move your shoulders as close as you can to your ears for about five seconds and repeat. It’ll strengthen your trapezius muscles and relieve any stress building up in your shoulders. Bonus: doing it while you study will make it easier to retain whatever you’re studying.

Got any quick fitness tips? Tell us in the comments!

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