7 Ways Exercise Can Help With Exam Stress
Got the pre-exam jitters? It’s completely normal to feel stressed, anxious, and even a little de-motivated during exam periods. But did you know that exercise can help to manage exam stress and make your revision sessions even more productive?
If you’re in the middle of exam period right now and your head is buried in the books, you might feel like you don’t have enough time for exercise. However, moving your body provides a much-needed brain break and leaves you feeling good thanks to feel good hormones (serotonin), while also helping to reduce exam stress.
And remember that you don’t need to spend hours exercising. Set aside an hour, half an hour or even just 20 minutes to move your body and reap the benefits.
So, how can exercise help during exam periods?
1) Exercise can improve mental health
If you’ve ever felt a buzz after exercise or have experienced the famous ‘runners high’, that’s the hormones your body releases during exercise. Known as endorphins, this feel-good hormone acts as a natural pain reliever and leaves you with a positive mindset.
Exercise is empowering and leaves you feeling good, providing a sense of self belief and a can-do attitude that builds a positive mindset for a helpful contribution to your study session!
2) Exercise increases concentration and improves memory retention
If you’ve found yourself procrastinating from revision, fitting in a workout might just be what you need to boost those all-important concentration levels.
Exercise causes blood to flow to the brain which in turn increases blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is associated with memory and learning! Consider starting your day with an energising workout in readiness to absorb all those facts and information.
3) Exercise boosts energy and motivation
If you’re spending lots of time revising, it’s likely you’re using lots of brain power and spending most of your day sat down which can lead to feelings of fatigue. Engaging in exercise increases the blood flow all around your body and can improve your energy levels so that you feel refreshed and rejuvenated for your next study session.
4) Exercise provides structure to your day
The pressure of exam season can often leave you feeling like you’re drowning in revision. It can be all too easy to get caught up in studying. But working for long periods of time can leave you with mental fatigue and brain block.
By adding some structure to your day can help you to feel in control and gain a sense of purpose, which can ease stress and allow you to take a helpful break from your revision time.
5) Exercise can regulate appetite
Exam stress can sometimes lead to overeating or undereating which are both likely to have negative impacts on your studying and brain performance. Eating too little or too much will leave you feeling lethargic and tired, and your brain won’t be able to function to the best of its ability.
Focusing on consuming a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals is important for both energy levels and brain function, so if you find yourself forgetting about food or craving sugary snacks, partaking in some exercise might be helpful in regulating your appetite and your blood sugar levels.
6) Exercise can improve your sleep quality
Incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle can aid sleep duration and quality, which in turn improves the brains performance, your mood, and your overall health. Good quality sleep also aids in helping you to feel energised and refreshed which is vital when preparing for exams.
If you’re worried about your sleep quality during exam season, why not swap electronic devices for some exercise to incorporate movement into your days to help you drift off to sleep.
7) Exercise can help to clear your mind
Exercise can help to take your mind off your exams and allows you to concentrate on something else for a while. Exercising outside is especially great for engaging your senses, helping you to appreciate nature and gain a sense of mindfulness, to help you to relax and reduce stress levels.
If you’re not keen on exercise, asking a friend to join you is likely to be a helpful motivator, plus they’ll likely be able distract you away from those looming exams!