Staying active

Having an active hobby can be a great stress reducer

An active outdoor hobby is a great mechanism for college students to combat the high levels of stress and anxiety we are faced with.

As college students, we are all aware of the daily tasks we must endure. Waking up early everyday for class, working jobs just to afford ramen noodles, endless amounts of classwork, registered student organizations, internships, preparing for semester exams, the list goes on and on.

It is imperative to take at least 20 minutes out of your busy day to rest your mind and do some form of outdoor activity. Television, movies and video games are all great, but the body remains stagnant and the mind receives no rest.

According to an Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) article “Physical Activity Reduces Stress,” exercise—which maintains physical fitness—is also vital in maintaining mental fitness reducing stress. ADAA studies have shown that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration and enhancing overall cognitive function.

As students, we often find ourselves competing to be busier and more stressed out than everyone else. We sign ourselves up for more than we can handle to fill our resumés and eliminate all forms of free time. The ADAA has made it clear that when stress negatively affects the brain, the rest of the body will feel the impact.

There are so many outdoor activities that do not require a ton of skill. Recently, I have tried my hand at long boarding. No, I am not able to bomb hills and swerve between students walking on sidewalks in the middle of campus, but I have gained the ability to enjoy a ride and improved the crucial task of balancing. Riding from my house in town to the end of Hemlock Park is a quick trip, but it at least frees my mind from work and school.

Besides long boarding and skateboarding, bike riding is another popular and easy option. If you seek a higher adrenaline rush, try out the mountain bike trails west of Big Rapids. Running and walking are timeless and free physical stress relievers. There are intriguing nature trails to be explored in Big Rapids, although no mountain to be hiked.

Other options are playing disc games, such as disc golf and ultimate Frisbee. North End Park has a great disc golf course and it is only a few minutes north of town. One of my favorite activities is grabbing a few friends together and tossing around an ultimate Frisbee. Fishing is a less physically demanding hobby but teaches the skill of patience.

The list continues and the point is given. It is so important to stay active and release stress. Big Rapids has a select amount of outdoor weather days during the school year. Use them wisely before winter is upon us.

This shouldn’t be new information to students. We’ve been told all of our lives how crucial it is for our bodies to remain active. This remains true for youthful college students, so go ahead, take 20 minutes and go outside.