Stressing about exercise? Re-frame exercise as a way to de-stress.

By: Sarah Grace, UMD RecWell Group Fitness Instructor

If you are anything like me, then stressing about exercise is a normal occurrence. From trying to fit exercise in my daily schedule to freaking out about not making it to the gym, stressing about working out is something I frequently experience.

But here is the thing: exercise should not be a stressor; it should be a way to relieve stress and have some time to yourself or with a friend!

I personally love to work out and stay active, and even though not everyone feels the same way, physical activity is vital to life longevity and stronger mental health. The benefits come in many forms aside from just the obvious physical benefits, so I’ve been trying to look at exercise as something I get to do and not something I have to do.

Here’s what has worked for me:

  • Find something you genuinely enjoy doing. Working out will always feel boring if it’s something you hate. There are so many ways to be active at UMD – in addition to RecWell’s top-notch facilities, there are fitness classes, club and intramural sports, outdoor adventure activities, swimming, and the on-campus golf course. There are also tons of ways to be active on your own – whenever and wherever works for you.
  • Build movement into your routine. Carve out dedicated time. Schedule in physical activity the same way you do classes, work, or anything else you make a priority.
  • Turn to activity in times of stress. When life stresses me out, being active is my go-to remedy. It can be as simple as taking a walk to clear my mind. I sometimes even take my homework to the gym and read on the Arc Trainer or study while walking on the treadmill.

Whatever it is you enjoy doing, give yourself that time to move, de-stress, and work those worries away. We all deserve a little fun and “me time,” so take stressful moments and make them active. Even if it’s as simple as knocking out a couple push-ups or jogging in place for a minute—your mind and body will thank you for it.

And don’t forget, treating yourself to a rest day each week is just as important as your active days to allow for adequate recovery.