It’s hardly a ground-breaking statement to make to say that physical exercise has many benefits. People obviously understand that regular activity is good for our physical health. The benefits to our mental well-being from being active are hardly a surprise to the general public either. All of this is common knowledge.
So, it’s perhaps a little surprising that a link between the benefits of exercise and exam revision hasn’t been made sooner – or more often. Now, England Athletics has launched a scheme – the first of its kind – that encourages pupils to take a break from revision and to go for a run to give their physical and mental health a boost.
The scheme – #RunAndRevise – is aimed at young people aged 16-25, and so is targeting not just at GCSE pupils, but also students revising for A levels and university exams as well. Students can take part by running a mile or more as part of a RunTogether group, by joining an England Athletics club – or simply by themselves.
Revision notes swapped for running shoes
The #RunandRevise campaign itself has been scheduled for 13-19 May, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. Many schools, colleges and universities have organised runs, under the RunTogether banner, to get students involved. However, students are encouraged to run throughout the exam season to beat stress – and at any point during the year too.
It is hoped that young people will see the massive social element and benefit that running can bring, as well as getting people to start talking about mental health too. As part of the campaign, England Athletics will also be offering information and contact details about the various mental health services that young people can access.
Being active can protect from anxiety and depression
Young runners have spoken about how they found to be a great stress relief that takes the mind off the pressure of exams. Medical professionals have also pointed to research that suggests that being active can serve as protection from anxiety and depression and helps to keep these types of mental health issues at bay.
Research also shows that, not only does physical exercise reduce stress levels, it can actually boost concentration too – obviously a great help during exam season.
Build physical activity into revision breaks
Of course, for those students who feel that running a mile or more is not for them, the message is clear: any type of physical activity is good for you. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a walk with the dog or a visit to the gym, the main thing is that people get away from the desk and get active.
The #RunAndRevise scheme really is win-win. It’s great that it will encourage to more people to take up running. It’s fantastic that it will get more people to have conversations about mental health – and it’s also very important that all young people revising at this time of year realise that any sort of physical activity is something that should be on everybody’s revision timetables.