Summer Howard, Staff Writer
Do you ever feel exhausted or depressed? Do you constantly feel like you need to lose weight? Most college students would answer yes to both of these questions, considering that as young adults with newfound freedom, we tend to lack the discipline to get enough sleep and eat right. If you don’t already exercise, however, you may want to consider starting. It might just make your college experience a little bit easier.
If you’re like me, you dread pushing your body to its limit at the gym in front of those who make the hardest of exercises look easy. No matter how much you want to lose weight or get in shape, you can’t motivate yourself to work out with others around. Studies show, however, that exercising improves sleep. For a college kid who has busy days and nights that do not include enough time to sleep, this should be great inspiration to get out there and exercise.
While doctors still recommend getting seven to eight hours of sleep, exercising will cut falling asleep time and help you sleep more soundly in the usually short amount of time we have to rest. As a person who loves sleep, a method to sleep better definitely catches my attention.
Getting a good night’s rest is not the only reason exercising is good for you. Of course, there’s the obvious reasons exercising is helpful to you: it helps you lose weight and it prevents heart disease. But exercising is not all about physical health. Scientists have found that the brain can retain more memories and perform to a higher degree in decision making when a person exercises regularly. Exercising’s effects taps into the creative side of the brain also, making your imagination more active for a couple hours afterwards. If your brain needs a boost, exercising is the answer!
However, exercise can have emotionally positive effects as well. For example, it has been proven that exercising improves mood and self-esteem because of the chemicals released in your body while exercising. Other chemicals released while exercising, such as norepinephrine, can help reduce the stress, anxiety and depression that is present in the college world, particularly when finals week comes around.
In addition, more oxygen is produced in your body while exercising, which helps your heart work better and also increases your energy level. Therefore, the simulation of all of these chemicals can make you feel relaxed and happy.
So when the end of the semester is making you pull your hair out, take a deep breath and go exercise. You won’t regret the effects.