Minding physical health leads to improved mental health


photo used with permission by Alexandra De Kok

Team sports such as soccer allow students to release stress and stay healthy while interacting with teammates.

The general consensus is that exercising, eating healthy, taking time for our mental health, and getting enough sleep at night are essential to being physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. While students know this, many struggle with the time and motivation to do them.

From staying up during late hours to study, attending extracurricular activities instead of the gym, and drinking high amounts of caffeine to stay awake during class, health is sometimes pushed aside to make room for other priorities. However, many students have found the time, dedication, and different ways to work on their mental and physical health during the busy school year. 

Whether being a part of a school sports team, playing a club sport outside of school, going to the gym, or keeping active in other ways, exercise is essential to a healthy body and mind.

“I love working out because it activates my muscles and gets me stronger,” freshman Lana Tarr said. “For my mental health, it makes my mind focus on what my body is doing and improves my mental strength.” 

With academics fueling a significant amount of pressure and stress, many students work out to clear their minds and focus on themselves. 

For example, freshman Alexander Durand goes to the gym because “working out helps my mental health because it releases my stress and anxiety and makes me happy in general.”

Working out also releases a variety of hormones including endorphins and serotonin, which aid in boosting happiness, creating a euphoric feeling, and improving mental health overall. Regular exercise has also been shown to decrease the likelihood of getting sick and prevent long-term illnesses such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and more.

“Going to the gym helps me release stress from school and other things, as well as improving my health and making me feel more comfortable in my body,” junior Phillips Ribas said.

Student-athletes find it more motivating to move their bodies when with teammates and contributing to the school as well. From soccer and wrestling to beach volleyball and swimming, school sports are an amazing way to meet like-minded people, represent your school and stay healthy while having fun. 

“I play soccer on a team because I’m always in a better mood after playing soccer with my friends, and I work out because it helps me relieve stress and boredom,” senior Daniel Martin said. 

There is no doubt that staying active is important, especially during the stressful school week and in our developing teenage years.  

Here are some ways to ensure that health is still a priority during the busy academic year:

  1. Go for a walk with a family member or pet.
  2. Get a gym membership with a friend.
  3. Find a kind of exercise that is enjoyable to you.
  4. Eat healthy but delicious foods.
  5. Get adequate sleep (7-8 hours).
  6. Take mental breaks throughout the day, especially when overwhelmed.
  7. Find a moment for self-care weekly.