We get it – it can be really, really difficult to find time in your schedule for exercise when you’ve just had to move all kinds of commitments around to accommodate test prep. But exercise can play a vital role in keeping your mind sharp — even if a short, twenty-minute session is all you can give in a 24-hour day. Even when you’re in the trenches of the library, make sure to find some time to hit the gym. Why should you build exercise into your test prep schedule?
1. Correlation between fitness and test scores
Scientists have found that a positive relationship exists between kids who are fit and their test scores. Research demonstrates that fit kids have more activity in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, which helps with executive brain functioning and other brain processes.
2. Improved concentration and attention
Exercise helps stimulate the hormone epinephrine, which in turn helps heighten awareness and improves concentration and attention. There’s a reason why so many education experts recommend recess for kids, and it’s not just because recess gets kids to run off steam – physical activity can help students focus!
3. Reduced stress
We all know that studying for a major test that can have an impact on your future education and career is, in a word, stressful! Exercise releases endorphins, or “happy hormones,” into your body. Endorphins help diminish the physical toll that stress can take.
4. Strengthened immune response
When you exercise, you strengthen your immune system, and it becomes better able to attack harmful bacteria that can make you sick. No one wants to take two weeks out of their study schedule to recover from the flu or a bad cold!
5. Better sleep
If you can remember the last time you had a bad night’s sleep, you probably recall that the next day felt sluggish and foggy. Experts claim that exercise can help you sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time, thus boosting your alertness and focus during the day. Of course, a study session that you’re fully awake for will be much more effective than one where you’re trying to catch up on sleep from the night before! Just make sure you get your exercise in at least three hours before bed; otherwise, you may find it more difficult to get sleep.
About the Author:
Catherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.