How to balance stress and health during lockdown

Garreth Lyons

As the evenings draw in and the workload intensifies for DCU students, exercise has never been more critical in regards to maintaining our physical and mental health. 

The closure of gyms, leisure centres, and swimming pools has made it harder for students to find ways to exercise. But fear not, because as well as the never-ending  Zoom calls and assignment submissions, there is a wide range of fitness services accessible to students in DCU. 

DCU Sport has pledged to continue their fitness classes, which can be accessed online on both of the DCU Sports Complex Instagram and Facebook pages.

Students could also join a DCU club, as many of them are still providing training plans and workout videos. For example, DCU Dóchas Éireann GAA is currently providing strength and conditioning programmes for all male and female players.

DCU Raising & Giving Society also have a number of ways to stay active.  In collaboration the DCU Sober Soc, they have recently launched the ‘3k a Day’ initiative, which encourages students to cover a distance of three kilometres each day in November. The 3k can be taken by walking, running, or cycling, and all students are encouraged to donate throughout. All funds raised throughout November will be split between Barnardos and Rainbow Ireland.

Elsewhere, the True Endurance initiative was launched by St Pat’s DCU students Grace King and Simon Cullen.  This new group has vouched to participate in an annual endurance activity in the hope of promoting mental health awareness. 

It is important to find a way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Whether this is the first thing in the morning, during a gap between lectures, or late at night, exercise at your own time is crucial to getting the most enjoyment out of it.

Students who find it difficult to stay active during these uncertain times might consider goal setting as a way to keep their spirits up. Tackling a new running route, trying a new activity, or listening to an exercise podcast, are other ways for students to stay motivated to exercise.

The extraordinary success of fundraisers such as the ‘Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5’ challenge, which took social media by storm in early April, can provide inspiration for students who may be looking for that little push to dust down their running shoes. 

Being active during lockdown will have a variety of positive effects for students, such as boosting self-esteem, reducing feelings of stress, and increasing energy levels.

Despite the negative effects associated with a national lockdown, these strange periods of time can present us with opportunities to do some good for our health, and look good at the same time.

The HSE  recommends that adults should partake in ‘at least 30 minutes moderate-intensity activity 5 days a week.’

Gareth Lyons

Image Credit: DCU Sport and Wellbeing