Dealing with Stress:
Exercise is an important part of feeling good and dealing with lifeís
challenges. Recent scientific research indicates that exercise may play
an important role for functioning optimally both mentally and physically.
Because there are so many health benefits to vigorous exercise, you
may want to consider incorporating some form of exercise into your daily
The Benefits of Exercise
In recent years, evidence has accumulated
demonstrating the effectiveness of exercise in maintaining a healthy
body and mind.
exercise has been found to be effective in maintaining physical
and mental fitness. Exercise may reduce depression, enhance self-esteem,
and relieve anxiety. Regular exercise also has cardiovascular benefits.
It lowers blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, is ideal for weight
loss, and helps to reduce stress.
Regular exercise may be helpful
if you are feeling depressed. The Surgeon Generalís recent
report stated that exercise is effective in dealing with depression.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise alters mood and attitude.
Both aerobic and non-aerobic exercise have been demonstrated to
improve mood in men and women compared with those who did not exercise.
Exercise may reduce anxiety.
Anxiety often interferes with sleep and concentration. People who
exercise regularly demonstrate less anxiety than their sedentary
peers. Exercise produces a relaxation effect and a sense of well-being
that can last for up to four hours after a workout. For college
students, a well planned exercise program can enhance performance
and the enjoyment of school and personal activities.
combined with good nutrition, can help with weight loss and
maintenance. Weight loss improves physical appearance and enhances
self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of well-being. It also
offers the psychological benefits of looking and feeling healthy.
Exercise helps burn fat, even at rest, and allows lean muscle tissue
Keeping Stress in Check
Stress is the physical and mental
tension you feel when you are faced with change. Stress can attack your
self-esteem and lessen feelings of self-worth. Activities that allow
your muscles to relax or that expends large amounts of physical energy
can reduce stress. Controlling stress is an important part of success
in school, career, and relationships.
Starting Your Exercise Program
The U.S. Health Department recommends
increased and sustained cardiovascular elevation for 15-30 minutes,
3-4 times a week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends
20-60 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3-5 times a week for optimal fitness.
Recent studies have discovered that resistance exercise, such as weighlifting,
is important to any well-rounded fitness program.
Choosing the Type and Intensity of Exercise
Luckily, you do not need to train like
an Olympic athlete or join an expensive gym to benefit from exercise.
Choose exercises or activities that you enjoy. It is much more likely
that you will stick with an activity that you like. You can even make
it a social event by inviting friends to share in the activity. Be consistent.
Inconsistent exercise is much less beneficial than a sustained exercise
program. The types of exercise you can do are numerous and include walking,
running, biking, swimming, calisthenics, tennis, basketball, skiing
and weightlifting to name just a few. Most studies show that moderate
exercise is highly benefitial. Enjoy your exercise. But donít overdo
Diet and Supplements
Whenever we exercise, we use up vital
nutrients and produce free radicals. To prevent damage to our arteries
or internal organs from an exercise program, it is wise to eat a diet
of complex carbohydrates, protein, and essential fatty acids. You may
want to consider supplementing your diet with antioxidants such as vitamins
C, E, and beta carotene, as well as the minerals selenium and zinc.
A good multi-vitamin may also be helpful.
Ask Your Doctor
Always start a fitness program slowly
and progressively increase your level of activity as your body adapts.
It may be wise, especially if you are over thirty or have any significant
health problems, to get a medical check-up. Tell your physician that
you are planning to start a fitness program. There is a free health
clinic on campus located in 114 Roosevelt Hall , 951-5580. Why not make
an appointment today.
Getting into shape can be fun.
In as little as six weeks, you will notice a real difference in the
way you look and feel. Remember, have fun and enjoy being fit!
For More Assistance
If you wish to start an exercise program
you can contact the Office of Recreation, Intramurals and Athletics
in 215 Roosevelt, 951-5950. If you are interested in attending a stress
management workshop or wish to speak to a counselor, come to Personal
Counseling in 0203 James, 951-5363.