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Staying Active During The Dreaded Exam Season


If you’ve clicked on this article, then the chances are that its exam season for you.

Whether you are a GCSE, A-Level or University Student, exams can be a really stressful time. Exam season also means saying hello to those full days of revision, from 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week, stuck inside your bedroom or if you’re feeling adventurous - the more extravagant library.

Before we get further into this, I feel as though I should introduce myself.

My name is Matticus and I run a small YouTube channel called ‘Matticus VLOGS’. I’m currently studying Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton and as such I post weekly informative videos and Day in the Life VLOGS to show you what life is like at University as a Physio Student. I’m also a Powerlifter, but the twist here is that I’m also an Freerunner – I jump on walls and do flips…

Anyway, I digress. Where were we again?

Oh yes!

So, you’re

sat there revising for hours on end.

At some point your productivity hits an all-time low.

Your concentration and focus has disappeared faster than new years’ resolution gym goers come the first day of February…

Tiredness takes over, and if you were going to win an award for anything, it would be for being a master procrastinator.

Alright, so you can probably relate to most of the above.

What is the solution for these inefficient, long and arduous revision sessions?

Exercise.

A sedentary lifestyle composed or sitting and lying carries a high mortality risk (Owen et al., 2010). I mean think about it? Those long revision sessions in preparation for an exam mean that you’re sedentary for most of the day. This pretty bad for your health. As human beings we are made to move, to walk, to run and to jump (jump for joy when exams are over).

When it comes to revision tips I’m sure you’ve heard these so many times before:

“Make sure you get enough sleep.”

“Make sure you eat healthy good.”

Or my all-time favourite, “Make sure you drink plenty of water!”

The truth is that these are all a given.

Staying physically active or doing some sort of exercise regularly has been shown to improve both physical and mental health. In particular, it has been shown to significantly improve mental performance (Hillman et al., 2008). Undoubtedly, this means that you will be able to study more efficiently during those long and arduous revision sessions. As you know, frequent breaks from revision during the day are a must. However, it does not quite make up for exercise. The kind of exercise that gets your heart pumping, sweat dripping and endorphins releasing.

Figure 1: Brooke Nelson, Reader’s Digest Magazine

In my personal experience I have found that the day is not complete without some sort of physical activity; it could be lifting weights at the gym or going outside to play a game of football with some mates.

After spending most of the daylight hours trapped inside, I have that one thing to look forward to. This one thing that will relieve all my stress and make me feel like I am alive again.

At the end of the day, why shouldn’t you go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather?

Even if it’s only for an hour or so.

After all, it can’t be all work and no play?

Much love,

Matticus

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