We’re all aware of the benefits that doing exercise has on our mental health, but have you also considered how it could benefit your revision and learning?
We spoke to Sean Williams, our subject Specialist for Physical Education to find out what he thinks about incorporating exercise into your exam preparation routine.
Exercise and your brain
The exam season is inevitably a stressful period for many students, the pressure is on to get the grades, deadlines are fast approaching and revision can be hard work so it's fair to say that most people would welcome a way to relieve some of this stress. Well, luckily, one really simple way of doing this is to get in a quick fitness session.
When we exercise, our brain produces a while host of chemicals that go a long way towards improving our mental performance. These include serotonin and dopamine which are both well know s 'feel-good' chemicals linked to boosting moods and improving focus. When you combine these with the increased hormone levels and blood flow to the brain, you can feel confident that a quick run around the park will be a huge benefit to your mental performance when revising.
Exercise and your memory
One of the key elements of our brains that we rely on during revision sessions is memory and studies have shown that exercise positively impacts this directly and indirectly.
A different effect of regular movement on the memory includes its ability to increase the size of the hippocampus; the are of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. An indirect effect of exercise on the brain is the way in which it will help to improve the quality of your sleep, in turn improving your cognitive functions.
Exercise and your energy
Still unsure about the benefits of exercise during exam season? Perhaps you're worries that all of that fitness activity will make you too tired to get any revision done? Well, think again, as exercise can actually boost your energy levels, giving you the focus you need to remain motivated and concentrated throughout your revision sessions.
So which exercises are going to boost your energy levels? Well in reality, the answer is any activity that increases your heart rate and get the blood flowing; once this happens endorphins are released and your energy levels will rise. Remember this doesn't need to be anything intense, a game of football or tennis or even having a dance around to your favourite songs will do the trick.
Exercise and your schedule
So, now it's time to mix up your revision timetable in order to include some fitness activities that will get your mind and body in the right from frame of mind for your upcoming exams. Find out what exercises work best for you and aim to get actice at least every other day. Regardless of whether you're just starting your fitness journey or are a keen athlete, we hope this guide will serve you well during your revision sessions.