Exercise and Passing the EPPP: Why you Should Include Exercise in your EPPP Study Schedule

In our last post, ‘How to prepare for the EPPP when You’re Not Feeling Motivated’, we gave you some tips to conquer tiredness, distractions, and lack of confidence. We also touched on the importance of resting your mind and body in the midst tackling your day of study.

Now that you’re feeling motivated to study, everything revolves around your EPPP study schedule. Studying is at the top of your to-do list. Perhaps it’s the only thing on your to-do list. Forget laundry, forget dishes, skip the shower, skip the gym, you need to use every ounce of your time in preparation for passing the EPPP, right?


Studying for a test like the EPPP takes time management. And when our schedules get full, the things that are less important to us get put lower on the priority list. You have probably heard yourself say many times “I don’t have time for that.” For many people who decide to stringently prioritize, the first routine to get sacrificed is exercise.

What many people don’t appreciate is that study time will be maximized later by exercising now.
A study published in September 2014 in Oxford’s ‘Journals of Gerontology, Cardiovascular Fitness and Cognitive Spatial Learning in Rodents and in Humans‘ explored the relationship between learning and aerobic exercise. People and rodents in two groups were tested on their ability to recall certain patterns, images and navigations. One group engaged in cardiovascular exercise and one did not. The study concluded that learning is enhanced when aerobic exercise is completed:

“[…] higher fitness levels show greater preservation of hippocampal volume, which is associated with more accurate and faster spatial memory and fewer episodes of forgetting.”

Running won’t make you smarter, but it will increase your study performance. Therefore, including exercise into your EPPP study schedule could actually help you better retain what you learn.

With Thanksgiving approaching, we can think of this principle in terms of eating. As everyone knows from experience, you can’t keep eating when you’re full. What you can do, however, is to let your stomach digest and rest and come back to the turkey later. Letting your body digest won’t make you a better eater but it will increase your ability to put more in your body.

In the same way, your brain also needs to be given breaks. (Read about the importance of rest in our earlier post, ‘The Archimedes Principle: Leveraging the Power of Rest‘). Getting away from the books and moving your body will optimize your ability to retain what you learn. The guys at Oxford Journal touched on this too:

“In their study, the authors showed that cardiovascular fitness is a causative factor in increasing hippocampal volume and is effective in reversing hippocampal volume loss in late adulthood, which is accompanied by improved spatial memory functions.”

By now you are either prepping for a work out or convincing yourself that you still don’t have time to exercise. If it helps, consider exercise a part of study. If nothing else, go for a quick walk. Remember, the thing about rest is that everything else swings from it. We don’t work “towards” rest; we work “from” it. So, get moving.

Further Reading


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