Training through exams, why it makes sense and completely adds up!
Lots of people think that when exam time comes around they should ditch training to give some extra time to revise but is this realisitic and the best use of time.
I was at university until I was 30yrs old acquiring three degrees including a PhD on the way and have done a ton of exams, my wife who is a medic did exams every 6 weeks until she was 25 or so. In our household we know a lot about exam pressure and how to cope. We both started training martial arts at uni as under grads and trained all the way through all our respective examinations.
We found training a great way to de stress and leave the books behind for a few hours a week giving our brain a rest and our body a work out and overall leaving us happy and healthier for our important tests.
But how can this be.
Well in my opinion to succeed in exams you need three basic things;
good mental state
getting enough good quality sleep
The quality and length of our sleeps is directly related to our stress levels and physical training is directly linked to reducing stress levels in the body. Therefore doing regular exercise in exam periods and giving your mind some complete down time not only allows your brain some needed time off but when you return to study you are in a revitalised and refreshed state.
It is also widely acknowledged that exercise not only has a positive impact on our physical health, but it can also increase our self-esteem. Regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive influence on our self-esteem and self-worth, enriching our mental state and giving us that can-do attitude, which is so beneficial when facing any test.
Lastly to consider is time. Students (and parents) look at the time training takes away from prep and revision but is this just a flawed unrealistic view, let’s look at the science.
In a week there are 168 hours. Of which 8 per day on average you should be asleep (56 hours/ week). Therefore, we all should have 112 hours to eat/ exercise/ do anything else we need to do and yes revising is included.
Now if you train 2 hours a week that’s only just under 2% of your waking week.
Is giving up exercise over exam periods and getting this 2% really going to make time for more quality revision?
Especially when you look at the benefits of physical exercise with regards stress levels and better-quality sleep and also mental state and self-esteem.
As my American friends and colleagues say ‘do the math’ and don’t lose the mat over exam time as it just doesn't add up.