“Welcome to college, please have a seat.”
We sit in class to take notes or engage in discussions. We sit while writing papers. We sit while studying for quizzes and exams. And we sit for those, too. A typical person sits for 9.3 hours per day. That means most of us sit more than we sleep.
Prolonged sitting has detrimental health effects on the body and weakens the mind’s ability to focus. You can improve your academic performance and your health by making a habit of standing up and moving when you can. Maybe you can’t do that in the classroom, but you can when you are studying or writing.
What does sitting do that is so bad? Biologically, sitting sets of a cascade of events. Your fat metabolism drops by 90%. Your blood sugar rises. Anxiety levels increase. Neck pain, shoulder pain, and lower back pain becomes common. Less blood flows to our brains, and our ability to stay on mental tasks weakens.
Movement might be the most under-estimated tool to boost mental performance. When studying or working on a computer, set a timer to go off every 15 minutes so you can stand up. If you can’t stand, raise your arms over your head repeatedly for about 15 seconds. Take walk for one minute every 30 minutes, even if you just pace in a room. Walk for five minutes for every hour you sit. These will help reset and offset the negative consequences of sitting.
I have written elsewhere about the brain benefits of regular physical activity. Stand and move whenever possible. You will think better and feel better.