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The importance of exercising to relax

by Shreya – 21st Nov 2022

Growing up I always associated exercise with aimlessly running around a field with a hockey stick in my hands and, maybe because it was compulsory at school or because I had no idea what home workouts were or how to join a gym or even how beneficial a 30-minute walk could be. But it was when lockdown hit that I realised the importance of exercising to relax. Lockdown was a difficult and stressful time for many many people and as a GCSE student, I struggled to see an end to Covid as it felt never-ending. Suddenly the entire world shut down and I began to have an influx of thoughts flying around my mind every day.

I need to start revising for my GCSE’S… Will I even have exams?… I really hope I don’t get Covid… I want to see my friends.

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These thoughts began to severely affect my mood. I would get extremely moody and frustrated with how repetitive each day felt, I followed the same routine every single day. Wake up, eat breakfast then sit at my desk from 8:30-15:55. My family noticed my mood swings and they suggested going out on a short walk with some “nice calming music”. At first, I thought they were having a laugh but I hated being stuck inside all day and so, I decided to take their advice and I went for a walk.

After my walk, I got home and I realised I had an essay due online, even though I struggled to start it I realised that when I sat down to write it my mind was much clearer and my mental cogs began to turn as I started thinking about all the things I could write about. After that day I decided to go on walks every day and found my productivity levels rapidly increase as I could forget about school and everything worrying me for 30-45 minutes. It is important to note that just because I went on a 30-minute walk that doesn’t mean you have to too if you don’t want to. Finding out what works best for you is vital, and that might be a home workout or going on a run or even kicking a ball around for a bit with friends. The most important thing is that you keep active to the best of your abilities.

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Studies have found that stress reduces the brain’s ability to absorb and process information, which makes it harder for us to focus and concentrate, which can affect how well we do in exams and assignments. And whilst you may have learnt about stress tanks in school, we seem to forget how beneficial exercise can be in terms of coping with stress. Exercise boosts the body’s production of the happy hormone, also known as dopamine, which helps shape a happier and healthier mood. As well as releasing the happy hormone, exercise is commonly known as nature’s mood elevator as working out releases endorphins which work to boost your mood. Going out for a 30-minute run can have an immense impact on your mental and physical state, especially when you’ve been sitting in a gloomy classroom all day.

Exercise acted as a distraction for me during an extremely difficult time as it helped me effectively manage all my school work whilst also boosting my mood immensely. We all have bad days and that is normal because we are human, exercise can help you feel happier and motivated even on days when you feel a bit down.

Find out more about keeping active

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