Get study fit with these easy exercises

Simple exercises to help you get in the zone while you study
This easy exercise plan, put together by SUSF Exercise Physiologist Carmel Dimarco, will help you to get the most out of your study session. You can do most of these exercises at the library, or even at your desk.

It’s STUVAC, and you really need to cram. You’re well equipped with coffee and study snacks – you’re in for the long haul, there’s no time to take breaks now. Right?

According to Faculty of Health Sciences alumna Carmel Dimarco (Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Exercise Physiology) 2014), this is not a good plan. “Hours of study and prolonged sitting will decrease your ability to focus – your core will become disengaged, you’ll have shallow and ineffective breathing, and you could start to feel stressed or anxious,” she says.

“Plus, if we don’t have our muscles switched on and working to support our body, they will become weak,” Carmel adds. “This will lead to nasty compensations that the body will make to move or hold your body.”

These exercises are simple and effective – and the best part? You don’t even need to leave your study spot.

Sit to stands

Sit at the edge of your seat, with your ankles in line with your knees. Engage your core, glutes and quads and slowly stand up pushing through your heels. As you stand, raise your arms out in front of you to shoulder height. Slowly lower your hips back down to the seat, bend your knees keeping them straight over your toe line, make contact with your seat and repeat. Aim for 10 repetitions.

Wall push-ups

Stand an arm’s length away from a wall and place your hands on the wall just below shoulder height. Keep your knees gently bent and lower your chest to meet the wall, then engage the chest muscles and front shoulder muscles to push out again. Keep your elbows below the shoulder height. Do 10 repetitions. 


Find a nearby step and place your right foot on it. Put your body weight onto your right heel and squeeze your right quad and glute, as you bring your left foot up to the step. Step down with your left foot and repeat 5 times. Then it’s time to swap legs!

Calf raises

Stand tall with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Keep your knees gently bent and back straight. Raise your heels off the floor by pressing your toes into the ground. Bring your heels as high off the floor as you can, contract the calf muscles and slowly lower your heels back down. Repeat for 10 repetitions.  

Ankle, wrist, neck and shoulder rolls

Slowly roll your ankles, wrists, neck and shoulders in all directions aiming to get as much range as you can through the joints. Try to do this regularly throughout your study session – you don’t even need to stop typing! 

Standing or seated glute squeeze

Person doing glute squeezes

You can do this exercise from a standing or seated position. The glutes are the muscles on the back of the hips. To switch them on, gently squeeze the muscles together and think about clenching the buttocks muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat for 10 contractions.  

Seated core holds

Person doing seated core holds



Sit at the front of your seat with your ankles in line with your knees, and raise your arms to shoulder height. Squeeze your core muscles and lean your upper body back to 45 degrees. Keep your lower back flat and hold for 5 seconds, then return to an upright position while keeping your core engaged. Repeat for 5 rounds.

12 June 2018

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