Thursday, 13 November 2014

Stay Active, Feel Good

Everyone knows that staying physically inactive can have severe health consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.2 million deaths a year occur due to health issues maintained by physical inactivity. This is a growing cause for concern, and many people don’t realize that staying physically active can not only improve physical health, but mental health as well. While many people often think about staying physically active, they push it off until a more convenient time. People often get into a routine where they tell themselves that they will start at the beginning of the next week, month, etc. This is a constant cycle of broken promises that negatively impacts the individual.

Conveniently, every single New Year’s thousands of people make a resolution that they are going to become more fit over the coming year. People sign up for gym memberships, purchase exercise equipment, and get motivated. Then, about a month into the New Year, they stop going. Why? Everyone knows that staying physically active is good for them. Maybe if people realized that staying active not only makes them look good, but also feel good, they would change their minds about quitting.

Joseph, Royse, Benitez and Pekmezi undertook a study which analyzed what impact staying physically fit has on students. Data from the study revealed that students who took time out of their day to be physically active have a better quality of life. Physically fit participants reported having a higher physical self-esteem, as well as a better positive self-image compared to those participants who did not stay physically active. This means that not only does staying physically active boost your health, but it also boosts your mental health.

            Therefore, it is important to include physical activity into one’s life. While there are many excuses for not staying physically active, none are justifiable. In the aforementioned study, college students were of particular interest because of the massive transition they experience as they move from high school to post-secondary. Out of the population, one could imagine how many excuses students have to not stay physically active. “I have to study,” “I have a project due,” “I don’t have any money,” “I don’t have anyone to go with,” are just some of the excuses commonly heard. Ultimately, the responsibility of keeping one’s body healthy comes down to the individual.

            If you are sick and tired of making excuses and delaying physical activity, it is time to act now. One of the biggest reasons for people not to stay physically active is because they say they have no time. What is the solution? Find time! Take a planner out and set aside time each day to physical activity. Keep in mind that this doesn't require you to go to the gym for hours. Simply going on a walk or a run around the neighborhood will put you in better shape. Additionally, for your next New Year’s resolution, make it meaningful. Instead of telling yourself that you are going to exercise more, make a plan to actually do so. Even better, cancel out a negative with a positive. Replace that show you always watch when you get home with a short jog.

Remember, only you are capable of making the change. If you want to improve your health, as well as feel more positive, make the change. Become physically active and see the rewards. 

Author: John Nowak

Joseph, R. P., Royse, K. E., Benitez, T. J., & Pekmezi, D. W. (2014). Physical activity and quality of life among university students: Exploring self-efficacy, self-esteem, and affect as potential mediators. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation, 23, 661-669. doi:


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