The Benefits of Exercising in College
Throughout high school and college, you’re perpetually setting new academic goals. Whether it’s to get an A in your toughest course, to make the Honor Roll or Dean’s List, or to turn in that optional extra credit assignment, these objectives and ambitions keep you focused and motivated in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, though, it’s just as important to be goal-oriented.
If you are or were a high school athlete, you’re probably used to having practice daily or weekly. In college, unless you play sports at the collegiate level, you probably won’t have this accountability. Between class, homework, extracurricular activities, and a social life, it can be hard to maintain a regular exercise routine in college, but it’s important. Not only does regular exercise help combat the notorious freshman fifteen, it has numerous other benefits during your college years.
Benefit #1: Exercise improves your mood.
College is a lot of fun, but it’s not always fun. When you’re down in the dumps, there is nothing better than a shot of endorphins to pick you back up. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, as long as you get your heart pumping. Dance, run, lift weights, ride your bike, or do a YouTube exercise video in your dorm room. Just get moving! Before long, you’ll feel like you took a happy pill.
Benefit #2: Regular exercise promotes discipline.
The people who commit to fitting physical activity into their college schedules are impressive. After staying up studying until 1:00 am, it’s a lot easier to spend free time the next day napping instead of running on the elliptical or taking a boot camp class. The freshman fifteen is so common because exercising in college is not a priority to everyone. The people who prioritize it are not messing around.
Benefit #3: Exercise increases your energy.
The gym can be just as useful as Starbucks when you need a jolt of energy before a lecture or a long study session. It may seem odd that exerting energy in the gym can give you more energy in the classroom, but regular exercise gives you endurance, stamina, and strength. Start your day with a sweat session or use it for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Benefit #4: Exercising can be a social activity.
Exercise is a fantastic way to bond with friends, and even meet new friends. You can join an intramural team if you want to continue playing your favorite sport, but even trips to the gym can be a social outing. Sign up for a yoga class with people in your dorm, or train for a race with a friend from class. Not only can this make exercising in college more fun, but it can also hold you accountable!
Benefit #5: Exercise can make you a better student.
Taking time away from the library to work out may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but it can actually help to boost your GPA. There have been numerous studies showing regular exercising in college can improve both memory and cognitive functioning. The increased oxygen to the brain can benefit your reasoning skills, and also give you the mental clarity to accomplish academic tasks.
As a former college student myself, I cannot pretend I was a paradigm of physical fitness during those four years. However, I saw vast improvements in my overall quality of life when I made time for exercising in college, and focused on accomplishing specific physical goals. Whether you’re a senior in high school or a senior in college, it’s never too late to start incorporating physical activity in your everyday life. The earlier you can create a realistic, sustainable routine, the earlier you’ll start reaping the benefits!