blueforest

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First of all, I apologize if this is a strange topic but I am in need of serious advice. I'm currently studying for Step 1 and just like most people I study from early morning to late evening. My brain is physically capable of retaining info and studying for hours a day (or at least I hope), however, my body is screaming. I have terrible knee pain from sitting all day. Just recently my back has started to ache. I feel like an old person with arthritis.. my joints and neck muscles feel all weird and achey. It's also a beautiful summer here on the east coast and every time I step outside in the daylight I feel like a vampire (the sun is way too bright, the heat is too much etc.) I assume and I am hoping that some of you feel this way too. How do I stop the pain? What can I do when I obviously have to study for 12 hours a day for the next few weeks.. it hurts to sit already.

If you're wondering, I eat well (home-cooked meals, generally healthy). I try to drink water as much as I can but I do drink 2-3 cups of tea a day and 1 cup of coffee daily.
 

xffan624

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First of all, I apologize if this is a strange topic but I am in need of serious advice. I'm currently studying for Step 1 and just like most people I study from early morning to late evening. My brain is physically capable of retaining info and studying for hours a day (or at least I hope), however, my body is screaming. I have terrible knee pain from sitting all day. Just recently my back has started to ache. I feel like an old person with arthritis.. my joints and neck muscles feel all weird and achey. It's also a beautiful summer here on the east coast and every time I step outside in the daylight I feel like a vampire (the sun is way too bright, the heat is too much etc.) I assume and I am hoping that some of you feel this way too. How do I stop the pain? What can I do when I obviously have to study for 12 hours a day for the next few weeks.. it hurts to sit already.

If you're wondering, I eat well (home-cooked meals, generally healthy). I try to drink water as much as I can but I do drink 2-3 cups of tea a day and 1 cup of coffee daily.
Get out at least once a day for 30 min - 1 hr. I still exercised daily during my step 1 studying. Usually a bike ride was my preferred way, but if you're a jogger than consider than. Believe me your studying will be more efficient for it. Plus if you loath to give up even that much time, then listen to goljan while you're exercising.
 

doyouhaveaflag

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Get up a couple times an hour and walk around a bit. Take ibuprofen. Grin and bear it and look forward to all the walking and standing you'll do on wards (seriously, my body feels so much better now that I'm on my feet at least 6 hours a day).
 
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Put on shorts and run like 1 mile as a study break. I had a rowing machine in my house and I would study for 4 hours and then take a 20 minute rowing break or something. It will do your studying good.
 
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You basically sound de-conditioned. Craft a 5 day a week lifting schedule. On a few of those days do a little cardio at the end. Do a top to bottom down stretch at the end of your workout, being sure to improve your flexibility. This might also help you cognitively.
Also, what is drinking "as much water as you can" going to do for your pain? All you are doing is repetitively making your kidneys get rid of that free water since it's a threat to cell integrity when it's not needed.
 
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Señor Científico

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You basically sound de-conditioned. Craft a 5 day a week lifting schedule. On a few of those days do a little cardio at the end. Do a top to bottom down stretch at the end of your workout, being sure to improve your flexibility. This might also help you cognitively.
Also, what is drinking "as much water as you can" going to do for your pain? All you are doing is repetitively making your kidneys get rid of that free water since it's a threat to cell integrity when it's not needed.
Maybe not "as much water as you can", but staying well- (even over-) hydrated while studying all day for weeks at a time is a little trick to get you to stand up and walk around every hour! DVT prophylaxis too!
 

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Yeah you need a better chair. I had the worst left sided back pain for months. My guess is that my poor posture messed up my rhomboid minor and I don't recommend it.
 
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Crayola227

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- the key thing is that our bodies are not made for sitting for long periods, or standing still for long periods. We are made for walking and movement. So you need to introduce more movement.

you should be taking 5-10 min breaks every hour to walk and do some stretches.
Trust me, it's time invested in your productivity.

look up desk work health
definitely look up spine health and be doing stretches/exercises aimed at undoing the "chair bound" body issues

also, you can learn "chair stretches" seriously, look it up
Bob Anderson has some great picture books on stretching with entire routines - google images! Amazon has some of his books, One is designed for the workplace and cubicle life.

look up ergonomics - be sure you have your chair, desk, keyboard, etc all properly placed

you can also swap in a large exercise ball to sit on, they're harder to sit on, but I still found value in swapping it in and out with a regular chair

I would try to mix up positions - for example, one hour of FA reading on a couch. 2 hours UWorld on a laptop on the carpet so I could move about on the floor. Grass, blanket, FA for an hour outside. Back inside 2 hours Uworld at a desk. Etc ideas

I did an hour of yoga a day during my step study period so that I was getting some bloodflow, stretching, and strengthening altogether, quite efficient. You can watch a Youtube video and there were some programs on Netflix. I also was biking about a 1/2 mile to/fro my study site

I don't recommend much lifting because that can leave you sore, and if you're not getting enough stretching/moving (hard to do with step study period) I find it makes me feel worse/more stiff, unless it's just gentle calisthenics that are part of spine/chair health

Be sure to be having enough snacks too. Now is not the time to worry about weight, so eat as much as you need to, to feel good, but you also don't want to eat so much/carb crash that you're sluggish. I like a nice carby & fibery but not too fatty breakfast (eggs or bacon, oatmeal), and a very protein and veggie heavy lunch (leafy salad with hardboiled eggs, tuna, chicken, etc), formal snack breaks for like granola bars and peeling hardboiled eggs, a yogurt,
At my desk for anytime gnoshing, carrots, nuts, raisins. There's a little bit of pleasure grazing that helps pep me up.

I have a lot of aches, pains, horrific posture and neck/back pain, and the above is how I studied with a minimum of discomfort!

you can alternate APAP and ibuprofen during the day with the blessing of your physician, but the goal is to do the above to prevent/treat the source of pain, rather than needed to rely on meds to cover up symptoms

TLDR:
5-10 min breaks/hr
stretching, walking
change position often
ergonomic workspace
spine health
yoga
snacks
 

lymphocyte

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- the key thing is that our bodies are not made for sitting for long periods, or standing still for long periods. We are made for walking and movement. So you need to introduce more movement.

you should be taking 5-10 min breaks every hour to walk and do some stretches.
Trust me, it's time invested in your productivity.

look up desk work health
definitely look up spine health and be doing stretches/exercises aimed at undoing the "chair bound" body issues

also, you can learn "chair stretches" seriously, look it up
Bob Anderson has some great picture books on stretching with entire routines - google images! Amazon has some of his books, One is designed for the workplace and cubicle life.

look up ergonomics - be sure you have your chair, desk, keyboard, etc all properly placed

you can also swap in a large exercise ball to sit on, they're harder to sit on, but I still found value in swapping it in and out with a regular chair

I would try to mix up positions - for example, one hour of FA reading on a couch. 2 hours UWorld on a laptop on the carpet so I could move about on the floor. Grass, blanket, FA for an hour outside. Back inside 2 hours Uworld at a desk. Etc ideas

I did an hour of yoga a day during my step study period so that I was getting some bloodflow, stretching, and strengthening altogether, quite efficient. You can watch a Youtube video and there were some programs on Netflix. I also was biking about a 1/2 mile to/fro my study site

I don't recommend much lifting because that can leave you sore, and if you're not getting enough stretching/moving (hard to do with step study period) I find it makes me feel worse/more stiff, unless it's just gentle calisthenics that are part of spine/chair health

Be sure to be having enough snacks too. Now is not the time to worry about weight, so eat as much as you need to, to feel good, but you also don't want to eat so much/carb crash that you're sluggish. I like a nice carby & fibery but not too fatty breakfast (eggs or bacon, oatmeal), and a very protein and veggie heavy lunch (leafy salad with hardboiled eggs, tuna, chicken, etc), formal snack breaks for like granola bars and peeling hardboiled eggs, a yogurt,
At my desk for anytime gnoshing, carrots, nuts, raisins. There's a little bit of pleasure grazing that helps pep me up.

I have a lot of aches, pains, horrific posture and neck/back pain, and the above is how I studied with a minimum of discomfort!

you can alternate APAP and ibuprofen during the day with the blessing of your physician, but the goal is to do the above to prevent/treat the source of pain, rather than needed to rely on meds to cover up symptoms

TLDR:
5-10 min breaks/hr
stretching, walking
change position often
ergonomic workspace
spine health
yoga
snacks
I strongly agree with this post. In the heat of exams, people sometimes neglect really basic ergonomics and self-care (I know I did). I will say this: if now is your dedicated Step 1 study period, it's probably not the right time to get super fit. Keep exercise reasonable and stress-relieving, instead of merely distracting.
 
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Tenk

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You need to exercise. Even if it is just for an hour a day it will improve your score far more than an hour of studying.

I exercised nearly every day while studying for my steps. Makes you feel better and perform better.
 

TBV

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I had to stuff a small pillow behind my lumbar area, big difference though.
 
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Crayola227

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lol I come in here with all this health science and ergonomics and yoga and ****,

and yall be "and I shoved a pillow behind my back and all was right with the world"

haha maybe I'm just high maintenance :flame:
 

lymphocyte

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lol I come in here with all this health science and ergonomics and yoga and ****,

and yall be "and I shoved a pillow behind my back and all was right with the world"

haha maybe I'm just high maintenance :flame:
I'm down with everything but the yoga. Yoga is, unfortunately, not down with me.
 
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Goro

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How often do you take breaks? Physical activity breaks?

First of all, I apologize if this is a strange topic but I am in need of serious advice. I'm currently studying for Step 1 and just like most people I study from early morning to late evening. My brain is physically capable of retaining info and studying for hours a day (or at least I hope), however, my body is screaming. I have terrible knee pain from sitting all day. Just recently my back has started to ache. I feel like an old person with arthritis.. my joints and neck muscles feel all weird and achey. It's also a beautiful summer here on the east coast and every time I step outside in the daylight I feel like a vampire (the sun is way too bright, the heat is too much etc.) I assume and I am hoping that some of you feel this way too. How do I stop the pain? What can I do when I obviously have to study for 12 hours a day for the next few weeks.. it hurts to sit already.

If you're wondering, I eat well (home-cooked meals, generally healthy). I try to drink water as much as I can but I do drink 2-3 cups of tea a day and 1 cup of coffee daily.
 
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jebelali

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Not gonna suggest much but as a younger person with arthritis, what helped me most during marathon studying periods was getting a good chair (or three), a good mattress and pillow, and taking 15 min walks during break time.
 
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First of all, I apologize if this is a strange topic but I am in need of serious advice. I'm currently studying for Step 1 and just like most people I study from early morning to late evening. My brain is physically capable of retaining info and studying for hours a day (or at least I hope), however, my body is screaming. I have terrible knee pain from sitting all day. Just recently my back has started to ache. I feel like an old person with arthritis.. my joints and neck muscles feel all weird and achey. It's also a beautiful summer here on the east coast and every time I step outside in the daylight I feel like a vampire (the sun is way too bright, the heat is too much etc.) I assume and I am hoping that some of you feel this way too. How do I stop the pain? What can I do when I obviously have to study for 12 hours a day for the next few weeks.. it hurts to sit already.

If you're wondering, I eat well (home-cooked meals, generally healthy). I try to drink water as much as I can but I do drink 2-3 cups of tea a day and 1 cup of coffee daily.
The best thing for back pain is dead lifts, bent over row, and pull ups.
 
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Furan

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Not going to offer anything new, but just wanted to reiterate how amazing yoga is. I thought it was straight voodoo for the longest time, but it honestly made a me a tenfold better student.

If your goal is solely peak mental performance, I would recommend a half hour of yoga and 20-30 minutes of light cardio every day (I found the recovery from anaerobic workouts like sprinting to be too long). If you can only find time to do one or the other then alternate. I've found yoga to have diminishing returns after 30 minutes or so, I never felt I got much more out of an hour than I did with a half hour.
 
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If you're studying from books get a table easel (we used to call them nerd stands) to hold the book. Also the isometric exercise where you stand in a corner and push against both walls for a minute is relaxing for the rhomboids. Good luck!
 
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Gurby

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Get a standing desk. Or even better, a treadmill desk.
Pre-med chiming in here... I bought a treadmill desk on Craigslist and it was life changing. Can't recommend highly enough. I'm on my 4th mile today as I type this!

I average around 8 miles/day while I do my studying, internet surfing, etc. I have a bar stool to sit on when I get tired. The biggest benefit for me has been not just physical, but mental: I feel much more awake, alert and focused when I'm on my feet. People often say that our bodies did not evolve to sit or stand still for long periods of time... People don't often mention the fact that the brain evolved along with the body, so sitting around is probably not ideal for it either.
 

Entadus

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Pre-med chiming in here... I bought a treadmill desk on Craigslist and it was life changing. Can't recommend highly enough. I'm on my 4th mile today as I type this!

I average around 8 miles/day while I do my studying, internet surfing, etc. I have a bar stool to sit on when I get tired. The biggest benefit for me has been not just physical, but mental: I feel much more awake, alert and focused when I'm on my feet. People often say that our bodies did not evolve to sit or stand still for long periods of time... People don't often mention the fact that the brain evolved along with the body, so sitting around is probably not ideal for it either.
Hahahahaha that's great :claps:

hahaha:laugh:
 

Gurby

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Hahahahaha that's great :claps:

hahaha:laugh:
I've gotten used to it now, but the first few days using it I always had this overwhelming urge to say, "I'm typing this from a treadmill right now!"
 

Syncrohnize

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Put on shorts and run like 1 mile as a study break. I had a rowing machine in my house and I would study for 4 hours and then take a 20 minute rowing break or something. It will do your studying good.
This is exactly what I do. I get mocked because I'm wearing athletic shorts in the winter (sometimes I wear jeans on top), but I don't care. It's convenient and I'm not trying to catch anyone's eye.

Inactivity is terrible for you. I believe even on the most productive day, you should strive for at least 15 minutes of activity.

During my step prep, if I lift, I can get a decent one in in 15 minutes. Same with running if I run. Sometimes I go multiple times per day. Nothing beats the 3 pm dip like a run and an ice cold Propel when I'm done.
 

Syncrohnize

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Pre-med chiming in here... I bought a treadmill desk on Craigslist and it was life changing. Can't recommend highly enough. I'm on my 4th mile today as I type this!

I average around 8 miles/day while I do my studying, internet surfing, etc. I have a bar stool to sit on when I get tired. The biggest benefit for me has been not just physical, but mental: I feel much more awake, alert and focused when I'm on my feet. People often say that our bodies did not evolve to sit or stand still for long periods of time... People don't often mention the fact that the brain evolved along with the body, so sitting around is probably not ideal for it either.

Can some others chime in on this. I've always imagined myself getting one but think it'd probably be too distracting to think clearly. I have major attention issues, but chose not to use any medications.
 
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Just set up a good exercise routine. What I do every morning is I run 7-8 miles on the treadmill (takes me 60 minutes) while reviewing material on an ipad. Seriously, you can run an hour like nothing because you're so focused on the material.

The gym music leaking through the headphones will make it less boring.
 

FutureOncologist

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Seriously, lift weights, run, do yoga, Pilates, Zumba, etc. SOMETHING at least an hour a day. I did weightlifting every day (4th day = active rest, 1 hour of intense cardio.) I made a good Step I score because of it. It kept me sane and in shape. Also, to reiterate above, every 25-30 minutes, take a 5 minute break. Or, if you can sit for longer and stay sharp, give yourself 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours. And so on. If you do the latter, tak that time off to go for a jog.
 
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blueforest

blueforest

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Just wanted to thank everyone for all the great advice that will help many others here as well. I think it's very important to take study breaks, but my problem is that I'm truly lazy when it comes to some serious exercise routine. The past few evenings were better, I put on my running shoes and went for a long brisk walk.
 
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Crayola227

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Just wanted to thank everyone for all the great advice that will help many others here as well. I think it's very important to take study breaks, but my problem is that I'm truly lazy when it comes to some serious exercise routine. The past few evenings were better, I put on my running shoes and went for a long brisk walk.
most of my fitness advice was for the lazy

there's really only one way I care to break a sweat

in any case, frequent breaks, stretches
 
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