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Student Ivan Jia after finishing a Melbourne Marathon

1 February 2023

‘Focus and self-discipline’: student Ivan explains how taking up running has improved his studies

We all know that exercise is good for us but, despite our best intentions, finding time to be active can be a struggle. Many of us are balancing studies with work, family and social commitments. And with exams just around the corner, you’re probably getting ready to hunker down for some serious study sessions.

That said, it is well established exercise can boost our cognitive functioning and fortify our wellbeing so it’s important to find ways to keep moving every day for optimal health, just like we would commit to a study routine. 

Finding an activity you enjoy is vital and it doesn’t have to be a big deal either. Committing to just 30 minutes of daily exercise – even incidental movements such as strolling around campus or parking further away and walking the last leg to your classes – can improve your energy levels, mood, sleep quality and study efforts, and hopefully spur you on to keep going with your new-found habit!

Need some inspiration to get moving?

We have lots of ways you can stay active at Deakin!

We’ll also be featuring stories about how Deakin students like to keep moving over the next couple of months, so stay tuned to Deakin Life! First up, we had a chat to Ivan Jia, a property and real estate student who enjoys running as a means of staying fit and focused on his studies, and who is part of the DUSA Running Club.

Meet Ivan

I love running and soccer to stay active. I started running only because I wanted to lose weight, but as time passed, running became a big part of my life. Overall, it has pushed me to be more self-disciplined and encouraged me to take on more challenges, like running my first marathon in 2022.

Running can be a lonely sport. But other runners can encourage you to challenge yourself, such as to reach longer distance or a faster pace. It’s always great to be able to have a chat with a group of friends during running, which is why I participate in the DUSA Runners Club at Deakin. 

Running definitely has a positive influence on study habits. I think sports and study supplement each other. Running can bring you more focus and self-discipline to apply to your studies.

I totally understand running is hard at beginning! I remember when I started my first run in 2018, I barely ran 400m because I was overweight and puffing a lot. Then I start improving my stamina on a treadmill at the gym – this was helpful as it provides a steady pace, and also you can distract yourself by watching YouTube or TV!

I understand treadmills are not a favourite option for lots of runners. However, based on my own experience, it is a good way to improve your stamina when you’re just beginning.

Running outside is probably the preference of most runners. I do think that no matter whether you’re on a treadmill or running outside, it’s always very important to establish a good pace and play good music!

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Don’t try to catch fast runners – just enjoying the happiness that arises from running is key! P.S. I always buy a new pair of running shoes when I lose motivation 🙂

My advice for starting out at running? Start out by finding what motivates you and feels comfortable. Never push yourself into new things that you do not enjoy. And, most importantly, just do it! 

I have a new running goal for 2023. This year, my personal goal is to finish the Melbourne Marathon for a second time and hope I can achieve a faster time than last year (3 hour, 44 mins)! I remember I kept telling myself after 35km into my first Melbourne Marathon when I felt extremely tired: If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further (quote from The Shawshank Redemption).

Running has taught me so many things. I’ve learned a lot in the past three years from my running habits, in addition to losing 25kg of weight. Starting to change yourself may feel difficult and painful at times, but it is totally worth it!

We’re committed to your wellbeing at Deakin

Study can inherently lead to sedentary habits but it’s important you stay moving, whether as part of structured or more casual activities, to maintain your health and get the most out of your studies. Here at Deakin, we are always investigating ways we can help our students stay healthy, happy and well – take a look at our vision as part of the Deakin Student Health Promotion Plan

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