As you begin law school you will face some of your toughest academic challenges yet. And unless you are one of the lucky few (I was not) who can get by on 6 hours or less of sleep (which I don’t recommend trying in law school), it will be exhausting and stressful. This is a perfect time in your life to continue any exercise routines that you have been doing, and if you don’t have one, then there is no better time to start.
If you are like me, exercise is not optional. I played soccer year round growing up, started running when I was 12 and as soon as I could drive, added in some aerobics and “abs” classes. I did my reading in college on the elliptical. Even in law school, I could usually fit in a nice long run. The year after law school I ran my first marathon. I’m not suggesting here that you should replace sleep with exercise. This post is intended for people who are getting at least 7 hours of regular sleep at night.
While it might seem like life cannot get busier, throw in a husband or wife, a child or more than one. Next add a 2,000 hour billable requirement (you are in law school after all). Believe me, make exercise a priority now so that it is a part of your routine before other obstacles make it impossible.
I realize that you may already be juggling work and law school and/or relationships with loved ones or even children. This means hours of classes every week, a mountain of assigned reading, then there’s briefing each case and preparing for classes, and outlining plus saving what little time you have left for personal and/or work obligations. I am not saying it is easy to fit it in, but if you need more convincing, here are 10 reasons why an exercise routine will improve your life during law school:
Exercise will give you more energy.
If exercise is something new, be careful to do the right kind of exercise to give your body more energy rather than deplete the energy you have. A 10-15 minute walk may be just what you need. If you are used to exercising and cannot find time for a full work out try a mini cardio or boot camp work out. Never fear if you cannot make it to a gym, stream these workouts On Demand for a good home work out.
Exercise will improve your mood.
Wash away tension and bring in the positive thoughts. Prolonged strenuous exercise causes your body to release endorphins, that can improve your mood. Anyone including myself who has ever been a runner can vouch for this “runner’s high.” It is better than a nap or any caffeinated beverage (well almost). Start with a walk as suggested above, and build up to running.
Exercise promotes better sleep.
You probably know by now how valuable sleep is in law school. I am not saying that just because you start exercising you will sleep better tonight. However, studies have shown that a regular exercise routine improves both the quantity and quality of sleep over time.
Exercises improves overall health.
Getting a cold or the flu during law school means missed classes, using someone else’s notes and/or catching up on additional assigned reading, while staying on top of new assignments and outlining. Exercise can help you stay healthy and also reduces your risk of many chronic diseases.
Exercise can prevent or solve back problems.
There is no way to avoid sitting for long periods during law school (unless you have a treadmill desk). You will be attending hours of classes in addition to reading and studying. A wide range of exercises can target your core and back muscles to prevent any back pain from prolonged sitting (and studying).
Exercise improves brain function.
Exercise is good for your brain. Say no more. We all need our brains to work as efficiently and effectively as possible in law school. Maybe your exercise routine will give you a photographic memory to help you remember all those case findings and new rules.
Exercise burns calories.
This one might seem obvious but I’m guessing you may be eating a few more midnight snacks than usual during law school (and it might not always be the healthiest choice). Find out how many calories you are burning here. Now you can and enjoy those Doritos or chocolate chip cookies guilt free (or closer anyway).
Exercise can improve your sex life.
This one may not be on the top of your list in law school, but your loved ones will appreciate this one. Being more energized and in shape will increase your sexual desire, and increased circulation will improve your satisfaction. Sex can also be a full body work out.
Exercise is fun.
We all know you need some fun in law school. Yes, I know there’s always Thursday night socials with drinks and dancing. That is good too but might put more of a damper on your Friday study goals. Why not take a dance or yoga class, hit the trails for a hike (try a full moon hike if you want to fit in your studying first) or take a walk with a friend (see number two above). For more suggestions on how to fit exercise into your already busy schedule see this post.
You will lower your stress level.
Having more energy, getting better sleep, being in a better mood, being healthier and having fun will all make you less stressed as you continue your law school journey.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- How Being a Law Student and Functional Human Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive – Take Care of Yourself
- Lessons From My 1L Year: Have Fun
- Let’s Talk About Sleep
- Can Meditation Help You be More Productive and Effective?
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