As lazy, summer lie-ins are replaced by early starts and more rigid routines, students could be forgiven for not being at their responsive best as autumn's academic term begins. Not so, says the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), who declares exercise is the perfect antidote for students' post holiday low energy woes.
REPs, a national register, which recognises the qualifications and expertise of health enhancing professionals in the UK, believes that following a simple programme of exercise could be all it takes to improve student concentration, boost energy levels and ensure that teachers, and lecturers alike, aren't faced with a classroom full of blank, expressionless faces.
Greg Small, Operations Manager for SkillsActive, the sector skills council that owns and operates REPS, says, "We've all been there, after a long, enjoyable summer holiday, the return to academia isn't something that is always greeted fondly. Many students will find it very difficult to knuckle down initially and get back into the swing of things, simply as a result of tiredness. But exercise will enable them to fight fatigue, boost energy and aid their concentration. This goes for students of all ages, from primary level all the way through to this year's flock of university Freshers."
Under the tutelage of a REPs accredited exercise instructor, regular, moderately intense exercise is a key strategy in combating fatigue and, in turn, increasing concentration. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure level, whilst improving energy and lifting mood, all of which contribute to brain health.
Whilst REPs would always recommend that people exercise under the supervision of a fully qualified and accredited exercise professional, Greg states that even walking or biking to school, where safe, could ensure students are more receptive in the classroom.
Greg says, "In an ideal world we'd get students up and exercising for a short period before class, just to get their bodies moving and, in turn, their minds engaged. Not only does exercise decrease stress hormones but it also increases endorphins which is the body's natural feel good chemicals. When these are released through exercise your mood is naturally boosted and, in turn, you become more alert and responsive"