How exercise got me through my GCSEs - NCS grad Luke

ncs 21/05/2019

Exams, exams, exams! You might feel like you haven’t got time to do anything else right now, but, NCS grad Luke explains why this might be the best time to get moving. 

If you’re doing exams right now, you probably already know how following a balanced work/revision plan is important – but the balance doesn’t stop there. It’s essential to take time off to do other activities. Something that really worked for me was regularly taking part in sports. 

Whatever the sport, it’ll aid you in loads of ways: your energy level will be raised so you’ll have that extra boost to get through any exams or coursework. It will also clear your mind and be very rewarding after hard work, not to mention a great release from stress.

Sport can help take your mind off your current worries – especially if there’s a competitive element. The atmosphere is captivating when you’re trying to beat your opponent. Your focus and reaction speed are tested and improved. All the while you enjoy the rush of adrenaline and building bonds with both teammates and opponents.

Through physical activity, you actually improve brain function too! Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen in the brain, as well as increasing concentration levels and cognitive ability. It’s a win-win!

But that’s not even the best part. Engaging in stimulating physical activity increases overall mood and happiness and helps you get better sleep. This is because endorphins (happy hormones) are released, along with a range of other neurotransmitters, which play an important part in regulating your mood. So if you’re suffering from a case of exam blues, physical sports should definitely boost your mood so you are able to face the exams with a more positive attitude.

There’s even an England Athletics campaign running soon called #RunAndRevise. It explores the importance of exercising alongside revision. Definitely check it out

Taking part in sports helped me make it through my GCSEs –  I don’t think I would have been able to cope without them. I was more energised to study after exercise and walked into exams feeling confident and more able to concentrate. 

I’m currently sitting my AS exams, and whilst revising I’m maintaining a good sport regiment – mostly climbing and football – because that helps to relieve the constant stress of exams and the daunting feeling leading up to them. 

To anyone considering sports during this busy period – just give it a go! Try out various sports until you find one you’re passionate about. If you’re a sports enthusiast, don’t give up on it now. It’s important to maintain that balance of work, exercise and down time, even during the exam period. Stick through these stressful times and it will pay off, I promise!