Physical Benefits of Exercise

Beyond the Physical Benefits of Exercise

When people think about exercise, they always jump to the physical benefits it provides for you. The more you run, the more weight you will lose. The more weights you lift, the stronger you will be become. Although these points are true, it is also important to remember the mental benefits that come with exercise.

With midterm grades upon us, we find ourselves cramped in our dorms or the library writing papers and studying for seemingly never-ending tests. While doing this, we will usually eat easily accessible food, which is never super healthy. This lack of movement and gross intake of processed food leaves you feeling drained and unmotivated.

Although going out for a run or hitting the gym may be the last thing you feel like doing while drowning in work, it could be the best thing for you. With the weather being as crazy as it is, take advantage of those random warm days and get some fresh air!

Getting out of the stuffiness of a dorm and being able to stretch your legs after hours crammed at a desk is the best feeling. You’ll return feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on whatever the rest of the day holds.

Graduate Faculty and Department Chair of the English department Susan Goulding Ph.D. runs every day. “Most weeks, I run 30-60 minutes a day, longer on weekends… I almost always run in the morning after reading the paper, looking at my email and walking the dog. A morning run gives me a chance to organize my day, and sort of take a deep breath before going into work,” she said, “…[running] is a treat, and not a chore, and I feel more energized and focused after a good run.”

The gym on campus is another great place to go to clear your head and get in a good work out. A junior nursing student Amy Czerepak shared her thoughts. “I go to the gym almost every day and do predominately weight lifting with some cardio afterwards. I find it extremely stress relieving and a good way to clear my head and just focus on me,” she said.

Working out is also a great way to combat anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that give you energy and a greater sense of well-being. If anxiety is something you struggle with, going for a run while really focusing instead of zoning out is a very meditative technique that can help you be more mindful.

While you are on your run, notice the breeze hitting you and how it feels on your skin. Notice the sensation your legs feel when your feet hit the ground, and be aware of the rhythm of your breathing. By focusing on these things in a very mindful and present way, you will be able to block out all the worries and triggers you had when you started feeling anxious.

Another major mental benefit or exercise is the self-esteem boost it provides. When you go to the gym or go for a run, you are actively working to better yourself. By doing this, you will look in the mirror differently; you will see someone you are proud of and someone who cares about themselves. Although it may suck to be sore the next day, it’s a good reminder of all the hard work you did the day before!

A senior photography student Hunter Cox shared her experience with exercise. “Yoga has been a big game changer for me,” she starts. “I practice every day in my apartment along with various other simple exercises. It keeps me in shape along with helping relieve stress and give me the confidence boost I sometimes need.”

So, whether you run, go to the gym, or go to yoga, exercise does so much for you beyond helping you physically. It boosts your mood, your energy and overall confidence. Put your books down, take a study break, and get out there!

PHOTO TAKEN by Campbell Lee