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Exercise on your own time

300 dpi 4 col x 7 in / 196x178 mm / 667x605 pixels Michael Hogue color illustration of the stress of balancing sports and school. The Dallas Morning News 2005

KEYWORDS: academic sports student physical education kids school stress aspecto aspectos educacion deportes joven estudiente educacion krteducation krtnational national krtworld world counseling krtfeatures features krtfitness fitness krthealth health krtkidhealth kid krtlifestyle lifestyle krtmentalhealth mental health therapy krt illustration ilustracion grabado krtdiversity diversity youth da contributor coddington hogue 2005 krt2005 high school college university ncaa

Written by Kelsey Dickerson, College Life Editor

It can seem almost impossible to schedule a workout into a week full of classes and hours at a job, sometimes it can even seem like trying to work out or be on a sports team is more stressful than not.

“Throughout the day it can be stressful because there is no ‘sit down time’” senior, soccer player, Kayla Robles said about playing a team sport in college. “(It’s) okay, I have this to do then after that I still need to eat lunch before practice, etc.”

Being on a sports team in college comes with a full schedule and stresses that are unavoidable as the team may be on the road up to four days a week.

“Being away from home, on a bus, playing 90 minutes per game plus trying to study for a test is very stressful.”

Trying to maintain a GPA along with a team sport can leave you with little, if any, free time. An hour for sleeping, eating, or hanging out with friends may be sacrificed for study time.

But according to a study published in the American Psychological Association, exercise, when implemented the right way, can be a stress reducer. Experiments with animals and exercise that have been conducted since the 1980’s has shown that physical activity increases the concentration of a stress reducing chemical called norepinephrine in the brain.

Exercise was also shown to increase the body’s ability to cope with stress overall. Working out forces the body’s cardiovascular, renal, muscular, and sympathetic nervous systems to work together more closely, helping your body better cope with stress later.

The Mayo Clinic cites exercise as an endorphin producer that helps produce a natural “runners high” that boosts your mood and helps you forget about the stresses of the day. They also note that exercise can boost confidence and relieve symptoms of mild anxiety and depression, leading to better sleep at night.

While joining a college team sport may not be the best way to reduce your stress, exercise itself is not a completely invalid way to do so. Trying to fit in an extra walk or bike ride can be just as effective. Walking the long way to class, or kicking the ball around on the front lawn with your friends is a great way to keep your stress levels down.

Even Robles noted that a good practice could help her reduce stress from her hectic schedule. “After a stressful day in class I go to practice and I feel much better,” said Robles, “Practice helps me clear my head and takes my mind off of school.”



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