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MCC Daily Tribune

Wellness Wednesday Week 2: The Connection Between Exercise and Emotional Regulation

If you’re looking for a way to improve your emotional regulation, numerous studies have found that even moderate aerobic exercise can do just that!

Below are some creative ways to get moving:

  • Taking a walk around the block during your lunch break
  • Opting for the stairs instead of the elevator in your building
  • Gardening
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Shooting hoops
  • Jumping rope
  • Parking a little further away from your destination to add in some steps
  • Washing your car in the driveway
  • Cleaning your home environment
  • Turning on your favorite soundtrack and dancing it out for 15 minutes

While the activities above may be considered less intense than running or lifting weights, they still get your heart pumping, and we know that any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving has the potential to help improve your mood.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes or more of exercise per day for 3 to 5 days per week may significantly improve symptoms of anxiety or depression. Interestingly, smaller amounts of physical activity (even 10 to 15 minutes at a time), may also make a difference in symptom intensity. For this reason, we encourage you to broaden your definition of exercise and search for ways to add even small amounts of it throughout your day. Most importantly, give yourself kudos when you do engage in physical activity, because every little bit counts!

The Mayo Clinic further points out that exercise eases mental health symptoms by being a healthy coping outlet, releasing feel-good endorphins, providing a distraction from worried thinking, helping you get in shape and boost your self-confidence, and often encouraging social interaction with others.

Maybe you’re following along with one of our Couch to 5K training plans and wondering what to do to stay active on your cross-training or rest days. Or maybe you’re someone who is looking to ease into exercise more gradually than the plans call for. Either way, we encourage you to prioritize your emotional and physical health, and to consider preparing for the upcoming academic year by building healthy new routines that include physical activity.

Yours in community and health,

The MCC Couch to 5K Wellness Program Planning Team

Morgan Kennell
Counseling Center & Disability Services