Getting The Best Out Of Your Exams and Exercise

December 15, 2016
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For many students, exam week can be hell week because of the books that must be read, among other academic activities. This can also mean skipping on regular exercise days at the gym, such as at Equinox, in favor of studying.

But this shouldn’t be! Your mind will become more pumped up for your exams when you have pumped up your body. You should then find ways to exercise even during hell week and here’s why.  

Release the Chemicals

When exam week is at hand, you’re likely to feel that your professors released the kraken. You can meet the challenge head-on by releasing the feel-good chemicals, too. Your exercise program will play a significant role here.  

Aside from providing your mind and body with a well-needed break from hitting the books, exercise also releases the following chemicals:

  • Serotonin, a chemical involved in sleep cycle and mood regulation. You have to get sufficient hours of sleep for your mental concentration and memory to be in full gear. You will sleep better after exercising.  
  • Dopamine, a chemical with positive impact on your attention span and learning curve. You will need sufficient amounts of dopamine before and during your exams. You may not even look at your books with so much dislike as before, too, thanks to your positive mood.
  • Norepinephrine, a chemical that affects your mental stimulation and motivation. You have so many things to do during exam time that discouragement can easily come. Your regular exercise will release this chemical, thus, helping in keeping your motivation levels up.  

Aside from the release of these chemicals, exam week will be less stressful for the following reasons:

  • The increased blood flow to your brain means more nutrients necessary for your mental focus.  
  • The hormones and neurotransmitters also improve cognitive ability and function for prolonged periods.
  • The physical activity significantly reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This also increases the hippocampus’ size; the hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory retention.

The bottom line: You have to exercise even during exam time!  

Find the Time

With this in mind, you should find the time to exercise even when your schedule is already crammed. Here are a few tips:

  • Be flexible in your exercise time. For as long as you can exercise for 30 minutes a day, you’re good to go. You can break it up into three 10-minute chunks, for example.
  • Choose another type of exercise. You don’t have to travel to the gym since bodyweight exercises will suffice.  You can brisk-walk around the oval, for example, or lift your books.  
  • Exercise between breaks for studying.

The more you commit yourself to exercising, the more benefits you can enjoy from it!

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