Dance it Off

1 May

During finals we all tend to focus so hard on maximizing our studying, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Most students suffer from a lack of sleep, sugar highs from processed snacky foods, and a loss of motivation to be active. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising are all essential to keep your mind healthy and fuel your brain. Although it’s hard to get motivation to work out, when you’re stressed and trying to cram in as much information into your brain as possible, exercise will make your studying more efficient. Activity can give you energy, improve your attention, increase how quickly you can process information, and allow you to better perform cognitive tasks. Exercise increases the hormone epinephrine that circulates through your system. Epinephrine is responsible for an increase in awareness so it can improve your concentration. Taking twenty minutes to get up and move will be more beneficial for your studying than an extra twenty minutes of rushed stressful studying.

Part of gaining motivation to work out is enjoying the workout you choose. I get bored of routine workouts so I’m always looking for new exercises. I dance, run, follow workout videos, and take different classes. I found a coupon for a class pass that really helped me expand my exercise routines. It let me take Jazzercise, yoga, boot camp, and Capoeira classes.

Capoeira has been a really fun experience because I learned new exercises, met new people, and even learned about a different culture. Capoeira is a Brazilian form of martial arts. It incorporates elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. Once performers specialize in the movements they will enter a circle with an opponent and participate in a sort of game with each other. Performers use the techniques to go after and dodge their opponents. It’s a form of self-defense where you can avoid the kicks and swings of your opponent but also combat them.

The first class I had no idea what to expect. Most of the other classmates had taken previous classes and were in Capoeira attire. This consists of long, light, baggy pants, a tight shirt, and a belt. We started out with a few basic moves and then within 20 minutes were practicing choreographed techniques across the room. We had to do cartwheels into lunges, balance, in a hand stand, do lunges into fan kicks, and do quick dynamic maneuvers on our hands and feet. Needless to say, after introducing my body to these new movements I was extremely sore for a few days after taking the class. I’ve gone back and learned a lot from the teachers and students as well. Everyone was very helpful and wanted to teach me new techniques. I felt immediately welcomed into their community and had a fun time learning about the history of Capoeira.

The moral of the story is get up and move because you can gain so much from activity. Whether it’s swimming, running, taking a Zumba class, or doing pushups in your bedroom, exercise can do wonders for your body, health, and your mind. If you find something you love you can turn working out from being a chore into a desire. Change up your routine and figure out what workouts are best for you. You will hopefully find a way to relieve stress, improve focus, and feel energized and happy. Give it a try and see how a little exercise before studying makes you feel.

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