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Wellness > Health

I Tried Exercising to Help My Mental Health

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Hello again, I’m Maddie and I’m doing a series on Pinterest hacks to help my mental health. Last week I tried journaling and it worked well, but this week I wanted to try something different! I chose to try getting active for at least 30 minutes every day. That’s the recommended minimum for a healthy mind and body. I wanted to see if I was actually hitting this every day, so I made an active effort to track my movement. 

According to mentalhealth.org, physical activity can help with controlling stress, aid in regulating and boosting positive moods, help with self-esteem and even boost memory! They also say that it can particularly help people with depression and anxiety to control their symptoms. 

At my exchange institution, the gym is not free. As someone who only went once in a blue moon at Laurier, it wasn’t worth the money to pay for a membership here. So instead, I had to get creative with my exercise! This semester I live in what seems like the middle of nowhere and it takes at least 15 minutes to walk to any of my class buildings, so that was a great way to pick up 30 minutes automatically! 

Only problem? I decided to do this challenge partially during my reading week. That means that I couldn’t reach my goal by just walking to class every day and I had to find other ways to get around. My bankcard also got flagged for fraud this week, so I am surviving on what’s in my fridge and can’t really afford to go anywhere that isn’t free. That, of course, leads to a lot of Netflix and not a lot of travelling or exploring. 

Since I enjoy walking (and it’s free) I decided to keep that up as my 30-a-day, even if I had nowhere, in particular, to walk to. I walked to campus to look at some library books and I walked to the Students’ Union building just to sit at a desk to do some work on my writing. That was particularly nice because it was deserted for reading week and I got the best spot in the whole place. 

But, it was hard to drag myself out of my place aimlessly. There was a day that my ‘physical activity’ of the day was taking out the recycling downstairs. It definitely felt like I needed to have some kind of goal in mind to motivate myself. 

So, overall, how did it work?


I did actually feel a lot better getting out of my room. However, I don’t know if that was the fresh air or the exercise, to be fair. This is something I can definitely see myself keeping up in the future. Even if the exercise itself wasn’t the standout factor in how this week’s ‘hack’ made me feel better, it got me out and doing things, instead of just wallowing. It doesn’t need to be something big, either. It can definitely just be walking to class instead of taking the bus, not only going to the gym! Exercise is exercise, and everything helps. 

Madeline McInnis

Wilfrid Laurier '19

Madeline graduated from the BA+MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020. In her undergraduate degree, she majored in Film Studies and History with a specialization in film theory. She later completed her Master's of English degree, where she wrote her thesis on the construction of historical memory and realism in war films. If you're looking for a recommendation for a fountain pen or dotted notebook, she should be your first line of contact.