It is widely recommended that colleges and universities encourage their students to engage in regular exercise and promote programs that help facilitate greater physical wellness. Your students’ physical health goes far beyond muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness: Some of the non-physical benefits of routine exercise include lower levels of stress and improved mental health. Given that sedentary behavior has increased among university students over the past decade—and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic—it’s more important than ever to raise awareness of these benefits.
The benefits of exercise go beyond physical wellness
Exercise provides multi-faceted wellness benefits for college students. We know there is a positive link between college students who are physically healthy and academic achievement. There is also evidence that sedentary behavior is linked to increased levels of stress and poorer mental health. In addition, research shows that on days when college students engage in more physical activity than is typical for them, they experience greater satisfaction with life.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health looked deeper into these associations. The researchers surveyed 12,492 university students across 24 countries. Their study results verify what we would expect: Higher levels of sedentary behavior were associated with lower levels of life satisfaction, happiness, and perceived health. Unsurprisingly, they also found that moderate or high levels of physical activity were correlated with higher life satisfaction, greater happiness, and better perceived health. The researchers concluded that programs that reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity can play an important role in students’ lives because of the consistent associations with improved physical and emotional wellness.
CampusWell can help you encourage and promote physical activity
As a college administrator, you may already have several programs in place that encourage your students to be more physically active both on- and off-campus. But how many students are actually aware of and participate in your programs and use the resources you provide? CampusWell’s online platform can help you expand the reach and effectiveness of your health promotion messages, and increase student engagement with your wellness efforts.
Along with consistent, student-friendly content promoting healthy lifestyles, CampusWell offers customizable sites where schools can share news, resources, and events from all of their student affairs departments (not just the rec center or health services). Best of all, our versatile platform is available to your students 24/7 to assist with all of their wellness needs—whether they’re looking for motivation in the form of an online workout, nutritious budget-friendly recipes, or how to access counseling services on your campus.
CampusWell is a versatile platform that helps make a multi-departmental wellness initiative simple, sustainable, and engaging. Using technology, high quality, research-based content, and proven marketing strategies, together with your existing assets, we deliver a campus-wide wellness platform that will positively impact your students and institution.
Castro, O., Bennie, J., Vergeer, I., Bosselut, G., & Biddle, S. (2020). How Sedentary Are University Students? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research, 21(3), 332–343. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-020-01093-8
López-Valenciano, A., Suárez-Iglesias, D., Sanchez-Lastra, M. A., & Ayán, C. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on University Students’ Physical Activity Levels: An Early Systematic Review. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 624567. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.624567
Maher, J. P., Doerksen, S. E., Elavsky, S., & Conroy, D. E. (2014). Daily satisfaction with life is regulated by both physical activity and sedentary behavior. Journal of sport & exercise psychology, 36(2), 166–178. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2013-0185
Pengpid, S., & Peltzer, K. (2019). Sedentary Behaviour, Physical Activity and Life Satisfaction, Happiness and Perceived Health Status in University Students from 24 Countries. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(12), 2084.
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