Three great reasons to keep exercising during exams

It’s tempting to sit and study all day, every day when the pressure of exams looms.  But did you know that taking regular exercise will help boost your brain power?  Here’s why:

Person exercising at home

Improve memory and learning

Exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.  It can also stimulate new brain cell growth and the connections between them.

Sharper thinking and focus

Exercise can improve cognitive function, including executive function, which is responsible for planning, decision making and multi-tasking.   So, if you’re feeling a bit brain fogged, stop for a moment and take a little 10min exercise break to refresh the brain.

Check out the Cleveland Clinic website if you want to get a great introduction to the science of exercise and brain health.

Better mood

Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects that can help combat depression, stress and anxiety.

Check out  for tips and tools for all thing mental health and wellbeing, including exercise.

How much do you need to exercise?

For mental health and brain function, it’s recommended to get at least 75mins of vigorous activity across a week – so getting your puff on!  The good news is it doesn’t have to be all at once.  So, simple math says 10mins a day of vigorous activity will have an impact on how you think and feel.     Here’s some easy things to try in different study environments:

Stairs Study Break – if you’re in a campus building with a good set of stairs, get up and take a walk!   An easy way to get the heart rate up into the puff zone in just 10 minutes

  • Calisthenics EMOM– simply put, body weight exercises.   Try an EMOM (every minute on the minute) of 10 squats, 10 press-ups, 10 sit-ups and 10 burpees in 1minute.   Any time left over at you get to rest.  Then repeat four more times, for a total of 5mins.   This one is probably best at home!
All sound a bit too vigorous?

Totally cool – you’ll still get benefit from lower intensity exercise.

  • Take a walk to refill your water bottle
  • Stand up and do some stretching – ensure you change your environment and step away from the study zone for at least 5mins every hour.

Don’t forget – as a UC Student, you have a free RecCentre membership and access the Rec&Sport app, which has loads of at home activities to try.   This is funded by your study levy, so there’s nothing to lose!  Sign up today (there’s not cost) and start moving!

Ngā mihi
Te Ratonga Hākinakina | UC Rec&Sport

Feeling Overwhlemed?

As deadlines for assignments and exams approach, it’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed. However, taking a break to prioritise your wellbeing is crucial for your success. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of acing those assessments!

To prepare for exams effectively, it’s essential to take regular breaks and schedule rewards and downtime during your study day. Taking a walk outside or talking to a friend for 10 minutes every hour can refresh your mind and leave you feeling relaxed for your next study session.

Additionally, managing your stress and nerves by keeping things in perspective is key. Remember that your exam success does not define you as a person. Preparing in an organised manner and avoiding procrastination can decrease nerves and increase confidence levels when stepping into an exam. Adopting good habits such as consuming brain food and staying hydrated will also improve your performance and engagement levels.

There are plenty of ways to take care of yourself, whether it’s by exercising, connecting with friends and family, or simply taking deep breaths.

Visit the Support and Wellbeing page for a range of info on anxiety, stress, study skills and fear of failure.

Need to talk? Reach out to our support services on campus.

Pathway closure between Science Road – University Drive

Users of the footpath between Science Road and University Drive will need to take an alternate route from Tuesday 4 June until Wednesday 26 June.

Work to widen the pathway to allow for more foot and bike traffic will be undertaken between those dates.

Contractors will be working from 7.30am and finish at 5pm daily and the footpath will be closed for the duration of the works.

Pathways on Science and Ilam roads, and University Drive will remain open and available as alternate routes during this period.

For any questions, please email


Ngā mihi,

Facilities Management Team