September is “Self-Improvement Month,” so Allied American University is providing some information on topics that we hope you find helpful to become a better student!
Simple Steps to Improve Your Performance
Many of our students work full-time, whether at a paying job, as a parent or caretaker. A common theme that we hear among prospective students is, “How can I finish my schoolwork while having other obligations?” Do you find yourself drained of energy by the time you get home and log onto your computer? You’re not alone. Feeling tired after a day of work is a challenge that many of us face. Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to help counter that voice in your head that says, “Oh, you can get to that project tomorrow…” We know the fact is that if you don’t get to the project today, procrastination will set in and you’ll end up waiting until the eleventh hour. It’s time to break the cycle of exhaustion and procrastination!
You Get Out What You Put In
What is fuel? Fuel is a material that stores “potential energy” that can eventually be released. The type of fuel needed to power a race car is much more potent than what is required to run a Honda Civic. Our bodies are no different. Your body’s form of fuel is food. If you feed your body junk, it’s going to feel sluggish and low on energy.
Our bodies work similar to how a car functions. As a car gets driven around, miles begin to accumulate, and it begins to experience some regular wear-and-tear. After 3,000 miles (or every three months) it needs to receive an oil change. Not doing so can lead your engine to burn out. Our bodies work the same way. If we don’t take care of them, they too can ultimately burn out!
Your body and brain are interconnected. Have you ever felt “butterflies in your stomach” before a job interview or a big test? That’s one example of how a little bit of nervousness can manifest itself into a physical feeling. In order to help your body and mind work together at their best, it’s vital that you feed your body properly. Here are a few suggestions for some great “brain food”:
· Blueberries – These berries are packed with antioxidants. According to some lab studies on aging rats, they found that diets rich in blueberries helped improve their learning capacity and motor skills. Try incorporating a cup of blueberries into your daily diet!
· Salmon – Try having at least 4 ounces a couple times per week to get your brain the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids salmon contains.
· Leafy Greens and Vegetables – Don’t skip the salads… Enjoy daily servings of leafy greens and veggies in order to get your brain the necessary antioxidants it needs to protect it. A study of over 13,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School found that those who ate more leafy greens and vegetables lowered their brain’s age by 1 to 2 years. (Source: Prevention.com – “The Best Foods For Your Brain”)
Five Minutes to Kick Start Your Brain
Eating right is the first key component to improve your mental performance. The next step is to give yourself a high-octane boost, and best of all, it only takes a few minutes! You don’t have to spend an hour in the gym in order to receive the overwhelming benefits of exercise… Five minutes is all you need to begin. Now, if you’re looking to lose some excess weight – sure, you’ll want to put in some more time. If you’re looking for that mental edge, however, just five minutes of cardio can do some great things for your mental clarity, focus, and memory.
The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study showing that running for only five minutes a day helped to tremendously improve mental function. (Source: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/203/4/245.short) The study analyzed students who had learning disabilities, and wanted to see if there would be an improvement in their performance by simply adding cardio to their routine. The results were so astounding that schools have begun adding early morning exercise as part of their curriculum to help improve student performance.
So, now you've got some action items to implement. What do you do now? The first step is to simply get started! Leave your workout clothes next to your bed, that way as soon as you wake up you can’t miss them! When you start, knock out five minutes of running… That’s it. Are you feeling too out-of-shape to run? Start out by walking at a brisk pace. You’ll still notice an effect on your mental wellbeing. As you gain strength, your endurance will build, and you’ll notice that you can go for longer periods of time. Please be sure to consult a medical doctor before beginning an exercise routine to be sure that you are healthy enough for physical activity.
We hope that these few tips can help you feel better and boost your performance as you pursue your goals through Allied American University!