The many benefits of exercise….

Lately Ive been talking to a lot of students about ways to improve their general wellbeing and get the most out of being a student at UON. Students often ask me what the easy solutions are – how they can get the most bang for buck so to speak. It’s not because they are lazy or want a free ride but that they are often asking as a result of feeling overwhelmed with the struggles of managing their study load with other work, social and family commitments.  Of course I tell them there is no easy fix an that there are a number of things they could try to get a better balance and improve their quality of life, usually the one about drinking less is the least popular of my recommendations. The other one that students struggle incorporating is more exercise. I find myself wondering if this is because exercise sounds hard? or more time consuming than other tasks? or that you need money to do it? or maybe I’m not telling them all the benefits that exercise can have?

I’ve decided today to share the benefits of exercise the obvious and the not so obvious:

  1. Exercise can help you get to and maintain a healthy body weight – no surprises here really although the roll on benefits to your self esteem are the hidden gem here. When you exercise to assist weight reduction you are actively doing something for your wellbeing and you then feel more confident about yourself.
  2. Exercise can help reduce your risk of developing health conditions like stroke, Coronary heart disease, arthritis etc.
  3. Exercise improves your mood as a result of the release of endorphins – so exercise can be and has been used successfully in combination with other options to treat moderate to severe symptoms of depression.
  4. Exercise boosts your energy levels allowing for improved memory and concentration function – something I think all university students are seeking.
  5. Exercise promotes better sleeps patterns allowing you to fall asleep easier and leading to a deeper pattern of sleep and waking feeling more alert.
  6. Exercise reduces muscle tension through the release of chemicals like adrenalin used in the fight or flight response in anxious situations, so it’s good for anxiety as well as depression.
  7. Exercise improves your sex life – for women it enhances arousal and for men it reduces the probability of erectile dysfunction. If you take into account the potential social aspect of exercise in leading to an increase in meeting new people I guess it could also improve the probability of having sex in the first place too!

So if you were in doubt about the many benefits that exercise can have I’ve cleared that up! If you’re wondering how you can make the time to exercise now think about small steps and start by taking the stairs instead of the lift, or parking across campus from where your classes are so your walk is longer. You don’t have to join a gym and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

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