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Staying Active to Reduce Exam Stress

We know it’s that time of year where the sports hall suddenly gets transformed into the exam room and students seem to come to school with increasingly dark bags under their eyes…yes, that’s right, it’s exams time!

Although some degree of stress is probably unavoidable, research suggests that pupils are suffering higher levels of stress than ever!

There are many nuggets of advice that people hand out as tips to decrease levels of stress (all are valuable as it’s whatever works for the individual), but one that is often forgotten is how staying active can hugely decrease levels of stress.

Exercise obviously increases your overall health which helps your sense of well-being and can put a skip in your step. But exercise also has a direct impact on stress as it helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters (endorphins). Also, doing physical activity improves your sleep (in both quantity and quality) – which is something that most students will struggle with around exam time.

Don’t just take our word for it, here is what the NHS advise:

 ‘Encourage exercise during exams

Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It doesn't matter what it is - walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective. Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful’

Whilst every pupil approaches their revision and exams differently, and they need to find what works for them, we hope that you can encourage your students to stay active during this crazy period.

Here are a few little tips that we hope anyone can fit into their revision timetable:

·        Start your day off by getting outside and going for a 20 minute walk – this can set you up for the day feeling refreshed and able to attack your revision.

·        Schedule in some time to get out and exercise at least once a week – swimming, running, cycling, dancing, skateboarding, anything you can think of!

·        Don’t shut yourself away and change your routine – if you are already part of any sporting clubs, don’t stop going altogether, taking occasional breaks from revision is important too!

We hope this little reminder of the importance of exercising before and during exams helps to prompt your students to stay active!

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