Staying motivated and mentally healthy should be a student’s top priority. Accomplishing this may prove to be more difficult than anticipated since most students lose motivation to perform beyond the first month of class.¹ Within the past year and a half students have faced adversity in transitioning between different mediums of learning. As such, students may feel increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression due to the emotional upheaval of needing to constantly adjust to new learning strategies. A great way to decrease these levels is to be physically active.
Being physically active and staying motivated will help you adapt to new changes in your learning environment. researchers recently studied the effects of physical activity in relation to overall mental health and the ability to adapt and accept change in a social setting. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that the participants who increased their exercise levels had improved overall mental health and symptoms related to anxiety and depression, while the participants that did not exercise had very poor adaptability to change.² Being able to do more physically translates into feeling better about yourself and thus improves mental health and keeps you ready for whatever this year throws at you. Even small bouts of cardio exercise of 15-20 minutes a day like taking the stairs, or biking, have been shown to significantly increase physical capacity³ which is the amount of exercise someone can perform before exhaustion.
So, when you start your classes and begin dreading a newly assigned essay, create an exercise schedule or being more mindful of doing daily physical activities to keep yourself on track and motivated to complete daily tasks.
Garn, A. C., & Morin, A. J. . (2021). University students’ use of motivational regulation during one semester. Learning and Instruction, 74, 101436, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2020.101436
Ji, H., & Zheng, C. (2021). The influence of physical exercise on college students’ mental health and social adaptability from the cognitive perspective. Work (Reading, Mass.), 69(2), 651–662. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213506
Jenkins, E. M., Nairn, L. N., Skelly, L. E., Little, J. P., & Gibala, M. J. (2019). Do stair climbing exercise “snacks” improve cardiorespiratory fitness? Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 44(6), 681–684. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2018-0675