Attention all students! Sport Liverpool has given students full access to the Sport and Fitness Centre during exam season for 2 weeks starting from Monday (14th January) for free. This includes access to the gym, pool and all of the Centre’s fitness classes. But should you spend your time swimming, running or lifting weights, or cramming course content in the Sydney Jones? Here’s what science says:

Exercising could boost your memory:

Research in both children and adults has found that the hippocampus, the brain structure involved with consolidating information and learning, was often larger in volume in individuals who did aerobic exercise regularly compared to those who didn’t. With these findings, it is only further supporting other research done finding that exercise benefits brain function and cognition across humans’ lives. These studies have found changes in participants in the long term, but even in the short term, single bouts of physical exercise have been found to increase performance in cognitive tasks

Exercising can improve your mental health…

Although it’s definitely not the singular cure for mental health illnesses, aerobic exercise has been proven to have positive impacts on patients’ treatment and recovery. It has effectively treated mild and moderate depression, which is definitely promising, and has been found to have anti-anxiety inducing effects. Furthermore, a 2010 study of participants practicing yoga daily for 8 weeks found that, along with the participants reporting reductions in stress, brain scans showed that part of their amygdala shrunk, which is a part of the brain involved in processing anxiety, fear and stress.

…And relieve stress:

I know from experience how calming it can be to swim laps on end – the feeling of weightlessness and short repetitive actions can lull your mind into a meditative state, leaving you mentally recharged. Participants of a study conducted by Speedo seem to agree – 74% of those surveyed agreeing that swimming helps release stress and tension, and 70% agreed that it helps them to feel mentally refreshed.

Let’s face it – studying for hours on end isn’t going to get you very far if you don’t relax your brain and body so you can effectively take in information. The weather outside isn’t always the most enjoyable to take a relaxing stroll in, so why not head into the warm, dry indoor gym that is only a minute’s walk from either library? Go ahead! You won’t lose anything at all from taking advantage of this great opportunity!

The Sport and Fitness Centre will be free to access for all students for 2 weeks starting from the 14th of January, opening between 7-11am and 2-4pm. In order to access the offer, complete the online registration form that can be accessed here. More information can be found here.

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