A mile a day keeps the stress away.
The familiar view from the library’s second floor and numerous midterms, papers, and readings on your never ending to-do list. This is exactly what college students experience on a daily basis. The only possible outcome for too many tasks and not enough time? Stress.
It is difficult to avoid stress. College students in particular are easy targets for accumulating stress. The new environment college students are introduced to can lead to a breeding ground for stress. This is due to the surrounding potential stressors such as managing a social life, academics, new living conditions, and financial stability. Most people assume that these conditions contribute to obvious negative health effects such as lack of sleep, mental health disorders, and irregular eating patterns. However, while there are evident ways to tackle handling stress such as relaxation techniques or efficient time management, research shows that an increase in physical activity has a positive impact in combating stress.
How stress negatively affects you:
Before talking about ways to combat stress, it must be clear how stress can negatively impact you. Stress can affect people in all aspects. It can take its toll physically, mentally, or emotionally. Studies show that people who constantly experience stress have mood changes and can even begin to develop a lack of sympathy for others. More serious health effects would be irregular sleeping patterns and inconsistent eating habits. A person that is exposed to constant stress can later have detrimental side effects. This is why understanding that stress is not beneficial to a persons wellbeing is crucial in find ways to go against it.
How does physical activity impact stress?
Recent studies have tried to quantify the amount of physical activity it takes to reduce stress. The results show a strong relationship between the quantity of physical activity being exerted by the individual, and the change of stress rates. The more energy and sweat the exercise required, the lower the stress reported by the participants. Those who reported doing more physical activity throughout the week, said to have felt less stressed. This study interviewed its participants after being enrolled in a physical activity class. One girl said “My mind is quicker, meaning I am more effective and do homework quicker than normal.”. Many others said similar things, and wished they had taken a physical activity class sooner. Many others had similar feelings toward the physical activity class. Exercise serves as an outlet for college students because it helps take their minds off of everyday worries even if it’s for a small amount of time. However, physical activity isn’t for everyone. Some people are so used to being exposed stress, that a certain tolerance has grown. Stress tolerance makes it easier for one to become more calm during tough situations because they have learned to deal with stress.
How can this be used to benefit students?
Everyone remembers those middle school days when a PE class often entailed of a dodgeball tournament was the highlight of the day. Well there’s good news for all of you PE lovers, many universities require that a physical activity class is taken. According to recent research, in order to help promote a healthy lifestyle one should exercise at least 30 minutes each day for five days a week. Taking a class for physical activity is only adding to a greater well-being and a better state of mind for students. It will help destress students while also making them live a healthier life style.
In conclusion, stress is very prevalent amongst college students. However, that being said, stress does not always have to be a bad thing. People often forget that there are different methods to reduce stress. One that is often overlooked is engaging in physical activity. Although physical activity might not be the best solution for you, it should always serve as an alternative way to help with stress. As a college student one is limited to the resources that are to their disposal, but that should not limit you to find what works best for you.
So, next time you have too many meetings, deadlines to meet, exams to study for, and you’re feeling stressed about time, don’t forget to hit they gym even if it’s for 30 minutes. Remember that a mile a day, can keep the stress away.