'Exam season leaves teenagers depressed – could swimming be the answer?'

Children from Stradbroke Primary School in Sheffield during the Sainsbury's School Games Roadshow at

Swimming can relieve stress and anxiety - Credit: PA

As we come into the exam season, many of us teenagers are reminded of the anxiety that dogged us through the Covid period.

For many, exam season is incredibly stressful, leaving teenagers at a loss and very depressed. Nervous tension needs to be alleviated in some form. With the weather becoming warmer, swimming could be the answer. 

Studies show that swimming can reduce anxiety and actually make you cleverer. In both the long term and the short term, swimming can help brain function. In particular, swimming can stimulate the mind for up to three hours, studies have found, which can help to boost exam performance.

Swimming has been around for thousands of years. According to the NHS, it can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and it also helps your overall psychological state. 

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 2 Undated file photo of students sitting an exam. The GCSE syst

Exam season can remind teenagers of the anxiety felt during Covid - Credit: PA

A scientific study by the Griffith Institute for Educational Research, in Australia, found that children who learn to swim earlier often achieve academic success earlier. Swimming stimulates people and increases their emotional development.

Teenagers' mental health issues have been rising and swimming can help others as it has helped me. Many clubs, such as Haringey Aquatics (originating in 1948), have been encouraging children explore and enjoy swimming for decades. 

Although the Covid restrictions have been lifted, it does not mean that the virus has vanished. In fact cases are on the rise again. One of the new benefits of swimming is that it does not transmit the coronavirus.  

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Due to Covid, countless people, especially people of my age, have become used to being stuck indoors and have had to conjure up energy just get out of the house. 

However, slowly this is changing. Taking a swim is a chance to be with friends, exercise and improve the mental state which has, for most, been greatly affected by the pandemic.

Much as swimming is a positive factor for wellbeing, the health of leisure centres has not been good. Almost a third of council leisure centres are closing (BBC data), so it is important to support our local centres while helping ourselves stay active.  

High academic standards are essential, but so are mental health standards as one is not attainable without the other.  

I hope that your exams go swimmingly.      

Melissa is a 13-years-old north London student.