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The exam period is the most stressful time of many teenagers’ lives. Because of this, many students and parents believe that all their time and effort should go into revision and studying in order to maximise their preparedness for the exams. This means that pupils stop playing school and club sport, thinking it benefits them to spend more time revising. Obviously, it helps having as much time to revise as possible, however there are distinct benefits to continuing with sport during the exam period, and I believe everyone should exercise during this time. Hence, I won’t be stopping sport in the future. My title may seem a little deceiving, but I am not saying you don’t need to revise, more that you shouldn’t put all your time and effort into work during such a nerve-racking time.

A recent study by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee of about 5,000 teenagers, found a correlation between playing sport and exam success in English, Maths and Science. The recommended amount of exercise for a teenager every day is set at 60 minutes, however in this day and age, with the increase in technology and more children being hooked on video games, most of the students were found to be well below the recommended level. This led to speculation about what may happen if they got the suggested amount every day. The authors of the study claimed that it was possible that the children who carried out an hour of exercise every day could improve their academic performance by a full grade. Dr Josie Booth, one of the leading authors of the study, stated that ‘physical activity is more than just important for your physical health’.

One of the biggest benefits of continuing exercise and sport, apart from a break, is that it releases various different hormones and chemicals in the body that are very beneficial to your studying. Firstly, the release of serotonin is involved in regulating your sleep cycles and boosting your mood. When it comes to the exam period, everyone needs a boost of morale, and what better way than getting onto a sports field. Dopamine is a hormone that positively influences learning and gives you an improved attention span, which for many people, myself included, can be a very good thing to have. The hormone epinephrine, stimulated by exercise, increases your awareness and therefore your ability to concentrate. These hormones, coupled with an increased blood flow to the brain, improves the cognitive function and the ability to focus for longer time periods, helping with higher quality revision. Moreover, there has also been evidence correlating exercise with the ability to do different things at the same time, giving people higher and improved mental processes of memory.

With around 6 months before the next set of exams begin for 15-18 year olds, lots of teenagers will be thinking about the best and most efficient way to revise in order to get the best results they can, I can assure you it is not by quitting sport.