Exercise For College Students | Avoid The Freshman 15!
Exercise is important for everyone and has a number of benefits such as weight loss, lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease. This week’s post by Sarah deals with the importance of exercise for college students and how it reduces stress levels.
I don’t know about everyone else, but when I get stressed, I like to eat my problems away. The only problem with that is weight gain and stomach aches! What’s worse, when I’m stressed I’m also extremely busy which means no time for exercise.
Exercise For College Students | Avoiding the Freshman 15
Food and time are culprits associated with the freshman 15. When I’m low on time and my appetite is at its peak, exercise is the lowest priority. I always make excuses, exercise takes away from my homework, job, friends, relaxation and/or class time. But these excuses are not true and they should not get in your way from physical and mental health.
Exercise for college students is actually a great way to curb food cravings. Most of the time I eat when I’m bored and/or stressed. Exercise allows me to both relax and in some cases take up time. (Although it’s rarely the latter). Not only is exercise important for physical well-being, but it also helps to create a mental health that can be felt the more you exercise along with how, where, and with whom.
Make Exercise A Group Effort
If you want to hang out with friends, one of the best things to do is some form of exercise. That does not mean you have to go to the gym and lift weights or do yoga. You can also grab a Frisbee or soccer ball and play for half an hour before dinner. Every little bit helps.
Intensive workouts are always good, but not always possible. Playing sports with a group of friends is a great way to de-stress and have fun with friends. Additionally, friends can also offer encouragement. If you have a workout friend, they can help you exercise even on those days you feel lazy or too busy. Talking through a workout can make it go by faster and seem more pleasant during those intensive workouts.
Using Exercise For a Mental Recharge
Sometimes working out by yourself can be just as beneficial as hanging out with friends. Listening to my favorite songs while dance-running is one of my favorite things to do. I can literally shake off all of my worries and just concentrate on running and jamming to the music. A thirty-minute jog also gives me more energy to make it through the rest of the day. On the other hand, if I’m having a rough time with a concept or paper, running helps me organize my thoughts.
If you don’t like playing sports or jogging, there are plenty of other activities you can do. Even taking a leisurely walk or bike ride is great exercise. On a college campus there are also many other activities to do. For instance, every Saturday, a group of friends and I go to ice skating, and on Thursday we take swing dance lessons. These are exercises disguised as a great time and learning experience.
Exercising Alone or With Friends…which is better?
When it comes to exercise for college students, I am no health expert, so I decided to look up an article by an actual expert in the field.
Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP along with many of his M.D. students wrote an article entitled , “Exercising with an iPod, Friend, or Neither: Which is Better for Psychological Benefits?” relating the benefits of different types of exercise. In their introduction, they explain the conditions and purpose of the experiment.
They tested 229 students and had them exercise for twenty minutes inside or outside with a friend or listening to their iPod. “Results: Exercising in control conditions indoors resulted in a more relaxed and calm response. Exercising outdoors was more enjoyable and resulted in less tension and stress. Conclusions: Exercise environment impacts psychological benefits of exercise.”
The most important thing to take away from this article is that no matter what you do or where, there is a benefit to exercise for college students. If you are stressed, exercise may be the last thing you have time for, but only twenty minutes of exercise is proven to calm and relieve someone, so fit in a few exercises weekly to help yourself relax!
 Plante T, Gustafson C, Brecht C, Imberi J, Sanchez J. Exercising with an iPod, Friend, or Neither: Which is Better for Psychological Benefits?. American Journal Of Health Behavior [serial online]. March 2011;35(2):199-208. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed April 1, 2012.