By: Kelsie Hanson

In 2008 a study was conducted by Associated Press, they found that 8 out of 10 college students say they have frequent stress in their daily lives. That means that 80 percent of college students deal with stress on a daily basis. People look at stress many different ways. Some people see stress as a good, healthy part of living, but in reality, chronic stress can do a lot of damage to the body. Chronic stress can increase the risk for a variety of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. It can increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart attacks. College students could be counteracting their stress by just working out.

The ACSM recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. According to Bray (2006)College students that participate in the recommended amount of physical activity have better physiological effects that students that do not. (pg. 80). Participating in physical activity in whatever way you can really does improve your lifestyle. Having a happy healthy mind is key to getting through your college years. It is silly to think that you will not have stress throughout the college experience if all you have to do to help your mental health is work out for 150 minutes a week that is a lot cheaper than paying for a therapist later in life.

           All over the country freshman students hear “don’t gain the freshman 15,” meaning most freshman come to school and gain on average 15 pounds. The reason that the freshman 15 is such a big thing is because students tend to exercise less after coming to college because it is such a big transition and it causes a lot of stress and anxiety because you are finally on your own and there is a lot of stress that comes with that. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to weight gain. According to Andersen-Parrado (1999)physical activity allows college students to take time away from studying and homework and can allow them to take time for themselves. (Pg. 30). Once you get to college the time you take to go and exercise is crucial. It is vital to go and take a break from studying and homework for some mental health time. It is vital for mental health and working out during those breaks can actually improve your mental health. Working on homework and studying all the time is not good for you. According to Baily “you should break for about 15 minutes for every hour you study,” (Pg. 1). The reason that you should break during studying is because your mind can not focus for long periods of time taking breaks allows the brain to refocus. This means that locking yourself up in your dorm room or the library may not be the best for one’s overall mental health. Taking time to be active is really beneficial, you can go for a walk, go hiking, or even going to sky zone with some friends. At Concordia they offer many amenities to make sure that you get your exercise on. Concordia has kickboxing classes, Zumba, exercise equipment, and a weight room. There are many options and things at many different levels that make sure you are getting those 150 minutes in.

In conclusion, exercising is a very important part to being a stress-free college student. Allowing yourself 30 minutes a day to just burn some calories can really help in a positive way. Freshman need to not allow themselves to get away from exercising because that is another important part of your life. If you start exercising right away at college it will help you so much more in the long run. If you are ever feeling stressed during finals week just take some time to go and work out it will really help with your mental health in the end.

Contributing Writer

This article was contributed to The Concordian by an outside writer. Questions and comments on this article should be directed to concord@cord.edu.

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