Sunday 21 December 2014

Staying healthy and exercising will help you make the grade in exams

Karl Henry

Published 27/05/2014 | 02:30

Karl Henry urges students to stay fit and healthy.
Karl Henry urges students to stay fit and healthy.

THE Leaving and Junior Cert can be very stressful times – and it's exactly these times when you need to be as healthy as possible, eating properly and getting some exercise.

We know that by lowering the stress levels, through exercise and healthy eating, you will study more productively, sleep better, perform better in the exams and find the whole experience much easier in general.

Firstly, let's look at the food element, which is incredibly important.

What you put into your body will directly influence everything to do with your exams, and it is sugar that you should be looking out for.

Naturally, when stressed, the body seems to crave sugar-dense foods such as fizzy drinks and processed foods. These foods will spike your concentration and energy for a short time, but increase fatigue in the long run.

This also has effects on your skin, sleep and your mood too. Ideally, you should be aiming for more real, natural and wholegrain foods as they will give you more energy throughout the day.

Combine this with more water throughout the day and you will notice a big difference in terms of your study, concentration and how you feel generally.

The second element is exercise. This is one of the best ways to deal with stress generally as your body produces endorphins, the happy hormone, that will leave you feeling re-energised and give you the ability to focus again on your topic of study.

The most important part of the exercise is to ensure that you are getting slightly out of breath when you are doing it.

So, if you're going for a walk, ensure that you are walking fast enough to get slightly out of breath. This is the best stress-busting zone and will give you the most benefits.

So many students stop exercising around the time of exams, yet this is the most important time to exercise. It's the very time that you need to get outside, get some fresh air and release some endorphins too.

The third element is planning. You need to sit down and build a plan of action to take you through the next few weeks. Sit down with a pen and paper and schedule in your next few weeks in terms of exams, even on a daily basis so that you have a study timetable.

But don't forget to add some exercise time into that timetable. When I was studying I used to do 40 minutes of study followed by 20 minutes of downtime, to eat/chill/exercise, as these times worked best for my concentration.

Each person may be different but by scheduling in your study, rest, exercise and everything else, all of a sudden it won't feel as scary.

It will seem within reach and you will be so much more productive too.

The very best of luck in your study and exams – implement these tips and watch the effects on your study.

Health & Living

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