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Exercise and Your Brain: Chattanooga Edition

CHATTANOOGA, TENN( With the University of Tennessee being in the heart of Chattanooga, there is opportunity for easy-access exercise for college students in the city, which could be considered essential for mental health.

 According to a Florida Southern College Journal,  “75% of individuals will start to see onset symptoms [of mental health issues] between the ages of 18 and 24, making college such a crucial time to address these concerns (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2018).” As finals and syllabus work starts piling on, it may be the right time to prioritize some form of exercise in your daily routine. 

There is a strong correlation between the mental health of college students and physical activity. The Mayo Clinic stated, “Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.” That being said, it is important for students to take action over their mental and physical health. 

While mental health issues could have much deeper rooted causes, daily exercise has been proven to decrease stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression according to The Mayo Clinic. Exercise releases endorphins, which create a feel-good sensation in the brain. 

“Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms,” as stated on The Mayo Clinic’s website. It is not a very demanding life change, but can make drastic differences. 

“I’ve come to the following conclusion: that exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today…” says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. “Exercise actually changes the brain’s anatomy, physiology, and function.” With exercise being so influential on the brain’s activity, it is no wonder it has been proven from countless studies how beneficial it is for mental health. 

Wendy Suzuki’s Ted Talk: “The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise”

Chattanooga has numerous spots for aerobic exercise, spending time outside, and just getting away from schoolwork. HealthScope Magazine has given a list of different spots known for exercise. The Arc also provides students with free group classes, which can encourage a sense of community. There are numerous resources to encourage students to get fit and active on campus.

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