If You Want to Feel Better, Get Some Exercise



Unsplash:Alexander Redl

Running is a simple activity that helps blood flow and reduces stress.

Kahmyn Kovac, Staff Writer

Students have a lot of stress. Physical activities such as sports help me as a student. I have to deal with studying and making sure all of my school work is done and that my grades are at peak performance. 

As a student-athlete, sports such as football provide me with the opportunity to relieve my stress with activities like lifting weights, competing with teammates, and attending practices. 

People constantly talk about how stressful junior year is, but for me, I’ve already done the things needed to graduate such as the Capstone project. I’m preparing myself for the SAT that I’m taking in April.

Even though school feels like a constant task that is always stressful to me, rather than learning about something fascinating, lifting weights helps me tolerate certain aspects of school. After a long seven hours of sitting in a classroom, going to the gym for half an hour and working out refreshes my mood for the day.  

Taking a trip up to Red Rocks and running the stairs is great physical exercise. (Unsplash:Clique Images)

Even a non-athlete can get exercise too.  Students can do activities such as hiking. It releases stress and helps take your mind off certain things such as school and life. 

Going on a walk with a friend or an adventure into the woods mentally helps. I get to talk about my life with someone and create solutions to issues. Getting fresh air and a breeze is nice too. 

Sometimes life may beat you down. During COVID lockdowns and restrictions, I was going through a very difficult time mentally. Working out and going outside, just to take in the Colorado weather, led to great relief. 

According to the US National Library of Health, “Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression. These improvements in mood are proposed to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress.”

Sometimes sports do take a mental toll for some students, though. During my freshman year of football, I genuinely wanted to stop because of how hard I was working, and it wasn’t paying off. This burnout was very hard to get over, but when it’s over you feel great fulfillment from succeeding at something that was mentally draining.

According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, burnout happens due to chronic stress in people. Identifying it at earlier stages helps prevent serious stages. Preventing later stages includes taking a break, doing something a person enjoys, and relaxing when the opportunity is given. 

Mentally, sometimes things are tough, but going out and doing something physical and working your body is a great way of relieving stress and, overall, can be a great coping mechanism.