Saturday 5 March 2016

Exercising the Body Helps Rest the Mind

- Sophie Rees

Exercising is an important factor alongside a healthy and good nutritious diet for one’s well-being whilst studying. It is a difficult factor to grasp and get a good stance on, as it often conflicts with the anxieties of body negativity, eating disorders and health consciousness. During my eating disorder I started cutting back on the main food in my diet first and then I decided to take on exercising without the correct levels of food energy inside me. Over exercising led to me rapidly increasing the health risks I had already obtained from my eating disorder and to feeling dizzy, sick and becoming tired very quickly. At the time, I was not only risking my health but also my future as I sat my GCSEs without a healthy lifestyle.

After recovering from my anorexia two years later, I had developed a healthier lifestyle compared to what I had kept up during my eating disorder, but it wasn’t healthy enough to help my well-being at A level. I had binged on unhealthy snacks such as crisps, cake and chocolate and I would eat fast food at school during lunchtime instead of balancing the snacks out with a healthier and more nutritious meal. I knew that to get into university and to keep up with the levels of concentration I would have to improve my diet and exercising levels to keep my body and mind on track in order to be focused during studies.

I then decided to take action with both my body and my mind by getting a good balanced diet back into my life and a reasonable amount of exercise done around my studies. I made the decision to walk to and from school instead of catching a super busy bus with tons of other students, and it turned out to be quite enjoyable. I would head out each morning listening to my favourite songs on my iPod whilst walking along and it would set me up well for the day of classes ahead. I then started to eat more nutritious meals from the school canteen for lunch instead of fast food items. I scrapped the everyday bacon baps, chips or pizza, and chose instead nutritious pasta bakes, jacket potatoes or Chicken Caesar salads. This made me appreciate future fast food treats when I had them and allow me to enjoy choosing my lunch everyday rather than hesitate over certain foods.

By the time I stared university, I was confident in choosing the right choices for my lifestyle and it made me realise how simple a small change in exercise and diet can improve one’s well-being. There are plenty of exercise activities for people to become involved in to improve well-being whilst studying:

  • Personally, I am not super sporty or energetic when it comes to exercise, but even the more relaxed exercises such as walking, yoga and swimming are enjoyable.
  • Owning a pet can help boost a healthy exercise routine too, dogs in particular need a good amount of walking exercise daily, and it can be fun with a favourite pet who will love you back for it too.
  • Exercising can be a good social and fun aspect to one’s well-being such as Zumba classes, dance and aerobics.
  • Sports exercises can become great hobbies to continue with. Tennis is a great sport to play and to watch during the summer with the Wimbledon tournament. Even if you’re not quite sure which sport you’d be suited to, inspirations from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, coming soon, can help you decide this too.

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