With finals week either already here or fast approaching for college students across the nation, stress levels are at an all-time high. Many students turn to caffeine to get them through these final days of the semester, pulling all-nighters and pushing their bodies and minds to the brink of exhaustion. While this less-than-healthy method has been labeled as generally acceptable and something to be expected by the average college student, it doesn’t have to be the norm. There is a simple way for students to find some much-needed stress relief and regain motivation during finals week. All they need is a pair of running shoes.
Steve Young, head athletic trainer at Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ), emphasizes the positive impact that running, or exercise in general, has on the human body.
“During exercise, the body releases enzymes that promote positive attitude, healing, and focus,” Young explained. “I encourage students to find time to get active during finals week, even if it’s just a 20-minute light jog.”
Daniela Nino, a freshman at CCSJ and member of the track and cross-country teams, said that running is a form of meditation that helps her adjust to the workload that a college-level finals week brings.
“Before I get moving, I tend to feel stressed thinking about all the things I need to get done, but during the run it all just melts away,” Nino said. “We need to remember to give our brains a break.”
This sentiment is shared by Hannah Arduino, member of the Indiana University Run Club and senior at Indiana University Bloomington.
“I think it’s important to take breaks and go easy on yourself every once in awhile,” Arduino said. “Running gives me a chance to focus on something else, which is really helpful for me since I tend to overthink and stress about a lot of things, especially when it comes to finals.”
While a good run during stressful times can certainly be enjoyed solo, it can also be a great opportunity to get some friends on the move, too.
“Going for a group run is a chance to get away from the solitude of studying alone,” Arduino continued. “Seeing my friends during stressful times is vital for my mental health; I always feel so much better after a good running conversation!”
John Petroskey, former student at Purdue University, said that lacing up his shoes between study sessions improved his thought process and made him more productive throughout the day.
“Running is one of the times when I do my best thinking,” Petroskey said. “I like to think about what I need to get done during that time, and I end up being more organized for the rest of the day.”
Whether you’re a freshman or a fifth-year senior, the stress of finals week will inevitably hit you hard. It demands to be felt, but college students everywhere are reminded that, like every long run, it too will come to an end. Just take things one day, and one stride, at a time.