Physical activity provides immediate stress relief as well as long-term stress management — just 20-30 minutes of walking per day, for example, can give you more energy, help you put things in perspective, improve your sleep, sharpen your mental productivity, and boost your self-confidence.

Physical Activity:

  • Boosts energy
  • Increases your ability to concentrate
  • Makes you feel great! Your body will produce endorphins, which naturally relieve pain and induce feelings of well-being and relaxation.
  • Improves physical appearance, enhances self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality
  • Means fewer illnesses! Physical fitness = more disease resistance
  • Strengthens your heart, which is constantly called upon to “fight or flight” from daily stress

But I hate to exercise!

  • Change the “E” word from exercise to enjoyment. Find activities that you love to do and that match your personality. If you love the outdoors, go hiking or biking. Dancing, gardening, or skating might be your passion.
  • Do it to music. Plug yourself in and listen to music, news, or e-books.
  • Use personal muscle power for transportation. Bike to class or to the store. Walk to lunch or to your next class.
  • Get a partner. Exercising with someone else can be more fun.
  • Vary your routine. You may be less likely to get bored or injured if you change it up. Walk one day. Bike the next. Do yoga another day.
  • The Ramsey Center has more than weights and aerobics classes. Try their climbing wall, exercise balls, ballroom or Latin dance classes, martial arts programs, yoga, or pilates classes. You can also fence, play tennis, soccer, and many other games through the Recreational Sports Program. Join ORC (Outdoor Recreation Center) for great outings and equipment rental.

Choosing the best type of activity for you: a few questions

  • How physically fit are you now? If you haven’t been active recently, start out slowly. If you overdo it, you increase your risk for injury.
  • What do you want from physical activity? For example, is your goal to run a race in a few months? Or to be able to maintain a moderate level of activity for 30 minutes?
  • Do you prefer to be alone or with others when you’re being active?
  • Do you prefer indoors or outdoors?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • When can you fit activity into your schedule?

Sticking to it

Now you’ve figured out what you want to do & have a plan…how do you maintain it?

  • Find a regular time every day.
  • Keep a daily log or diary of your activities.
  • Check your progress.
  • Focus on the benefits of physical activity.
  • Post your goals.
  • Get support from family and friends.

The UGA Health Center (UHC) wants to support you in succeeding and enjoying your experience at UGA. Experts at UHC offer knowledge and programs concerning stress management and college life.

Written by: UHC CAPS and Communications