Reagan Earnst" />
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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Exercise can reduce stress, improve health

Like most college students, stress is something I have become all too acquainted with over the last three years.

Balancing a full course load, my position as The Cougar’s sports editor and an internship while commuting 60 miles per day, it’s easy to feel that there are not enough hours in a day.

Like many, I struggle to relax in my free time because I know I probably need to work on something. My unwanted addiction to productivity leaves my mind racing and restless even in downtime.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is the body’s response to elements in the environment. Although not all of it is bad, chronic stress — experienced by many college students — can actually suppress some of your body’s vital functions. The more research that is conducted on this issue, the more we learn how detrimental stress can be to your well-being.

As I get older and take on more responsibilities, I realize the importance of minimizing stress in my life. When it mounts, which is essentially everyday, I have to find a way to unwind while also being productive.

For me, the solution is simple: exercise.

A late-night workout is the perfect way to let off steam while also improving your health across an array of areas.

When you embark on a late-night run or head to the gym to lift some weights, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins that boost your mood. They have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem and improve your sleep — effects that can benefit all college students.

However, making yourself exercise when you know you are busy is no easy task.

There are many times per week where my mind attempts to talk my body out of going to the gym. Sometimes it succeeds, but by learning to make exercise a habit you can greatly help your physical and mental health in the long run.

A good way to form consistent workout habits is to find the time of day that works best for you.

Some people thrive by waking up early and exercising. The endorphin hit in the morning boosts their productivity throughout the day and leaves them exhausted and ready to sleep by night.

For those whose schedules allow, a midday workout can gives them the energy and mood boost they need to get through the rest of their day.

There are also those people who, like myself, use a late workout to cap off their day. By ending the stressful day with exercise, you can clear your head and mentally prepare for the next day. Not to mention you will sleep great when you get home.

Turning exercise from a dreaded task to an everyday habit will increase your overall quality of life. Not only will your appearance improve, but your mind will thank you for your new routine.

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