Move your body. Move your own way. Try taking a group exercise class, going for a bike ride, taking a walk, doing yoga, or even dancing. The benefits of physical activity span throughout all aspects of our life and can improve our health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Regularly moving your body can help boost your ability to fight infection.
Physical activity improves focus and concentration.
Exercising can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, relieve stress, and improve mood.
Moving your body increases energy, aides in digestion, and improves sleep.
Creating SMART Goals can be a great way to get started.
Exercise as an Antidepressant
When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.
Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain, raises endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension – all things that can have a positive effect on depression.
To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Here are a few easy ways to get moving:
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator
- Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot
- Take your dog for a walk
- Pair up with an exercise partner
- Walk while you’re talking on the phone
As a next step, try incorporating walks or some other enjoyable, easy form of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it.
The following exercise tips offer a powerful prescription for boosting mood:
- Exercise now…and again. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly.
- Choose activities that are moderately intense. Aerobic exercise undoubtedly has mental health benefits, but you don't need to sweat strenuously to see results.
- Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic (rather than intermittent). Walking, swimming, dancing, stationery biking, and yoga are good choices.
- Add a mind-body element. Activities such as yoga and tai chi rest your mind and pump up your energy. You can also add a meditative element to walking or swimming by repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) as you move.
- Start slowly, and don't overdo it. More isn't better. Athletes who over train find their moods drop rather than lift.
Adapted from Johns Hopkins Health Alerts
CAMPUS HEALTH SERVICES/RESOURCES
Individual consultations on nutrition and/or fitness are available for students at Campus Health. Dietitians Lisa MacDonald, MPH, RDN, Christy Wilson, RDN, and Ashley Munro, RDN, CDCES are available for appointments most days of the week. At this time, most appointments will be held via HIPAA-compliant video conference.
To make an appointment, call: (520) 621-9202
- Sports/performance nutrition
- Medical nutrition therapy for medically related issues, including:
- GI: food intolerances/allergies, IBS, and others
- Heart disease and diabetes prevention
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Eating disorders/disordered eating
- Other disease-related nutritional needs
- Nutrition education for healthy eating on campus
- Lifestyle/behavior counseling for optimal health and energy
Our Physical Therapy Department provides comprehensive physical therapy services including treatment of activity-related injuries, post-surgical rehabilitation and treatment of chronic/overuse injuries. Our staff consists of physical therapists and athletic trainers with expertise in a variety of patient populations ranging from elite, tactical and adaptive athletes, performing artists (dancers and musicians) as well as general student and staff populations.
GET MOVING NOW:
ON-DEMAND VIRTUAL OFFERINGS
2021 National Recreation Movement -access to live and pre-recorded workout videos from 40 campus rec centers across the country.
“Get Active, Live Healthy, Be Well” At Home - Campus Rec's on-demand virtual offerings: Full-length group fitness classes, workout programs, Outdoor Recreation tips & tricks, Intramural E-Sports tournaments, and more.