We are once again into the exam season and many children and parents will be doing everything they can to help with their exams so to achieve the best possible results.
Many children will stop participating in sport and exercise during their exams but a study by The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) has found that taking part in sports will have no effect on results.
The study analysed the GCSE results of 1,482 male and female students from 19 independent schools, and examined the effect that participation in sports had on their results.
In fact, taking part in sport appears to have a lot of positive impact. There is no evidence that people involved in sport get any worse GCSE results. They are however happier, mentally healthier, less anxious and more resilient and robust. Taking part in sport on a regular basis is not doing any harm and it is doing them good, there is an abundance of benefits to sport and wellbeing and it plays a vital role to a balanced and healthy lifestyle and the findings in this research strongly suggest that students revising for their GCSEs or A-levels should not abandon sport.
The profile of “super performers” was also examined in the research. Students, who were the very top academic performers, played a lot of sport as well as achieving the highest grades in their class.
Aside from providing a well-needed break from the marathon revision, when our bodies engage in exercise, it triggers the release of various hormones and chemical compounds in the body. These hormones and chemical compounds all have very important effects on a variety brain functions.
What endorphins are released during exercise, and how they help
Serotonin – involved in regulating sleep patterns and improving mood.
Dopamine – positively influences learning and attention span.
Norepinephrine – affects motivation and mental stimulation.
Combined with an increased blood flow to the brain, this concoction of hormones and neurotransmitters improves cognitive function and the ability to focus for longer time periods. Which translates into higher quality revision sessions and a higher chance of achieving your target results.
Research also shows that exercise significantly reduces resting levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, allowing you to spend less time worrying and more time getting work done.
Not only that, regular exercise has also been shown to increase the size of the part of the brain involved with memory retention, the hippo-campus.
Taking all of this into account I strongly believe and encourage children to continue participating in sport during the run up to exams as it is good for them to have a balance of activities, also integrating exercise into a revision timetable promotes discipline with time management.