Is it better to exercise before doing homework, or after?

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It depends, of course.

If you have a final in three hours that you've hardly studied for, you have no business going to the gym.

But if you're on top of your game as far as time management goes, a work-out can get the brain juices going, and can help you to study for effectively.  

Study until you start losing the ability to concentrate, then go excercise until you reach the point of technical failure. Then go back to studying. Repeat as necessary, until you finish or fall over. Got me a 3.9 GPA and killer definition.

I could do that if that was the workout I schedule. I actually just for now work out thrice a week and for 15 minutes. Being an Engineering major doesn't leave you a lot of time for things so I needed some way to sort of build myself backup. I don't workout to get ripped, and I don't really pay attention to definition. To me definition made by laying brick and mortar is better than definition by pumping iron at a gym. I'd need the muscles I have to do things like ride my motorcycle easier, or be able to chop wood for long periods of time. Also I don't save my studying for a certain block of the day I treat it as work like during the summer I try to "work" from 9-5. I don't like cramming all my studying into a small period of time, but I do studying in increments usually I am good for about an hour then I break for about 15.

When I was getting my engineering degree I would take yoga or weight lifting courses so that I could not excuse my way out of doing them.  I would go to bed early and get up at 3 when the area was quite after a good nights rest.  A cup of tea with my studies.  You need to know how you learn and figure that out fast.  Exercise is a great stress management tool and worth the time as is going to club meetings.  The club meetings will give you people to talk to which also helps deal with the isolation one can feel when stressed.

That is personal.

After gets your blood flowing and helps one settle down.  Before is before you may tire yourself.

The other question is when to do home work.  Early morning or at the end of the day.  

It is a good question, but it is best answered by you after trying out different things.

I would suggest neither. Just make a workout part of your routine like eating. Especially true if you are in a high demanding courseload like engineering. I've done both a pharmacy and medical degree and my mistakes in the former helped me not repeat them for the latter. In my pharmacy degree I kept cutting back on exercise and other non-study activities feeling I couldn't justify the time yet despite studying longer, my productivity went down faster. For the med degree I kept exercise a part of my schedule and my routine varied depending on what I had available. In year one I was on campus so I was able to go to the school gym at 7am before I had class. In later years I was away from a gym so I did a no-gym workout in my kitchen before breakfast with pushups, crunches, etc (alternating with rope-skipping or running on alternate days).

of course it is. I believe any physical activity helps improve your focus. my son is enrolled in sports and fitness activities at Boys And Girls Clubs of Central Texas and i have seen remarkable improvement in his homework.

Sometimes circumstances make the question moot.  Back when I matriculated there was no problem.  State University, large campus, dorms at one end...library and classroom space for my major at the other end of campus.   Easy 5 miles a day walking or jogging because they didn't have a shuttle bus.

The best thing is to do two week long experiments. Exercise before studying for a week and then exercise after studying for a week. See which you prefer and stick with it. Beyond that there is no definite answer. Beyond that good luck with your studies and staying fit!

Nathan, my personal experience is that I can function well after working out because I am much calmer and better able to focus.  On the other hand, working out may exhaust you.  It really depends on how your body reacts. 

I would suggest, as others already have, trying some experiments.  When I was in college, I usually studied right when I woke up (if I didn't have class) or in the evening after a good workout.  It worked well for me as I graduated with a 3.9 GPA. 

During.

Have you heard of the serial position effect, if so then forgive me for explaining.

Which means things in the primacy and recency of your study session is better remembered then the middle.

So during the middle of your study session where your mind is at it's lowest, you exercise.

That's crazy you can't mix study and exercise is what you may be thinking but the truth is that it would be crazy not to. What's the point of studying during the intermediate if everything you learn is going to be forgotten anyways.

If for example your study session is 1 hr. Meaning your primacy, intermediate and recency each last for 20 minutes. Then you just wasted 20 minutes learning nothing when you could be doing literally anything else.

But What if you decided instead to exercise in the middle?

The above comes from the 4-Hour Chef where I learned this method.

Instead of taking a break and slacking, you could be exercising.

In your below post, you said that you exercise thrice a week for 15 minutes and you usually study for 1 hour before needing a fifteen minute break.

So that would be:

Primacy:30 min studying

Intermediate: 15 min exercise, 5 min break (cooldown period)

Recency: 30 min studying

This gives you the hour you usually use to study and the fifteen minutes of exercise. For a total of 1 hr 30 min session (10 minutes for bathroom breaks, to grab a snack, or anything else that might not be accounted for).

Customize to suit your needs.

A side effect of doing this is that you might find yourself exercising every time you study.


So what do you think Nathan? You're going to be taking breaks during your study period anyways, might as well exercise.

I like how this is explained. Since it's the summer I try to do work in the morning after breakfast because it helps me stay in the work mode I was in when I was contracting. Or I will study at night for a test, which does work well for me. 

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