Healthy routine balances studies, stress
April has arrived and the semester is coming to a close, which means finals are just around the corner.
Students are starting to encounter the beginning of a chain of stressful days. Feeling extreme stress can lead to overlooking regular exercise routines and developing unhealthy eating habits — both of which can be counterproductive to retaining the information students will study.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, learning and retaining information can be affected by physical activity, and maintaining regular exercise routines is important. Even fitting in a brisk walk for 15 to 30 minutes can benefit brain activity.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also said students’ ability to recall information can be positively affected by consuming dark vegetables, berries or cherries and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Pre-business sophomore Kourtelynne Smith shared her healthy habits when preparing for exams.
“My go-to snack is frozen blueberries or grapes. The coldness of them also helps me focus, and I feel like I retain more of what I am reading,” Smith said. “They’re low-calorie, so I don’t feel guilty eating them, and they don’t make me feel lethargic like most sweet things do.”
When it’s test time, it’s important to feel as confident and comfortable as possible.
Like Smith, biology freshman Tina Suki explained how her comfort plays an important role on test days.
“I always keep away from really heavy foods,” Suki said. “I like to stick to fresh foods, so I know that I will be comfortable and be focused on my test — not discomfort.”
In addition to regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University has also shown that caffeine — about one to two cups of coffee or tea — can actually enhance memory.
Suki and Smith described how caffeine benefits them just before a test.
“On test days, I always make sure to drink coffee because, whether or not it is a placebo, it makes me feel more alert,” Suki said.
When Smith feels stressed about an exam, she grabs a glass of tea to calm down and regain focus.
As the end of the semester approaches, it is easy to let the stress of finals get the best of you.
However, it is important to incorporate healthy eating habits, exercise and, if necessary, caffeine in moderation.