No doubt, studying and doing well in school is one of our main priorities for at least the first 18 years of our lives. This may have initially been encouraged by our parents, which we will also be unabashedly passed down to our next of kin, but ultimately all of us want to make the most of our years at school because it will help us fulfill our goals in life. While we know that education is the key to future opportunities, what else can we do to supplement our education in order to maximize our learning potential, output, and results? The answer lies in one of the many academic research studies that have found evidence of a link between exercise and a boost in academic results.
1) Form habits of excellence
Success starts with believing in yourself. With martial arts, you will always be striving to be 1% better than yesterday and be goal-orientated in learning new techniques and mastering old ones. In the same way, hours of hard work need to be put into progressing to the next level in martial arts, succeeding in your studies is equally based on the commitment you put into it.
By doing martial arts, you will be replicating the positive mindset and attitudes of doing well in studying. The habits you will pick up such as not giving up and repeating drills until you know them by heart will be easily transferred from the gym to your study desk. These habits of excellence that martial arts promote will lead you to study more consciously and effectively.
2) Gain a clearer perspective
Too much of any one thing is not good for you, and that includes studying. This isn’t to say that you mustn’t study your hardest and put in hours of dedication into understanding content and revision, but every so often a break is necessary so that your brain does not get bogged down with masses of information for extended periods of time, which can be counter-productive.
Martial arts will help clear your perspective as soon as you place your first foot inside the gym. The aura is different to that of your bedroom, library, or local café; whichever your study location preference is, a martial arts gym will be loud with focus, filled with determined energy, and full of humility and respect between the instructors and other students. While you’re at the martial arts gym, you will allow your studies to settle within the depths of your head and place aside the pressures of getting through another two textbooks and a mock exam before class tomorrow morning. The focus now is to acquire skills in Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that will help in many other aspects of your life too. After an hour of letting your mind follow instructions and focus on physical activity, it will be revived – partly due to the endorphins released, but mainly because you gave yourself a well-deserved break and took some focus away from studying for a short time.
Continuously taking an hour out of your day to attend a martial arts class, whenever you are able to fit it in, will definitely help to balance your life and gain a clearer perspective on your studies. After all, exercise not only builds your fitness, it also boosts your brain power, which correlates to doing better in school.
3) Stress relief
Synonymous with gaining a clearer perspective, knowing how to relieve stress is important in helping with studies. The last thing we want during examination time is to let stress and anxiety overwhelm us. Martial arts is highly regarded as an effective way of reducing stress levels. During a term or semester, stress levels vary much like a trigonometry graph – constant high, low, and neutral stages. But adding martial arts classes into your routine can help you deal with stress better, and perhaps even lower your stress levels when they are at their peak.
Martial arts, and the gym itself, provides a sanctuary for stress relief by physically and mentally distancing you from the stresses of studying. Training and practicing drills will force you to clear your mind and focus your attention on the martial arts class. In addition to focusing your mind and body, martial arts classes will also teach you to focus on your breathing. The better you breathe, the more relaxed you will be, and as a result, the less stress you will feel, even after leaving the gym.
A calm mind is a key deterrent for stress. Choose a martial arts style that delivers the highest stress relief for you personally – whether that be tackling it head-on with Muay Thai or problem-solving with BJJ – or better yet, both!
4) Maintain good posture
The amount of hours we will spend sitting in front of a desk to study or work over the course of our lifetime is alarming, and we need to ensure that our posture is not forsaken due to this. Inherently, some of us have bad posture, and it can be exacerbated by slouching in our chairs attempting to learn, or sitting on public desks that don’t allow us to adjust the height (libraries are a big culprit of this). You will find that with bad posture, you will not be able to stay focused on studying for long periods of time before your neck, shoulders, and back begin to ache, and this affects the quality of your studying in the short and long-term.
Researchers have found that posture can affect our decision-making subconsciously, where having good posture led to the research participants feeling more successful and in control. These factors improve our ability to relax and focus on problems. Martial arts helps to maintain good posture with effective warm-ups that stretch your body, and every form emphasizes on keeping a straight, or at least balanced, and flexible back. You will feel yourself walking lighter and taller after each martial arts class since you are naturally working your core strength with any martial arts movement and this tends to carry over into your posture outside of class.
Even if you are already excelling in your studies, try out a martial arts class and see for yourself the difference it can make to your mental and physical balance. It can give you an extra boost in your studies, and may even make studying more enjoyable when you have your next martial arts class to look forward to. Try out a class today!