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Four Weeks Without Exercise

Due to a recent back and shoulder injury, I was told by my doctors to refrain from exercising to let it heal for four weeks. Not being able to exercise turned out to have some pretty negative effects on my body. Living an active lifestyle can be difficult in college. We are so bombarded with schoolwork and so many other options that sometimes we just can’t motivate ourselves to get to the gym. My experience not being able to work out for four weeks taught me just how important living an active lifestyle is. 

Increased Fatigue. 

Without my daily dose of endorphins, I was so much more tired yet couldn’t fall asleep at night. Exercise has been proven to improve sleep. It became harder to fall asleep and to wake up in the morning. Suddenly, I needed two cups of coffee to wake up instead of my usual one cup in the morning. 

Carb Cravings. 

During these four weeks, I had an increased craving for anything with carbs—pasta, sweets, bread, sticky rice, pizza, and macaroni. The lack of physical activity in my life created a large appetite. While I had been fine with an apple as a midday snack before, suddenly I needed pasta for lunch. This change in appetite is common for people who are experiencing a lack of physical activity. 

Random Soreness. 

I’m sure most of us know the consequences for living a sedentary life. The list goes on and on. I am used to being a sore after an intense barre class or total body conditioning class. That’s a good type of sore. However, while I was not exercising, I was sore just from sitting all day long. As soon as I started exercising again, that soreness went away. I especially noticed the benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is a great way for collegiettes to stretch out and take some time to reflect. According to the American Osteopathic Association, the physical benefits of practicing yoga include: protection from injury, increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, the maintenance of a balanced metabolism, and more. 

Increased Anxiety. 

College is stressful. I did not realize how much exercising helped me manage my stress until I had to go a month without working out. According to the Harvard T. H. School of Public Health, exercise has been proven to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. My workouts are not only a time for me to unplug for an hour and tune out, they are also my way of alleviating stress. While I have tried flipping through flashcards on the elliptical in the past, I’ve decided to ban schoolwork from the gym. I like taking the time to just breath and enjoy my workout rather than bringing my work with me. 

I encourage all of you collegiettes to make the time to exercise. My experiences have shown me the importance of fitness and I truly believe that just scheduling in a few workouts a week will truly change your outlook on life and help you manage the stress that comes along with schoolwork and our busy schedules.  

 

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Emily is a junior Communications major at Boston College. She loves all things health & wellness and is very involved on campus. In addition to being a writer for Her Campus, she is also involved in Women in Business and Student Admissions Program, and she is a Barbour Brand Ambassador. In her spare time, she can be found catching up on the news via the obscene number of publications she checks each day, sweating it out at SoulCycle, or enjoying a meal with friends.
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