Sitting at a computer, e-mailing your tutor, having a Skype call, or word-processing your latest TMA can be key parts of your distance learning courses. In many ways, learning remotely is perfectly flexible – you can do what you need to do, when you need to do it, from anywhere, if you have a good internet connection. However, it is easy to get caught up in the moment, to sit hunched over without taking breaks, and this is not that healthy – your body will get grumpy if it doesn’t get the exercise it needs.
As a freelancer, I know how it can be easy to sit at a computer and forget about moving. I make myself move, though, and realise that the benefits are massive. One thing that helps is building activities into a daily routine. I enjoy running – sometimes just a few miles, but other times, further. For me, it can help to go in the morning as I find it sets me up for the day and clears my mind (sorry, a bit cliched, I know, but true!). Other times, I run at the end of a long day. If you are new to such physical activity, setting yourself targets can be helpful. Start small and build up to longer distances. Having a manageable target is good and gives you a sense of achievement, too – something to tick off on that list!
If you are not a runner, and obviously not everyone is, walking is great, too. It might be a stroll around your favourite wood, re-connecting with nature; or, to your friend’s house 15 minutes down the road. It’s better than asking for a lift – and walking can help you to sort out some problems you might be having, such as if you are struggling with an assignment. If you prefer travelling about on two wheels, hop on your bike – feel the wind in your hair and expend some energy, whether you live in the countryside or the city.
Now, whatever you do, it is always important to be safe. Tell someone where you are going. Avoid going out when it’s dark, particularly if you are on your own. When you set yourself small targets, there is a lovely feeling when you achieve these. It is best to be realistic – so don’t say you are going to walk 10 miles a day if there is little chance of this as you might feel let down if you don’t achieve such a target.
The bottom line in this so called study “survival of the fittest”, then? Essentially, getting outside and exercising can help with mental and emotional strength – and fresh air, as well as Vitamin D, is brilliant for helping you to feel good and think clearly, which makes for better work. So, what are you waiting for? Slip on your trainers, pull on your wellies or jump on your bike. You won’t regret it!