Studying and Exercise: How to create a Healthy Balance

Medical school is tough, hectic and can sometimes be overwhelming. So how are you meant exercise whilst maintaining your studies? See below for the benefits of exercising and how to balance exercising with you studies.

Why Exercise?

Exercise Improves Brain Power

Recent evidence has shown that exercise can improve your memory and ability to think. This is thought to be as exercise reduces inflammation and stimulates the release of growth factors. These growth factors improve the health of new brain cells and increase the growth of blood vessels in the brain. As a result your cognitive ability improves.

Exercise reduces stress and anxiety

There are multiple studies to show that exercise improves mood, sleep and stress and anxiety. This is as when you exercise you produce positive endorphins which make you feel good.

People who exercise have bigger brains!

Research at Harvard university found that the volume of the prefrontal and medial temporal cortex (part of the brain that controls thinking and memory) of the brain was larger in people who exercised.

Exercise keeps you healthy

Exercise reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of developing diseases later in life.

Top tips on how to exercise and study for medical school

  1. Be organised

Medical school is hectic and the average day is never the same. So how are you able to exercise with such a demanding schedule? Be organised!

At the beginning of the week, write in your diary when you can fit in 3 or 4 sessions. Write down the time you are going to workout and what exercises you are going to complete. Plan your time carefully and adapt it to your schedule.

  1. Do not set unrealistic goals

If you only have an hour for lunch don’t plan to do a 45-minute workout in this hour. You will be more likely to burnout and give up more easily.

Similarly, if you have a long day don’t plan to do a long workout afterwards, choose a shorter workout or make that day your rest day! The recommended amount of exercise per day is only 30-45 minutes, so aim for this amount of time.

  1. Follow a guide or programme

This way your exercises are already planned for you so all you will have to do is set aside the time and complete the workout. There are lots of free workout plans on the internet to use.

  1. Make exercise part of your routine

They say it takes 3 months to make something a habit. So make exercise part of your weekly routine and soon you won’t have to force yourself to go to the gym. You wouldn’t put off studying (well most of the time) why stop yourself from exercising?

  1. Exercise with friends

Exercising with a friend is more likely to make you committed to workout. Or attend a class.

  1. Fit fitness into your day

Walk to university instead of getting the bus. Take the stairs. Little changes can make a big difference.

  1. Home Workouts

Do your workouts at home. Most online guides use little to no equipment. It’s cheaper than a gym membership and you don’t have to travel anywhere to workout. You also don’t have to worry about what you wear!

  1. Enjoy it!

Exercise has multiple benefits and there are many ways that you can exercise. Whether it’s resistance training, weight training, running, swimming or dance choose a style of exercising that you love and you will be less likely to give up!


About the author

My name is Sophia, I am in my first year at medical school. Prior to starting medical school I achieved a BSc in Clinical Science. I work part time as a lifeguard and swim teacher, and also have an instagram page @babydoctor_  that follows my fitness journey. I’m passionate about promoting health and well being!


Instagram: @babydoctor_



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