Bar prep can take a mental and physical toll on you. At times, you may forgo a workout in order to keep plugging away at bar prep, but maybe looking at your fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit or Apple watch, could improve the effectiveness of your bar prep. Rather than a distraction, consider checking your daily step count as part of your bar prep study plan. When enduring the mental marathon that is bar prep, here are some reasons to use your fitness tracker to better your overall health and focus during bar prep—and maybe even squeeze in a bit more bar prep while you are stepping.
Encourages Beneficial Exercise
Exercise will positively impact your studying. It is hard to accept this fact when your gut tells you that spending 30 minutes walking is not going to help you on a torts essay question come bar exam day. Alexandra Muskat argues in her post Why Exercise Should Be Mandatory During Bar Prep that exercise is essential as it improves mental health, helps you sleep better, and makes you smarter. Muskat made exercise a priority during her second round of bar prep, and she writes, “Physical activity became the thing that centered me and helped me really focus when I sat down to study next.” An exercise program can be difficult to start, but your fitness tracker can help. If you set your fitness tracker goal high enough, you will have to get moving if you want to win the day by meeting your goal.
Defines Your Exercise Routine
While some may use bar prep as an excuse to pause their exercise routine, exercise junkies may worry that their exercise program will become a time-wasting distraction to their study plan. A benefit of the fitness tracker for the eager athlete is that it can serve to cap their exercise break. For example, whether biking, swimming, or running, give yourself a 20,000 step limit for the day. Like calorie counting, this will force you to savor your 20,000 steps and use them wisely. Once you spend your 20,000 steps for the day, be disciplined and return to your bar prep.
Ensures a Refreshing Study Break
You will have to schedule study breaks into your study plan. As you consider your study breaks, a key question is how to ensure the quality of your breaks. You want breaks that refresh and re-energize you rather than derail you. Few activities could deliver as many benefits as exercise. In her post Quick Brain Boosters to Change Your Mood, Zolia Sanchez writes, “A major benefit of exercise is that it boosts your mood due to the release of chemicals to your body and brain.” Boosting your mood is a great side benefit of exercising. Rather than watching a sitcom rerun or scrolling on your phone for 30 minutes, get some fresh air and get some steps. Your fitness tracker can hopefully give you the extra nudge to get out the door to add to your step total.
Integrates Guilt-Free Walks into Your Study Plan
Part of my own bar prep routine was to wake up early on the weekends and take the dog for a nice long walk while listening to an audio bar exam prep lesson. I enjoyed the low-intensity, almost passive nature of this audio bar prep. To be clear, passive studying has limited returns and will not replace more rigorous bar prep; however, listening to bar prep materials can make a walk more guilt-free. For the anxious amongst us, knowing you are at least reinforcing what you have been studying is a comfort. One option for this would be the Bar Exam Toolbox Listen and Learn Series—a Bar Exam Toolbox podcast that reviews substantive areas of the law and applies some of that law to facts. You will earn steps, tire out the dog, and learn a thing or two. It is a win-win-win. Take your dog (or go borrow someone’s dog) and enjoy a guilt-free walk.
Provides a Non-Bar Exam Goal to Accomplish
Bar prep is overwhelming, in part, because it is a seemingly endless trudge with no satisfying accomplishments along the way. For the type-A individuals that want to achieve something, conquering a daily or weekly step count goal could be a way to satisfy the itch to notch a win during bar prep. This approach could help you keep your positive mindset as you press on toward your bar exam date. If you are keeping a log of your bar prep, add your daily step count as well. As the motivational placards say, “you can do hard things.” If you can meet your step count goal, you can meet your bar prep goal.
When making your bar prep study plan, think about leveraging your fitness tracker. Hopefully it will contribute to your physical health, mental health, and ultimate bar exam success!