Everyone knows that physical activity has many positive effects on the body and mind. That's why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least one hour of moderate physical activity per day! However, this isn't always easy to do during exam time as you tend to focus more on studying than on your well-being. Nevertheless, being physically active during exam periods actually helps a lot.
A better memory
Sport is not only good for your physical health, it's important for your mental health too. To study and learn effectively, it's important to have good mental health. When you exercise, you let off steam, gain perspective and switch your brain off from studying. This allows your brain to refresh and consolidate whatever you've learnt that day. After exercising, you feel more balanced and your memory is more receptive to new information. Endocannabinoids are small molecules which the body produces when you exercise. These molecules improve your cognitive performance as well as your memory. It is therefore advisable to exercise before
studying in order to release these molecules and be more productive when studying.
Whatever type of sport or activity you do, when you move your body, your circulation is stimulated which means that your blood, enriched with fresh oxygen, flows to your brain. In turn, this stimulates the neurones in your brain which makes it more receptive and efficient. So, it's a good plan to exercise in the morning if you're going to need to concentrate later on, for example, if you've got a studying session planned or an exam. Just be careful and don't push yourself so hard that you're completely exhausted afterwards. For example, you could go for a walk before an exam. Or, if you notice that you keep getting distracted while studying, try going for a run, or even just doing some star jumps or a headstand. Any of these activities stimulate your circulation and supply your brain with oxygenated blood.
During exam periods, it's completely normal to feel stressed and not get enough sleep, but this can affect your ability to focus and study. Physical activity increases endorphins, the hormones which make you feel happy. After exercising, the increased levels of endorphins mean that you are less stressed and feel more balanced, which is crucial if you want to learn something successfully. Doing regular physical activity also affects the quality of your sleep. It means that you can fall asleep faster and experience deeper sleep, meaning that the next day you feel more refreshed. So, if you feel weak, tired or in a bad mood, sport is a healthy and beneficial way to get your body and mind functioning well again.
Read more about what stress is and how it can be managed
in our other blogs.
Studies show that sport promotes creativity and energy. Even at low intensity, exercise gives you strength. So, instead of taking a break to watch TV or check out social media on the couch, go jogging, walk, or do some yoga. This will help you to find inspiration and recharge your batteries so that you can study effectively.
So, which sport is best?
There are so many sports and activities to choose from; you have no excuse to not exercise regularly! You just have to find the right one that suits you, something you enjoy and helps you switch off, and also which motivates you.
, for example, is ideal for relaxation, concentration and meditation. It's also a great way to stretch after long hours sitting on a desk chair. Doing yoga in the evening can also help you fall asleep if you've been studying all day and need to switch off. In addition to stretching, yoga involves breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. So, if you haven't had a chance to exercise, yoga is a great way to wind down before bed and put some distance between you and your studies.
Sports like tennis
are also good for stimulating both the body and mind. These sports require skill and promote focus and concentration.
releases neurotransmitters like serotonin which decreases stress and reduces anxiety. In addition, swimming is very easy on your joints. If jogging or tennis does more harm than good to your body and you often end up injured, then swimming would be a great alternative as it's a low impact sport.
is one of the most physically demanding sports as not only does it requires a certain basic level of fitness, but you also need to have good coordination and concentration skills in order to memorise the choreography and follow the rhythm of the music. With dancing, you can not only train your fitness but also your ability to concentrate.
can be practised anywhere if you don't have much time or if you can't get to a sports centre. The fresh air is also great for the brain!
Many schools and gyms also offer team sports
. In addition to physical activity, playing sports as a team helps develop your people skills and ability to work with others. It's also a way of meeting up with friends regularly.
Now you know some of the benefits of exercising, all you have to do is choose one, two or even three sports and incorporate them into your daily routine! Let's go!