Just 20 minutes of fitness, three times per week can have a significant impact on managing stress
It is no secret that stress tends to run high among university students and dealing with the pressures of school can sometimes seem hopeless.
Experts suggest a healthy solution is as simple as a 20 minute jog, or any recreational activity.
Chris Dawe, manager of Mount Royal Recreation, said, “There are lots of studies that talk about exercise in terms of relieving stress.
“It doesn’t have to be this big thing. A lot of people have this attitude that they need to go for two hours and if they can’t get that in then they’re doing nothing.
Mount Royal University students have free access to the fitness centre at the university as part of their tuition. Customer service supervisor Shelley Fried said only about half of eligible students activate their memberships during the year.
Photo: Gina Iaquinta/Calgary Journal
“But if you can get in just 20 minutes and do a little cardio you’re going to feel that much better, and the rest of your day is going to be that much better,” he said.
For many students, time seems to be an issue when it comes to fitting exercise into their busy schedule.
But Sarah Bullock, a second-year Mount Royal University nursing student who works out 3-5 days a week, said that having no time is a poor excuse.
“You just have to make it a priority,” Bullock said. “I tell my friends I’ll meet them later or I won’t go out because exercise is more important to me than that.”
Dawe suggested blocking workouts into your calendar.
“If you just say you’ll workout if you have time there’s a good chance it’s not going to happen,” Dawe said. “You have to make a commitment.”
He adds that there is also a convenience factor for Mount Royal University students because they receive access to the university’s fitness centre as part of their tuition.
But, Shelley Fried, Mount Royal University fitness centre customer service supervisor, said that records indicate that only about half of eligible students activate their memberships.
Dawe said, “One of the things we need to remind ourselves of is how lucky we are to have access to such a great facility, and it’s right here.
“I don’t think anyone has eight hours of class, so there’s time within your day to make it work.”
Dawe also mentioned that fatigue seems to be another popular excuse used for skipping the gym. “The assumption that working out will make you more tired needs to be challenged,” he said.
“It actually does the opposite and gets endorphins and adrenaline flowing.
“You actually feel more energized after working out, “ he said.
“Regular long term exercise is going to help keep your energy levels high no matter how tired or stressed you get.
“There are pressures as a student but if you’re doing some type of exercise to reduce your stress daily or at least three times a week,” Dawe said, “you’re going to have the opportunity to be able to deal with those pressures much better.”