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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *