Students share the benefits of fitness on stress

Matthew Ellmore/Contributing Writer

It’s no secret that college students carry plenty of stress, whether it be from work, class, or personal reasons. Plenty of services are available to students on campus, but some students find that the best way of relieving stress is through fitness.

For Steffan Santiago, a senior and mass communications major, fitness is a major part of his life. Although he works around school and work, he still finds the time to go to the gym five to six days a week, using it almost as a form of therapy.

“I’ve been going to the gym consistently for about four years and ever since I started working out I’ve noticed an increase in confidence and overall a more positive approach to some of my anxiety,” said Santiago. “It helps me ease my mind of all stress and worries I may have on any particular day.”

Santiago believes that a big reason why students may not think of fitness as a stress reliever is because they try to limit themselves to one form. “A big part of fitness is just experimenting with workouts and exercises to figure out what level you’re at and that can be scary to some people. I think a lot of people have this idea in their head that they have to stick to a certain pace or workload. Exercise comes in so many different forms and that’s what makes it so appealing but also so intimidating to people.”

While fitness levels may differ, Santiago firmly believes that there’s a form of exercise for everyone no matter the skill level. Jose Arguello, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, views fitness in the same way.

“I’m at the gym three to four days a week and usually play soccer or basketball every other weekend. Even if I only work out for 30 minutes, it’s still something that lets me take my mind off of work and school. It’s gotten to the point where I feel worse when I don’t work out, and that bad feeling carries over into other parts of my life like work and school,” said Arguello.

Arguello also believes that students may not think of fitness as a stress reliever because they’re unaware of its mental health benefits. When he first started working out, Arguello only knew of the physical side to exercise, and didn’t realize the impact it had on his mental health until he stopped doing it.

“It’s not really something that I even notice when I’m working out, I just notice it whenever I don’t work out for a while. Whenever I skip a few weeks, I can just feel my mood start to change. Some people might think about it, but most people probably only think of the physical aspect without looking at the mental part,” said Arguello.

FIU offers plenty of options for fitness if students are looking for different forms of exercise to experiment with, whether it be going to the gym at the Wellness & Recreation Center, joining one of the PantherFit Group Fitness classes, jogging on the nature trail, or even participating in intramural sports.

Before making any drastic changes in terms of fitness and exercise, students should talk with a nutrition counselor, student health professional or doctor to find a plan that’s appropriate for them.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash.

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