Balancing Academics and Fitness

Article By: Amelie dL.

Edited by: Meg B.

With the school’s impeccably high standards for academics and the continual encouragement of joining sports teams, Academics and Fitness are both aspects emphasized by ISM. The school strives to produce holistic students – both mentally and physically strong.

However, with the overwhelming surge of schoolwork and assessments these past few months, it can become difficult to find free time to exercise or stay fit. Although exercise has its physical benefits, we take for granted the fact that exercise can actually improve not only our physical health but our mental health as well!

According to TIME, exercising has a strong link towards effective learning habits. It was found that when one exercises, the blood flow to the brain helps in feeding new brain cells, thus bringing about better focus as well as accelerated learning. Additionally, a study at the University of British Columbia discovered that regular aerobic exercise assists in the growth of the brain’s hippocampus: the brain structure involved in one’s verbal memory and learning.

Furthermore, exercising regularly can help improve sleeping habits. If you have trouble sleeping due to stress, exercising for even a minimum of 10 minutes can help you sleep more effectively. With daily exercise, one’s sleep quality drastically develops as it increases time in the most significant sleep phase – deep sleep. In this phase, most changes occur such as boosting one’s immune system.

Finally, exercise can help maintain anxiety levels under control. Exercising brings about an increased concentration of the chemical norepinephrine, which moderates stress levels in our body!

Senior Rocio T. is a strong advocate of regular exercise. A cycling instructor for the studio Saddle Row, she is the prime example of an individual balancing exercise with one’s hectic schedule. “Spinning has become a way for me to unplug from the rest of the world for 45 minutes. It has become a sweaty sanctuary,” she says. “As cheesy as it sounds, spinning reminds me that I can put my mind over matter and conquer whatever personal goals I set for myself. Once I am able to release all my emotions from the day on the bike, I then am able to go home and focus. Also, when I’m busy I feel like I have less time to relax at home, thus I make sure to do my work first.” As for ways to manage her schedule, she comments that “it’s just the typical stuff you get reminded of all the time, like doing your homework on time and not leaving things to the last minute.”

With these numerous benefits to one’s mental state, this should surely encourage you to go out for a jog or work out in the gym after school- anything to keep you moving and your heart rate up.

As an added bonus, we’ve provided relatively easy exercises members of the ISM community can do during their free time:

After School Workout

20 crunches

15 push ups

30-second plank

15 squats

30-second wall sit

20 leg lifts


Weekend Workout

20 situps

20 push ups

45-second plank

20 squats

45-second wall sit

20 arm circles

15 frog jumps

30 calf raises

Keep in mind that these are merely suggestions that members of the ISM community can take towards having a more balanced lifestyle. If your schedule has no time to fit these workouts, there are a variety of ways to squeeze in a workout! Walking to school (instead of using a car), doing a wall sit while typing on your laptop, or stretching during study breaks can prove to be effective as well!