Using Exercise to Reduce Stress

Emily Graves, a rising third-year student in the College of Pharmacy, contributed the following article. It is one of the educational initiatives sponsored by the NEOMED’s Student Wellness Committee as part of its peer-support series on eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. The concept of eight dimensions of wellness comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a U.S. government agency.

One aspect of wellness that I am passionate about is physical health. The main reason that I love exercise is that it helps me feel less stressed. Exercising makes me feel energized, improves my mood, and makes me more focused on my goals. 

When the gyms shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was at a loss for what to do for exercise until a friend told me about the Sydney Cummings workouts on YouTube. 

Every day, Cummings posts a free new video targeting different muscle groups. The workouts range from 30 to 60 minutes and include a warmup and cool-down stretch. On Sundays, there is a 20-minute rest-day stretch. Many of Cummings’ workouts are bodyweight (using your own body as resistance, as opposed to using external weights), which was great at the beginning of the pandemic, when weights were in short supply. 

My favorite part of the workouts is that they are modifiable to all fitness levels. There is a new challenge every month to complete, which keeps me accountable and engaged. 

Cummings’ motivational message at the end of every workout inspires me to continue to do her workouts and to work on other aspects of wellness. I have enjoyed doing her daily workouts, and I have completed every single one since June 2020. Now that the gyms have reopened, I can continue working out there.

If you have not checked out these fantastic workouts yet, you definitely should!

Share this post