Being physically active is a crucial factor in managing pandemic stress. Research shows physical activity can enhance your mood, well-being and energy levels by helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Many of us have become less active since the campus shut down and forced us to spend more time indoors.
Wayne State University’s Lifestyle Fitness Activity (LFA) courses adapted to the pandemic and offered virtual fitness classes — including yoga, Tai Chi and mindfulness — to benefit students.
Relieving stress and maintaining a school-life balance is a big reason Destynee Jones, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, takes yoga (LFA 1480). “I always feel good after leaving class. I’m always tense and stressed out, and it feels good to take this class and leave feeling more calm and relaxed.”
Students may choose to take these diverse and interesting classes — which are taught by physical activity professionals and designed to help individuals take charge of their own health, quality of life and recreational future — for credit as electives towards their degree. LFA courses are open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff.
Studies have shown that physically active students have higher levels of cognitive functioning and lower levels of anxiety and depression when compared to their inactive counterparts. In addition, research from Harvard University demonstrates that alumni who exercise have reduced rates of mortality and morbidity. That is, those who exercise throughout their lifespan tend to live longer, healthier lives.
“Courses cover a wide range of activities, including general group fitness classes, team sports, and strength training. However, during this last 14 months, we have seen a surge in enrollment with our mind-body classes such as yoga, mindfulness, and Tai Chi,” said Kristen Kaszeta, the LFA program coordinator and lecturer. “Now, more than ever, it is clear we all need to build some healthy stress management skills. These skills include staying active, sitting less and moving more for your physical and mental health and well-being.”
“When you take a class for credit, you can learn at a pace that you are comfortable with and with people at the same level as you,” said Marian Elhallak, a senior majoring in pharmacy. “It’s not like going to a studio with all the advanced people.”
While you may be busy pursuing your degree, remember that taking care of yourself is every bit as important as taking care of your coursework. Regular physical activity can help you maintain balance, increase your focus and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you desire to improve academic performance, become more active, acquire new skills or require a break from the typical classroom setting, lifestyle fitness activities can help.
Remember to observe physical distancing guidance and try to build physical activity into your commute if you are still going out to work.