Exercise: Free Therapy

It’s week six, meaning it’s already half way through semester one. The assignments are piling up and deadlines are looming. Panic sets in as you realise you’ve completely wasted the last six weeks festering after nights out, skipping lectures and watching endless episodes of Jeremy Kyle. This all spells one thing: stress.

Exercise is proven to be one of the best ways to reduce stress, making you feel more relaxed immediately while also benefiting your health in the long run (excuse the pun).

Exercise is so effective at reducing anxiety as it increases the brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that give the feeling of a natural high and are the reason why you’re “buzzing” or “pumped” after a workout. Even when the high fades you’ll benefit from a good night’s sleep, which is key to a healthy mind and positive outlook on things. As well as stimulating endorphin production, exercise has also been proven to aid the growth of new brain cells (something that may come in handy after watching all of that Jeremy Kyle.)

Working out is a great way to take your mind off the stresses and strains of college life. Whether you’re weight lifting, cycling, swimming or doing any sort of physical activity, you’ll find that you forget about what’s troubling you as your focus changes to your body’s movements (and not running into anyone). If the thought of such strenuous exercise and the aches that come with it is, in itself, stressing you out, then consider doing Pilates or yoga. Although neither are as physical or high intensity as other forms of exercise, the breathing techniques taught in classes are excellent for relaxation and alleviating stress.

If the gym just isn’t for you, the more traditional methods are just as effective. A simple walk or jog can be just as stress relieving, is completely free and gets you out in the fresh air.

So dust off your runners and get going, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

Sharon McGowan

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