Study-boosting benefits of exercise

5 May 2020

Exam season can be tough, and it’s often very easy to let your health and fitness fall to the bottom of your to-do list. But did you know that there are significant benefits of exercise that will directly help with your studies.

Man and woman running along a pavement

Consider these advantages of introducing some physical activity into your daily routine:

Strengthened memory

Research shows that physical exercise releases proteins in the brain that can actually help improve your memory and increase your cognitive performance. This is because the hippocampus, the area of our brain that is involved with retaining information is incredibly responsive to these proteins.  So whether you’re revising for an exam or listening to a lecture, you’ll be able to take in and retain what you learn much more easily if you have been doing some regular exercise.

Better concentration

When you do any type of intense physical activity, it causes blood to flow to the brain.  This in turn fires up your neurones and promotes cell growth, particularly in the hippocampus.  This means that just 20 minutes of exercise before studying can improve your concentration and help you focus your learning.

Improved mood

By doing some sort of physical activity, you will be raising your endorphin levels, the body’s famous ‘feel good’ chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord.  This chemical will also reduce your stress levels, which will in turn have a number of positive effects on how well your brain functions. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, some regular exercise will keep stress at bay and will help you to maintain a positive mind-set.

Increased energy levels

Experts have found that there is a connection between being physically healthy and delivering a strong academic performance. This is because low-intensity exercise can give our energy levels a much-needed boost, which is perfect for when you’re studying long hours.  Studies also prove that exercise boosts creativity and mental energy. So if you’re in need of inspiration, your big idea could be just a walk or jog away.

Now you know that exercise boosts brainpower in a number of ways, why not take a walk, jog or a run to get you moving.  If you don’t fancy heading outside, we have a range of online events hosted by the Students’ Union Project Active, or for some more inspiration, take a look at PhD student, Javier Bautista’s article on exercise and staying healthy at home.