Beyond the Physical: The Benefits of Exercise
- By Morgan Horton
- March 10, 2021
Whether you are just now finishing your second semester of college or you are finally winding down your last, there is a simple solution to setting yourself up for success in the classroom: sweating. Committing time to sweating regularly helped me thrive in the school & I want to share a little about why Fly is the perfect community to get your sweat on!
As an instructor whose primary job for 27 years has been “student”, I’ve had a lot of practice at late-night study sessions, last-minute assignments & long hours of test taking. As I prepare for my own final graduation and entrance into “the real world”, I can’t help but pay tribute to a place that has truly carried me through it all: Fly | A Fitness Revolution.
Fly opened its doors my first year of dental school – a year I now recognize as one of the most overwhelming, demanding & challenging times of my educational career. At the end of a day chalk full of lectures, I found that I could barely keep the thoughts in my head straight. I needed an outlet to restore my sanity in order to power through the late night of studying ahead. I often turned to working out.
I attempted time & time again to drag myself to different weight rooms & gyms before Fly. I found that I simply did not have the brain power to crank out a productive & effective workout on my own. I had to take precious time to plan what exercise I was going to do that day, what music I was going to listen to, what areas I was going to work. I constantly had to think: “How many reps was that?”, “Should I be lifting this much?”, “Am I doing this right?” & “Why the heck are they playing country music here?!”. I often walked into the gym hoping to feel revitalized for my evening ahead of studying & more often than not, I walked out having every bit of energy drained. Enter: Fly | A Fitness Revolution.
Walking into Fly for the first time, the energy basically smacked me right in the face. Blaring through the speakers was Fetty Wap’s latest 2015 banger & the whole time there was not even a glimmer of a country tune. I was introduced to Fly by a dental school friend & amazing gal pal, Frannie Hollinger. We quickly realized that this was the environment we needed to help us be at the top of our game in school. The environment, the positivity & the permission to just get into a class & sweat (like lots of sweat) without having to think about it was a true gift to us busy students. Clipping in, turning off our brains & absorbing the pure energy from bumping sprints to impactful hills became the antidote for our tired minds. Needless to say, with both Frannie & I becoming instructors not too long after that, we had found a home at Fly.
And science explains why Frannie & I felt a connection with Fly the first time we took a class. While you probably have learned in school that your heart, your lungs & your muscles all benefit greatly from exercise, so does your brain! Harvard Health Publishing reports that your education will truly benefit from dedicating some of your precious time to sweating regularly. Researchers have found that regular aerobic (read: cardio) exercise has been shown to increase the size of your hippocampus – a part of your brain that majorly contributes to learning & memories. Consistent heart-pounding, blood-pumping exercise increases chemicals that promote the survival & growth of brain cells. More brain cells = more effective studying = more A’s!
Even better… a controlled study out of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that participation in group fitness classes (read: that 6:30 am cycle class with one of your best pals) can lead to statistically significant increases in physical, mental & emotional quality of life & decreased stress compared to individual exercise. Group fitness not only improves your physical well-being but greatly contributes to your emotional well-being and stress levels. Less stress = happier person = better student!
While I cannot directly correlate my success in dental school and, now, orthodontic residency, with the fact that I consistently participated in group fitness classes 3 to 4 times a week, I can certainly say that it did not hurt my education. While in the crunch of finals week, you may try and convince yourself that a nap or an extra hour of reading will help you change your grade from a B to a B+, however, take a minute to remember how beneficial a good sweat can be for you mind… and then sign up for a class!
Education is a huge investment that most people make in their lifetime. If you are currently a student, it is your job to protect and make the most of that investment by investing in yourself. Signing up for group fitness classes that allow you to show up, give your brain that much needed time off & leave you with that amazing post-sweat feeling, all while improving your brain’s ability to memorize & learn will pay dividends come graduation time. Fly could, and should, be that investment. I promise you, your grades will thank you.
Anna Schoettger is a long-time cycle instructor at Fly & current orthodontic resident at UNMC. You can ride with Anna in her weekly cycle45 morning classes Monday & Wednesday each week at NOLNK.