The secret to mental and physical health

Jasmine Fleming

As a freshman, one of the activities I looked forward to was Zumba on weekday afternoons. A few of my friends and I would try to make all of the classes, which would leave us exhausted but excited nonetheless. The instructor always chose colorful, energetic songs and even when we were tired, we still felt the need to move.

That drive has since disappeared.

I intended to continue visiting the SRC this year, but somehow it never happened. With two jobs, I do not have the time. Many students might find themselves in a similar situation.

I have since discovered being busy is the best reason for me to continue with Zumba. In a recent study, University of Minnesota researchers found that group exercise for at least 20 minutes increases the usual benefits of regular exercise.

This means college students who attend group exercise classes are more likely to be less stressed and have better overall mental health, in addition to being physically healthier.

As someone who always feels like I have something to do, being less stressed would be a major improvement in my life. And in terms of physical health, I think we would all like to make it to the third floor of Bibb Graves without feeling overexerted.

The study even suggests university health services integrate as much group exercise activities into programs as they can.

Anyone who has seen the group activity schedule from the SRC knows how many opportunities there are for students to get involved with their friends. From a Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates combination class, to the seemingly frightening “Ab Attack,” classes are available for all students at any fitness level.

One concern mentioned in the story is individuals who typically avoid large groups are less likely to participate in group exercise. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can personally testify to the kindness and encouragement of the instructors and other students. Students go to have a unique and enjoyable way to exercise and from the classes I attended, everyone seems to have a good time.

Even though the semester is more than halfway over, I will not use that as an excuse to avoid the SRC. I also encourage the students, faculty and staff on campus to pick up a group exercise schedule and make time to attend a few classes each week if they do not already. While finding the time to work it into a busy schedule might seem difficult, the number of benefits is too great to overlook.