Good posture

Good posture for exam success

For many children and young people sitting in a classroom or revising at a desk at home, back and neck pain can be a common issue.  As schools and colleges across the UK start exam preparations, here are a few ways you can help your child avoid poor posture, neck pain and relive a bit of that exam stress.

How to create a positive space at home to study

Writing Posture

It is easy to forget when you are concentrating on revision but it’s important to take care of your posture when writing. We have a tendency to slump forward with the upper back and neck when resting on a desk to write. This poor posture overuses muscles and increases the load on the cervical spine. Try to keep your back straight and your shoulders aligned. 

Chair height

Try to ensure the height of the chair is appropriate for the height of the desk or table to promote good posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your elbows should be in an open position with your wrists and hands straight and supported by the desk.

Move around

Take breaks from studying. Encourage your child to move around at regular intervals during their study sessions.

Tip: instead of using a large water bottle, have a small glass that you need to refill. This will encourage you to move and take a break.

Let some air in

Make sure you open a window to let the air circulate.  Breathing in fresh air sends more oxygen to your brain, meaning your brain will find it easier to think clearly and work more effectively.

Get outside

Encourage your child to take a walk around the block or a short run before settling down for a study session. The benefits of exercise are widely known to encourage mental agility and it is a healthy way to start the day and brighten their mood.

Take some time to breathe

Breathing techniques are an easy way to help calm you down if you are feeling nervous or anxious. They work by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system and reducing cortisol. Here are two methods for you to try:

Alternate Nostril breathing

Resting your right middle finger on the bridge of your nose, your thumb, index and ring finger on either side of the bridge of your nose. Use your ring finger to close your left nostril and breathe in through your right nostril for the count of four, hold your breath for the count of four, then using your thumb to block your right nostril, breathe out through the left nostril for the count of four. Pause for a moment before taking the next inhalation. Repeat ten times on each nostril.

Equal to longer exhalation breathing

Put one hand on your belly and take a deep breath in for the count of four. You should feel your belly rise on the in-breath. Breathe out for the count of four, your belly should lower under your hand and return to its original position. Repeat cycle five times. Then take a deep breath in for the count of four and breathe out slowly for the count of six. Do this three times, then try and increase the outbreath each time aiming to get to a count of eight. Take it at your own pace and don’t worry if you can’t exhale for up to the count of eight when you start.

Healthy body = healthy mind

Drink plenty of water

Keep your body hydrated during revision and exams as it improves your level of attention.

Eat well

Try to avoid junk food as much as possible (which can be hard in times of stress!), and aim to eat healthily. Whole grains, nuts, berries, and even dark chocolate can help you perform better. Other brain food suggestions are oily fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, peanut butter, green tea, and fresh fruit.

Make sure you get enough sleep

Getting a good nights sleep improves your memory recall. Make sure to get at least 8 hours the day before your exam. Your brain would otherwise not be able to perform at its best capacity. Cramming in the entire subject the night before will definitely not make you perform better. So plan your revision wisely and get enough sleep the day before.

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