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With finals around the corner, students are bearing the brunt of stressful schedules and multiple exams a week. Some UH students have tried implementing fitness into their regular routine, and they’ve felt less of the stress that exam season brings.

“When you exercise, you get your heart rate up, oxygen goes to your brain, endorphins are released; you’re going to feel better,” said Audrey Fogle, UH alumna and former certified personal trainer.

How fitness relates to stress

According to an article from Walden University, fitness has been proven to directly affect a person’s mental health, such as by relieving stress and boosting brain activity. Fogle said she uses her fitness routine as an outlet to recover from stressful situations.

“If I don’t work out, I notice I’m in the worst mood ever,” Fogle said. “I’m mad, I’m angry, all my emotions are pent up. I don’t want to do anything. I’m in a terrible mood.”

Taking a break from exam mode

Fogle says students should try to find time during their day to work out—especially during finals season. By working out, students can improve their memory, reaction times and decision making.

Using time-management, Fogle decreases her stress while increasing productivity in the gym. This has not only helped her feel better about herself but also helped her feel more prepared for exams when she was in school.

“I always tried to study a few days before, so I would study a little bit each day and then work out every day leading up to it, so I wasn’t overwhelmed,” Fogle said.

Finding the time

UH student Kameron Wilkerson, a junior majoring in marketing, also uses fitness as a way to release stress from exams.

“I used my workout plan, my fitness, as a way to relieve stress from finals,” Wilkerson said. “Just by each day staying consistent with it, that helps you stay consistent with your studies and the things you’re doing in life.”

Wilkerson found that by implementing fitness into his everyday schedule, he reaps the benefits within his mental health.

“For me, when I get really stressed out, I like to go workout, sometimes even twice a day just to get out all my stress,” Wilkerson said. “Eventually, once I tire myself, I don’t even stress about what I was stressing about anymore.”

Saad Shaikh, a junior majoring in Economics, uses fitness and time-management to help his mental health. He takes time to map out his homework and workouts each week.

“Some days, I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to have a 5 a.m. workout, it gives me mental clarity for the rest of my day,” said Shaikh, “Working out this midterm season helped reduce my stress levels significantly.”

Something to work for

Working out while dealing with finals season may be hard, but according to Fogle, finding time and an internal motivator helps.

“Even when everything goes away at the end of the day, you have to have something driving you no matter what,” Fogle said.

Picture courtesy of Sofia Gonzalez (photo of Kameron Wilkerson)

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