How a run can help your revision

At this stage in revision season you’ve probably heard plenty of people say how important it is to take a break from the books.

That doesn’t mean drop everything and head to Magaluf with your family for a fortnight (save that for when the exams are over), but the advice still stands - you need to give yourself time off from cramming all those facts and figures.

So, what to do? Could a good run help before the nitty gritty of the exam timetable takes hold?

Running can be beneficial at times of exam stress.

First things first: exercising can increase your brain power. An experiment by the BBC’s Super Movers showed how 77% of primary schools which took part reported an increase in brain speed from pupils after they had taken part in exercise.

On top of that, runners themselves tend to agree that getting out in the fresh air can work wonders. Research from England Athletics and the mental health charity Mind shows how taking a break from the studies and heading out for a jog can do your mental wellbeing the power of good at a time when stress levels can be high.

74% of those surveyed as part of England Athletics’ #RunAndRevise programme said a run is good for their emotional health and well-being. 61% agreed that exercise relieves stress.

Don’t just take science’s word for it, though (although science’s word is important). These are the stories of young runners who found a release of exercise endorphins through their system was just what they needed at stressful times in their lives.

Hannah’s story

At the age of 19, Hannah Holliday was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and depression at the same time as she was training to be a teacher.

Running was great for Hannah's wellbeing after she had a series of breakdowns.

She says: “It was after my second breakdown that I went home and told my mum, 'I think I need to talk to someone’… I ended up on medication and underwent Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

“Following a really tough few months, I decided to do the unthinkable and sign up to a half marathon.

“With regular running to break up my studies, I completed my PGCE and am now a fully-fledged geography teacher. However, I will never forget how running helped me.

“I still run around five times a week and the rush it gives me really is phenomenal.”

Ben’s story

Twenty-one year-old Ben Mager was born eight weeks premature. Doctors discovered a brain haemmorhage, which led to Ben having cerebral palsy. At the age of 18, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, which meant a challenging start to his college years.

“During my first year at college, I really struggled with my confidence,” he says. “My epilepsy played a big part in this and would often make me feel depressed and give me a low mood.

“I started running in April 2018 whilst I was staying with my best friend and my godmother in Worcester because they had encouraged me to go with them.

“Having cerebral palsy, I didn’t know how I would manage or if I would even be able to run, but I can and I love how it makes me feel. When I came back home, I realised that it gave me a buzz and so I decided to start running more and each time I went running it made me feel positive.”

Ben found running helped him feel a lot better about himself

Lizzy’s story

By her final year at university, Lizzy Elleray was no stranger to running but it had stopped being part of her regular routine. She rekindled her love for it at the perfect time.

Lizzy rediscovered her love of running when university life became more stressful.

Lizzy explains: “I found that my mental health deteriorated when I started my final year of my degree in dentistry. I felt overwhelmed by the stress and work load and neglected running because I felt like I couldn’t fit it in to my schedule.

“After a couple of months, I tried to ensure that I fitted time in to go running with my club. I noticed that when I run regularly my mental health seems to improve.

“Running gives me a sense of fulfillment, running with friends and getting the endorphin feeling after physical exercise. I’ve learned that I cope better with stress when I exercise regularly.”

Remember, running alone won’t mean you'll ace your exams, but it could become a valuable part of your daily routine as those important dates loom.

To find out more about #RunAndRevise, visit the England Athletics website.

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