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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Campus Guide: Going to the gym is good for both body and brain

    Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.

    Dear UA students, if you want to achieve academic success, you should work on those six-pack abs. Well, you don’t need to go that far, but you should exercise regularly.

    A common saying among professors is that 90 percent of getting an “A” is showing up and paying attention, and that is largely true. Classes can be boring, though, and showing up, let alone paying attention, will present a monumental challenge to many of you. Exercise is a great natural way to boost your energy levels and help you focus. On the most basic level, this works by helping you reduce stress, which in turn allows you to get higher-quality sleep.

    Getting quality sleep is almost impossible if you’re always stressed out, and unfortunately, it will not always be clear that stress is what is preventing you from getting a good night’s rest. Often times in college, things are moving so quickly that there will be seldom enough time to stop and realize that you might be overstressed.

    This is because stress manifests itself in many different ways: low energy, feeling overwhelmed, depression, upset stomach, muscle and joint pain, pessimism, etc., and some of those manifestations are not always associated with stress. If you have a persistent stomach ache, you might just assume that you need to change something in your diet, or if you have joint pain, perhaps you might feel the need to see a chiropractor. Sometimes, the root cause of such ailments is stress, and most minor stresses can be easily alleviated with consistent exercise.

    A recent study by Purdue University showed that students who worked out at their campus gym at least once a week had higher average GPAs than those who did not. That same study also showed an improvement in the average GPA of students who went more than once a week.

    This is not to say that one can just work out all day and get a 4.0. In fact, it might be that those students who go the gym and get good grades are just more proactive in general. But by balancing healthy activities such as working out with studying, you are teaching yourself valuable time management skills.

    Of course, many of you reading this might be saying: I have incredible management skills; I get straight As and party every night! Woot woot!

    There are students that do that and, more often than not, those students burn-out. And, in fact, there is an inverse relationship between alcohol intake and GPA. That is not to say that you should only study and exercise, but that making those two things a consistent part of your life, while limiting the activities that carry obvious bad effects (drinking alcohol excessively, doing drugs, being a couch potato, etc.) will have positive physical, mental and academic effects.

    College is an expensive endeavor, not an expensive vacation. Take it seriously by making sure to take care of yourself and your prospects for success will seriously improve. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that in addition to regularly studying (and showing up to class and paying attention), you exercise. Luckily for UA students, part of your tuition fees go toward your membership to arguably the most impressive student recreation center in the country.

    Vince is a junior in philosophy, politics, economic and law. Follow him @DailyWildcat

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