When Ben first came to see me during his sophomore year of college, he was so disturbed by his symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder that he was afraid to leave his room thinking he was going to get sick. This was pre-COVID. Ben started cognitive-behavioral therapy and I prescribed him specific OCD medications. One of his roommates asked him to sign up for intramural basketball, which he agreed to because he played basketball in high school. When Ben started playing for the team, he felt better and his anxiety levels dropped significantly.He was less worried about getting sick and instead decided to play basketball with his friends. I was looking forward to
This is one of many patients I have seen over the years who have had partial responses to medications and treatments, but have found exercise to be an important component of their recovery. rice field. Exercise has been shown to have a very positive impact on mental health. Encourage your students to exercise regularly to improve their mental health as the new year begins.
Knowing the benefits of exercise for mental health, I ask all new patients if they exercise and what they like. To do. (I will not discuss college sports, which have their advantages but also some unique challenges). A good addition to your regimen. People with health restrictions should consult their doctor first before embarking on an exercise program.
Top 10 Workouts for College Students
- yoga: Mindfulness, breathing exercises, and yoga stretches activate our parasympathetic nervous system and calm us down. In fact, yoga has been found to reduce both depression and anxiety. Most campuses offer yoga classes, and you can also get free or low-cost yoga instruction online.
- rock climbing: I’ve never rock climbed before, but many students love our rock climbing wall, and even use the second climbing wall in town. Various campuses also have climbing clubs. Students tell me this is a great way to relax and meet people.
- Running/Walking: Endurance exercise, which increases heart rate, has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and improve sleep. Endurance exercise also improves alertness in ADHD.
- dance: Students participate in hip-hop dance, ballroom dancing, and salsa clubs. As I write this, I am reminded of taking an uncredited modern dance class when I was a freshman. Students describe to me the camaraderie they feel when they are in a dance group that performs on special occasions such as Black History Month.
- Tai Chi: There are studies showing antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of tai chi. Tai Chi is a mind-body martial art that uses movement, breathing and posture. The antidepressant effects of tai chi may be associated with decreased inflammatory markers, depression-related brain network changes, and increased parasympathetic nervous system activity. There are Tai Chi programs that are simplified and designed specifically to deal with depression.
- strength training: One study showed that strength training reduced anxiety in young adults. A meta-analysis showed that strength training reduced depressive symptoms in people with mild to moderate depression.
- swimming: Swimming is a great activity for those looking for an endurance workout that doesn’t want to strain their joints. Most schools have indoor pools, and southern schools also have outdoor pools.
- Intramural sports: My intramural sport was Boat Crew, which allowed us to watch the beautiful sunrise as we moved quietly along the river early in the morning. Many patients enjoy playing basketball, soccer, and volleyball within the wall. Studies have shown that group exercise is more effective at reducing stress than individual exercise, possibly through the positive effects of social connections.
- hiking: While providing endurance training, hiking has the added benefit of being outdoors. It has been shown to have a significant positive impact on stress. Additionally, being outdoors generally leads to more sun exposure, which produces melatonin and improves nighttime sleep.
- horse riding: Living in an area surrounded by horse ranches and several equestrian centers, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the mental health benefits of riding horses. , has been shown to be an alternative treatment for PTSD by promoting self-efficacy. Some colleges even offer horseback riding or classes nearby. I have seen my students find great emotional satisfaction in horseback riding.
How Your College Student Gets Started
If your college student is a non-exercise person, there may be an exercise group on campus that provides additional support and supervision. You may have a trainer. Most importantly, create a plan that your students will enjoy.
Students accustomed to getting started on their own can find a variety of offerings at campus gyms and rec centers, including spin, yoga, and Zumba classes. You can also see extracurricular activities such as intramural sports, dancing, cheering, and hiking. Northern schools have ski clubs, Southern schools have surfing.
Each student is flexible and can set some goals for the semester while recognizing that they may go wrong during the exam. While your kids are home on vacation, you can also do some family exercise, such as a walk, a hike, or a session at the gym. A great way to connect. Let’s have fun moving in 2023!
©2023 Marsha Morris, all rights reserved.
Details have been changed to protect patient privacy.