Monday, January 9, 2012
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to study better? Or do better in classes? How can you do this? One way is to study smarter! According to an article in the Huffington Post, it is recommended that students take mental breaks approximately every 45 minutes. This is due to the fact that the brain is only able to maintain true focus for around 45 minutes before it begins to lose steam. Therefore it would be wise practice to study diligently for up to an hour and then take a break. Breaks consist of leaving the work area to go outside, talk to a friend on the phone, or get a healthy snack. Taking a break does not entail checking one’s e-mail or Twitter account. A break is considered something that truly takes you out of your academic realm and into places where you're in a more relaxed state.
Procrastinating makes taking breaks very hard. Rather than having plenty of time to do what needs to be done, procrastinators choose to wait until the last minute to “cram” everything they need to do in and put all other aspects of life to the side. This is not only going to be detrimental to one’s studying ability, but it is also an unhealthy habit for the body. In these high-intensity study situations, students sometimes put recommended nutrition to the side, they been inactive for extended periods of time and they demand more than they should of their memory. While this practice may have been a success for a few exams, there are healthier ways to study. By taking a mental break every 45-50 minutes and not placing high demands on your mind, you will be less stressed and more ready for any academic endeavor. So when you’re studying, remember to take a break and plan out your studying so you have enough time for breaks.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Crunches, sit ups, planks; just some of the many abdominal exercises we do daily in an effort to achieve the coveted “six pack”. According to an article in the New York Times, researchers at Indiana State University are questioning if the crunches are really worth it. It was previously thought that a stronger core will improve your overall physical performance, but after conducting a fitness test, results showed no correlation “between robust core muscles and athleticism”. This finding was counteracted by another study conducted by the Dept. of Sports and Exercise Sciences at Barry University. Novice adult runners with weak core strength showed a decrease in their 5K running times after completing six weeks of core drills versus those who did not focus on their abdominal strength.
So what’s the verdict? Researchers aren’t saying to completely nix your ab workout, but potentially tone it down. Repeated bending of the spine during sit ups and crunches can lead to serious spinal issues and contributes to damage of the spinal discs. Brad Schoenfeld, a professor of exercise science at Lehman College in the Bronx, states that six to eight crunches a few times a week is enough, but what is most important is that you are performing them correctly. Schoenfeld recommends placing your hands, palm down beneath your lower back to lessen spinal pressure, and whatever you do, don’t flatten your back. Proceed by lifting your shoulders only slightly off the ground. So what is the trick to getting those super star six pack abs without crunches? Low-body fat, but that will take a little more than a few sit-ups to achieve.
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