Skip to main content

How to Help Pupils Manage SAT’s Stress With Physical Activity

It is that time of year again, the SAT’s period. During May, hundreds of thousands of year 6 pupils across the country are undertaking their SATs tests.

SATs are generally the first time children will feel academic pressure from schools, teachers and parents. This time of year can cause many children to make themselves sick from worrying or feeling anxious and result in low self-esteem or lack of confidence.

There are many ways we can help pupils manage their emotions and promote better wellbeing during this tough period. One of the best ways to reduce SATs stress is physical activity.


Why does physical activity reduce stress in children?

  1. Endorphin Release– Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain. These endorphins act as a buffer against stress, promoting positive emotions.
  2. Break from Exam Prep– Physical activity is a great excuse to switch off from SATs, homework and school. It allows children to recharge mentally and physically.
  3. Social Interaction– Social isolation is common during stressful periods, especially during exam prep. Participating in physical activity is a great way to improve social interaction through group activities, building connections and positive support systems.
  4. Improved Sleep– Quality of sleep is essential for cognitive function and emotional well-being. Stress can disrupt sleep patterns which have a knock-on effect on mental and physical well-being. Physical activity regulates sleep cycles (healthy heart = healthy sleep) and increases relaxation, therefore, promoting better sleep.


How to Help Children Manage Their Mental Wellbeing Through Physical Activity?

Here are a few ideas you can introduce to your pupils that contribute to improved wellbeing.


  1. Incorporate Breaks– Encourage children to take short physical breaks during the day such as simple stretches, mini-dance parties or a quick outdoor walk.
  2. Yoga– Introduce children to age-appropriate yoga and breathing practices to promote deep relaxation and self-awareness. The low-impact exercise doesn’t require a lot of energy which makes it a great sport to do when pupils are tired or stressed.
  3. Team Sports– Engage children in team sports or group activities that involve social interactions such as tag rugby or obstacle courses. Team sports require pupil’s attention, making it a great distraction from school stress or worries.
  4. Active Commuting– If it is accessible, promote walking, scootering or cycling to and from school instead of driving. It is not just a good way to be active before the day begins, it gives parents an opportunity to chat with their children and communicate feelings. Sharing their worries and emotions allows parents and teachers to know how best to support the pupil.


Remember, the goal is to make physical activity an enjoyable and integrated part of children’s routines, helping them manage stress and manage a healthy balance during the SATs period.

Good luck to all pupils taking part in their SATs this year.

Please get in touch with us to see how we can help you.

Leave a Reply