Staying stress free with a little P.E.

Doctors in Ontario have recently been given the ability to prescribe exercise to their patients.
“It seems kind of silly,” said Mike Eagles, Director of Athletics at St. Thomas University. “But everybody should do their best, depending on what they’re able to do, to get some exercise into their life. Not only for their physical health but for their mental health as well.”
Another school year has begun and so has all the stress that comes with it. For some, the best way to handle that stress could be to get up and active.
The Harvard Medical School’s study on relaxation recommended 30 to 40 minutes of moderate activity daily, which includes walking, stretching, yoga and meditation. If you’re short on time, activity can be broken down into 10 minute intervals throughout the day or cut down entirely to 20 to 30 minutes by adding intensity.
“I’m pretty active in a number of different ways and I find they all kind of work the same,” said Eagles. “Whether it’s going for a walk, a run or a bike ride, it’s really beneficial.”
The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute published a study in March which claimed adults who are moderately active experience less stress than inactive adults.
Jennifer Burry, STU’s Athletics Coordinator with a background in kinesiology, said physical activity has too many benefits to count. Beyond the obvious rewards, it helps form healthy sleep patterns and reduces anxiety and stress.
Multiple studies show people who are active also have better time management skills, which could help eliminate stress.
Burry looks to STU’s athletes, who are regularly active and hold high academic standings, as prime examples.
“We do tend to see a lot more students during stressful seasons,” said Burry about working at the J.B. O’Keefe Fitness Centre.
Burry encouraged participation in the centre’s strength and cardio training circuits or their dance, pilates and yoga classes to help ease anxieties. She said the centre has changed the times of their classes this year in hopes of drawing in more students.
“Students can always book the gym to play games,” said Burry.
According to Harvard’s relaxation study, the activity itself doesn’t matter as long as you’re in motion. Muscle relaxation can be done without even leaving your desk or bed. So have fun with it and find a workout that works for you.

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