Many students end up making the tempting mistake of having poor eating habits when preparing for finals. They turn to junk food like cookies, chips and milk chocolate and chug down energy drinks to try to keep energy levels up. These kind of habits can be harmful to your long-term health as well as your performance in exams.
Students have said they believe college is stressful and finals tend to be the times when students are stressed the most. This stress spurs them to turn to stress-eating and other unhealthy ways to cope. While stress in college is inevitable, eating healthy and exercising can help you better deal with stress.
It’s important for students to eat a well-balanced diet. Well-balanced diets result in your body being able to function better and allows your metabolism, a chemical process to help break down food, to work easier. Eating a good breakfast is key because it kickstarts the metabolism.
According to Alton Quiring, junior in nutritional sciences, it’s essential to keep your metabolism working by eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day.
Quiring said brain foods like eggs, vegetables, fruits, coffee, nuts and seeds, fish, whole grains and dark chocolate enhance brain power and keep the mind fresh.
There are certain foods that should be considered to be consumed right before taking a final. Quiring said students should eat something nutrient-dense like proteins and fats, but not too much in quantity; when you eat too much your body will be too focused on digesting that food.
“You will have that too-full feeling and won’t be able to focus properly,” Quiring said.
When your body is digesting food, less blood will be transferred to your brain and your fullest potential of brain power will not be reached. Quiring said he recommends eating candy during the test because you’ll get a burst of energy from the miniature sugar rush.
When students eat poorly it ends up affecting their ability to be alert because their bodies will be tired from not being properly nourished, Quiring said.
On top of eating well, students should also consider doing certain exercises or even just exercising in general to have a better chance of performing well on exams.
Taylor Sweet, freshman in kinesiology, said it is recommended to be active for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. Physical activity can help you channel your stress away from the tedious daily tasks and can help you focus when it comes time to study.
Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous or part of a training guide to run a marathon. There are two categories of exercise that can help with stress: aerobic and relaxation. Aerobic exercises include running, skipping and actions that get your heart rate pumping. Relaxing exercises include practicing yoga and breathing techniques or meditation, Sweet said.
Aubrey Dunker, freshman in entrepreneurship, is an avid yogi and said she highly recommends it to others because it helps to look inside and ground yourself and creates headspace for flowing of knowledge.
Practicing yoga for just 10 minutes a day gives you the mindset to relax and is easier to focus. Some good yoga poses include child’s pose, for bringing back the calm emotion, hip openers for relieving stress and shoulder stretches because the neck tends to tense up and hold stress, Dunker said.
“Exercise could be anything like walking around campus for 10 to 15 minutes,” Andrew Nation, sophomore in athletic training, said. “Just give yourself a break from the books every once and awhile.”
Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. It’s completely necessary to stay hydrated when preparing for finals. Water supports a healthy brain and body. Proper hydration helps you digest your food and increases your feeling of being full, Quiring said.
If students are looking to be successful while taking finals they should consider eating well, practicing these exercises and staying hydrated. May the finals be ever in your favor.