When you hear the word “exercise,” do you get turned off or does it motivate you? To many people exercising sounds like it needs to be an intense workout session or a five-mile run. But in reality, any kind of workout that you can incorporate into your day can have extremely great benefits to both your health and your academics.
As finals week approaches and the days become darker, it’s easy for students to succumb to burnout and fatigue. Today’s college students are displaying conditions of anxiety and depression at alarming rates and while it is not the full answer, having exercise built into your lifestyle can help give yourself a mental boost.
As college students, it’s easy to get wrapped up in busy work and social schedules and not make exercising a priority. In middle school and high school, sports and Physical Education were incorporated into students’ schedules, making it quite simple to get some sort of daily exercise – often without even realizing it. From intensive dodgeball tournaments during P.E., to after school sports practices, students had time to shift their focus away from school and onto something that was less stressful and could ease their minds. College, however, meant finding ways to exercise would be completely dependent on your own time and willingness to do so.
However, finding ways to exercise in college falls on us and is completely dependent on our own time and willingness to incorporate it into our schedules.
Integrating a workout into your day, let alone your week, can completely turn your attitude around. Physical exercise has a direct impact on your brain because your body releases chemicals called endorphins during physical activity. Endorphins trigger feelings of positivity that are similar to morphine, which can give us energy and a positive outlook on life. Studies have shown that even smaller, less intense workouts, such as a 20-minute run, have huge mental health benefits that include sleeping better at night and having sharper memories, which as we know is critical for our college schoolwork.
Integrating a workout into your day, let alone your week, can completely turn your attitude around.
Yoga is one type of exercise that also comes with a host of benefits. It not only provides the opportunity to focus on your breath, but it can also have the same benefits of improving your mental health as any other more intensive workout. Countless studies show the correlation between yoga and the natural reduction of stress, anxiety and depression without needing any medication. Yoga decreases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that impacts your levels of serotonin, which is highly linked to anxiety and depression. There are several incredible yoga studios near campus to try out, such as Corepower on the Hill, Bulldog Yoga and Amana Yoga, as well as yoga classes offered at the Recreation Center.
Joining an intramural sports team is also a great way to incorporate both exercise and socialization. Finding a sport that takes your mind off of the little things that consume us can make working out fun, stress-free and provide a change of space. It also gives you a chance to meet other students at CU. Some of the sports offered at the rec center include volleyball, soccer, and basketball.
Whether it be for a walk, run or hike, getting outdoors is a great way to add a workout in your day. It gives you a chance to disconnect and be in a more meditative state of mind. Being active outdoors is also known to reduce stress or anxiety you might be feeling.
If you sit in the library for hours or stare at your computer screen for too long, you might start to feel exhausted and lose all motivation. Looking at a computer screen can wreak havoc on your body with symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches and neck and back pain. It’s important to break up your day with a workout that feels right for you to avoid experiencing these negative effects.
Exercising might not seem ideal at any given time, but these studies can reassure you that making the effort to work out can have lasting impacts and relieve stress in school. Once you have the chance to clear your mind and have some time away from screen time and schoolwork, you can come back to what you were doing with fresh motivation.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Brooke Perlman at firstname.lastname@example.org