All throughout high school, I was very active. I always played sports, and made it a point to go to the gym. Now that I am in college, I cannot say that my healthy habits followed me here. It is difficult to fit the gym in, as I am still adjusting to my new schedule. I was telling my mom that I have not been working out as much as I use to, and she went off on a lecture about how working out will help elevate my mood. Taking her concern into consideration, I did remember that I was a lot less stressed in high school, ultimately contributing to me usually being in a great mood. As I thought about this, I wondered if it was due to my lack of exercise, or was it just because college was more difficult than high school?
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that exercise has quite an effect on various aspects of our lives. In addition to reducing stress, exercise has been shown to minimize fatigue, strengthen alertness, and boast overall cognitive function for those who engage in it regularly. The ADAA conducted a poll in order to find out just how many people engage in physical activity to reduce stress, or boost mood. They found that fourteen percent of people turn to exercise to deal with stress, and others turn to alternate activities such as watching TV, or sleeping. In addition, the ADAA sought to find what type of physical activity regular exercisers engaged in. The most popular forms of exercises were running, and walking. I believe this may be because they are the two most accessible forms of physical activity.
So why does exercise have this calming effect on our bodies? When one subjects them self to physical exercise, the body releases natural endorphins, which are our bodies’ natural form of pain relievers. They are the cause of the surge of energy one feels after exercising, for example, a “runner’s high”. Endorphins are not only released after exercise, they can also be released after participating in alternate activities, such as laughing, or receiving acupuncture.
After discovering this article, it is clear that there are many ways to eliminate stress as a college student. To me I definitely think exercise is the best option. It has physical benefits, as well as mental benefits that would greatly effect me as a college student trying to adjust to this new way of life. I now see how important it is to get back into my old habit of working out on a daily basis!