Page 5 - Hymers Review Lent Term 18/19
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Studies in America and Canada show that replacing academic lessons with physical activity has a positive impact on test scores, as do higher levels of physical fitness. California schools conclusively show that participation in the daily FitnessGram programme improves body mass and aerobic fitness, and also correlates with improved scores on standardised tests. The PE4Life programme participants improved test scores by on average 18%. Surely if a revision guide could be shown to have this degree of impact on exam performance, there would be a queue down the street to WHSmith to buy it!
But it doesn’t finish there. At a time when mental health issues are an increasing concern in schools, exercise reduces anxiety through Seratonin production, and controls the production of the stressor cortisol, which is at the root of depression and other forms of stress. A cause of depression is low levels of BDNF, which allow cortisol to shrink the hippocampus - by up to an amazing 15%.
A growing area of interest for researchers in this field has been exploring the emotional importance of remaining involved with peer groups and teammates during the exam season. The shared experiences and empathy from friends within a team who are undergoing the same kind of stresses creates a degree of calmness and reassurance which helps to alleviate tension at a key time in an adolescent’s life. Moreover, the value of a shared commitment as part of a team competing in a fixture, tournament, regatta, etc. generates greater balance and meaning to young people’s lives. Exam success is undoubtedly an important aspect of school life which greatly influences future opportunities but the pursuit of such success should not be to the detriment of one’s emotional
and mental health, nor should it be seen as the only indicator of success and progress.
It is also important to retain perspective, especially for the younger age groups, where end of year exams are simply an indicator of progress – not a judgement on one’s future academic success. Participating in school fixtures and events is normal for all teenagers and should not be seen as something to give up to focus exclusively on exams and tests. As with most things in life, there is nothing wrong with a bit of balance.
A recent article from The Telegraph supports the importance of playing sport throughout exam season; you can read it here:
David Elstone
Sunday 23rd June 2019 Hymers College Grounds 9.00am - 4.00pm
£10.00 per person
Please email for an entry form and information pack. 5

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