Physical Activity & Scholarly Capability

Physical activity is something many students find tricky to carve out time for due to other priorities or interests. It is totally okay to prefer video games and reading over running and lifting weights, but there is a perk regarding physical activity. I believe that a secret ingredient to success inside the classroom is participating in physical activities outside the classroom.

Don’t be mistaken, doing physical activity is not a “get out of jail for free” card to not do schoolwork. Students obviously must do homework, complete essays, and study for exams if they want to thrive as scholars. Still, there are other factors that come into play in order to succeed in the classroom. All these factors can be improved upon if physical activity is a part of a student’s weekly schedule.

As a person that used to not go to the gym but now does on a regular basis, I can say that I have noticed more success in the classroom since I decided to participate in more physical activity. I looked deeper into exactly why this was and quickly realized any form of physical activity is not only great for a person’s physical well being, but it is also a key aspect to help improve mental health.

In college it is quite normal for students to go through moments where they might feel different levels of stress and anxiety. Going to take an exam or standing in front of the class for a presentation with these types of emotions will never help a student; it’s only a recipe for disaster. Participating in physical activity is one the most efficient and natural ways the body can release these negative emotions.

Many college students have found physical activity as a great way to relieve these types of negative feelings including Ben Vandenacker, a junior business student. Vandenakker said, “When I exercise, it helps mitigate anxiety and produces serotonin, making my day way more stress-free than it would have been if I wasn’t physically active.” Serotonin sends signals throughout the body using nerve cells. The signals that get sent naturally make a person’s mood become more positive.

Tiago Ribero, a sophomore political science student, who avidly goes to the gym, said, “My school performance would plummet if I did not go to the gym for a few weeks, simply because I would feel more anxious.”

He added, “I believe I would have a lot more stress built up that I would not be able to get rid of through physical activity.”

It is true that many people would rather not participate in lifting weights or playing a sport. However, this does not mean you can’t find other ways to be physically active. For example, Leila Carl, a junior business student, said, “After I go on a run or walk, although I am physically tired, I usually feel somewhat refreshed. No matter the distance or pace, I think I feel good afterwards because I feel productive and proud of myself. This helps with the stress I get from school, as I am able to clear my head.” This proves that simple forms of physical activity, like walking outside, can make someone feel excellent and more mentally prepared for classes.

Physical activity can help someone feel more productive because it holds them to a healthy and balanced schedule. When getting physically active, Carl said, “I feel better about myself. The feeling of being productive makes me feel more motivated to complete more assignments and have a good day.”
Ribero added, “Physical activity makes me more relaxed and keeps my head on straight, the gym is a good place to build self-discipline.”