We all understand the physical benefits of exercise from lowering blood pressure, to developing stronger bones and muscles but how much do we know about how exercise affects use when we are revising and preparing for exams?
Head of PE Mrs Glynn blogs about the value of exercise for revision.
- Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve concentration, motivation, memory and mood. This is because it activates the brains dopamine and serotonin levels which affect our ability to focus and attend to information. This release also often makes us feel good which in turn improves our mood and ability to concentrate.
- A fit brain generally can learn, think and remember better!
So, when is the best time to work out? – The answer is……….It is totally up to you!
After my study session? Research suggests that working out just after your study session can help you remember the information that you have just revised.
In the morning? The body is extra primed in the morning for exercise and we are at our peak at roughly 7am. It will shake off that sleepy feeling, make us more alert and energised and able to focus more however…. If you are not a morning person then this may not be the work out for you!
Before I study? This will boost focus and brain power as after an aerobic work out blood is flowing, endorphins are high, oxygen, nutrients and chemicals are all flowing and allowing use to work at our maximum and perform at our best.
After I study? Research has shown that this can improve long term memory and therefore your ability to remember what you have revised. After a hard revision session, exercise will activate the Hippocampus (part of the brain responsible for the long term memory) and help us remember the information that we have just been revising! It will also give us the opportunity to relieve stress and frustration that can be built up during our revision and overall improve our mood.
Night time work out? This is great for de-stressing after a busy day. We have to be careful here with the time that we choose to do this though as this can affect our body clock and ultimately the quality and length of our sleep. Exercise at night time can delay bedtime due to the body releasing endorphins (an energy boosting hormone that keeps us awake!). If night time work outs suit you then opt for calmer activities such as Yoga or Pilates
When we feel tired? If we are feeling tired after a hard day at school we are often tempted to have a nap however……research shows us that exercising (even walking your dog) when we feel tired can actually boost our energy, help fight tiredness and allow us to concentrate more.
Ultimately the message is clear, for us to have effective revision and preparation for examinations we cannot revise without a break, we have to make time for exercise during our day. How you choose to do this is up to you as an individual however it should form part of your weekly routine.
If you don’t like team sports, that’s ok, if you don’t like competition, that’s ok, pick an activity that suits you. At Queen’s we work hard to provide a full and varied calendar of activities to cater for everyone’s interests, from team sports such as lacrosse, hockey, netball, tennis and football, to athletics, Just Dance, karate, Pilates and running club …..the options are endless and the benefits are huge.