So much to learn, so little time… With exams looming, it might seem that revising for hours on end with regular doses of strong coffee to keep awake is the best strategy. However, in order to achieve the highest quality revision, it is vital to exercise the body in order to exercise the mind. A healthy body equals a healthy mind which will result in improved mental performance.
Exercise helps to oxygenate the brain and relieve tension. Just 10 minutes will make you feel more energised and more able to think clearly, all good for memorising those important exams facts. It assists the body in the release of chemicals: endorphins - ‘feel-good’ chemicals which help to relieve pain, create a feeling of well-being and contribute to improved memory; serotonin – crucial for a good night’s sleep and improving the mood; dopamine – another ‘feel-good’ chemical, also contributing to an increase in attention span; norepinephrine – a natural boost for mental stimulation and focus. In addition, it can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress slows down the brain’s ability to process information and makes it hard to concentrate.
Some students find that exercising first thing in the morning can help them to focus for the day ahead, some like to exercise in the middle of the day to break up revising, others prefer to exercise in the evening in order to de-stress to help sleep. Basically, it is whatever works best for you. It is not necessary or indeed practical to do a full hour’s gym workout in every revision break! Just a few minutes brisk walk to the shop, a few stretches in the library, regular movement, will help to keep you alert and be in the best position for maximum learning and great results!