Keeping Active to Tackle Exam Stress

As you approach the oncoming exam period, it is extremely important to stay active and to not spend all of your time shut away in your room or hunched over books in the library. Keeping our bodies moving at times of anxiety and pressure enables us to cope more readily with the stressors which face us.

Take time to go outside, get some fresh air and keep moving

Take time to go outside, get some fresh air and keep moving

You might not know, but the word Exercise comes from a Latin root meaning “to maintain, to keep, to ward off.”   These words have special meaning for those of us who want our brain to stay healthy and be mentally sharp. We need to keep our bodies moving (especially our legs) or they will literally give out on us when we need them most. If you have been forgetting things or have brain fog it just might be lack physical exercise that is causing the problem.

exercise is good for the body - even just taking a walk across campus

exercise is good for the body – even just taking a walk across campus

We all know that exercise is good for the body, but it’s incredibly good for the brain too. Exercise zaps harmful stress chemicals. It boosts problem-solving, planning and our attention span. Exercise increases the oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by a rise in mental sharpness.

The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion.  From this, we could predict that the optimal environment for processing information would include motion. Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.

Another factor to consider is endorphins, the chemicals released by the pituitary gland in response to stress or pain. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria. This allows the pleasure associated with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine to be more apparent.

3 female students walking across campus

Exercise is important in boosting your mental well-being too

Not only is exercising in moderation good for your overall health and fitness, but it also boosts your mental well-being. Exercise will help keep you calm during exams. You’ll feel more energised and refreshed, and that will help you perform better in your studies.

You could try this: To Wake up your Brain in the Morning:

As you wake up while you’re still in bed, slowly begin to move your toes – any way that feels good. Wriggle, scrunch, and stretch. Move all your toes up and down several times, or work just your big toes.

Wiggling your toes activates nerves that stimulate your brain and internal organs.  Do this exercise first thing each morning or after sitting for an extended period of time whilst revising. It will help you to wake-up and become alert more quickly. Your whole body may feel pleasantly energized.



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