Exercise in college

Exercise Is Beneficial For College Students

Exercise? I thought you said extra fries.

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As I've grown up, I've noticed that the more I exercise, my head is clearer and the more productive I am. But I've never understood exactly why this happens. If you have this same question, you've come to the right place!


When you start exercising after being sedentary for a while, your body goes into fight or flight mode. As a result of this, your body releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This protein acts as a "band-aid" for your neurotransmitters that control learning and memory. While creating new neurons in your brain (called neurogenesis), it increases the efficiency of your neurotransmitters to send signals to other parts of your brain. Your pituitary gland also releases endorphins, which is what everyone talks about as the chemicals that make you happy (as well as serotonin). But did you know that endorphins also act as a painkiller?

The reason for this is that endorphins block the release of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for sending pain signals to your brain that your body responds to. The idea of endorphins as painkillers has been around since the Vietnam War. During this time, soldiers would start getting addicted to drugs in order to reduce stress before, during, and after combat. However, the question is do endorphins themselves reduce pain, or do they just allow the effects of serotonin and dopamine to be more apparent?

My point in saying all of this science stuff is that exercise is extremely beneficial for college students because as we grow and learn, our brains need to adapt and grow along with us. The protein BDNF that is released during exercise is directly related to learning and memory, which can help you memorize for a test, and connect ideas together to make a bigger picture.

Exercise along with prescribed anti-depressants can actually speed up and increase the release of BDNF in the brain, which has shown to produce immediate results in treating depression and anxiety. 1 in 5 college students say that they're affected with anxiety and depression and that these mental issues are the top reasons that they receive or seek counseling.

Running is not the only form of exercise that you can do though! My biggest piece of advice to young students is to find a form of exercise that you really enjoy, like dancing or swimming. I personally really like bike riding and dancing! Finding something that you enjoy will not only make exercise not only more fun, but it will help you stay consistent with your exercise routine. In order to release more endorphins, you need to exercise more. And if you need more motivation to run (which I know I do), here's a helpful tip:

Here are some extra resources to help you get started!

1. If you need a place to workout at UIUC, look no further!

CRCE

If you are a student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there are two amazing places you can go to workout: CRCE (shown above) and the ARC! Both have amazing facilities like pools, treadmills, a track, and even cooking classes!

2. Having role models/motivators in your health and fitness journey is one of the most important things I've learned. 

Cambria

If you are spiritual like me, and are just starting your health journey, check out this amazing Youtuber and blogger named Cambria Joy! She is geared towards females, but whoever you are, she gives amazing advice and tips on how to start a healthy lifestyle (that includes diet and exercise).

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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If You've Ever Ran A Half-Marathon Then You've Probably Had These 18 Thoughts

There's so many thoughts during a half-marathon.

Loui
Loui
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Two weeks ago I ran my first ever half marathon. I've never run a race in my life before and I'm not really a runner so it was an interesting experience. Over the course of my training, I actually learned to enjoy running and I can say that I actually like it now.

This half marathon was really challenging but really rewarding. These are all the things that I was thinking about (there was probably a lot more, too) during those 13.1 miles.

1. "This is really easy but all these people are running way too fast."

2. "This is so much easier than a training run."

3. "Wow I already ran three miles."

4. "I need water."

5. *Casually sings Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn

6. "I'm getting really hungry. I hope there's muffins at the end."

7. "Dang, this is easy. I feel like I could run for forever."

8. "Okay, so we went six miles so 13 minus six is seven. We have seven miles to go." 

9. "The sun is so hot."

10. "I could use some more water."

11. "Would my group judge me if I walked at mile eight?"

12. "Why am I running again?"

13. "I'm on mile 10 so in 10 minutes I'll be on mile 11. This will totally go by fast."

14. "I'm still on mile 10."

15. "I'm still... on... mile.... 10... now mile 11."

16. "This is the longest run of my life."

17. "Oh great, now my calf is cramping." 

18. *When the run is over* "Man, I feel like I could do another one!"

Loui
Loui

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