Got stress? Most of us do, dealing with it in ways ranging from healthy (yoga and meditation) to unhealthy (chocolate and ice cream) to downright dangerous (drugs and binge drinking). Want to go for the healthiest, most helpful option? A new study points to a combination of social interaction and exercise as the key, reported the Business Standard on September 8. Researchers evaluated college students to determine what worked for stress reduction. The result: By exercising vigorously at least three days a week with others, the students had improved mental health and reduced stress.
If you're a student or an adult who wants to reduce your stress, follow these tips from the researchers:
- Get social. The study indicated that students who had five or more friends or spent more than 2 hours a day with others had the best mental health.
- Get physical. Lead author of the study, Nicole A. VanKim, M.P.H, a Ph.D. candidate in the division of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said that the findings indicate that "socializing is an important aspect of engaging in vigorous physical activity, better mental health, and less perceived stress."
In addition, if you have children, encourage them to get active. The study discovered that the students who were more physically active in adolescence were more apt to continue those good habits as they aged. And it's an affirmation for First Lady Michelle Obama, whose "Let's Move" program emphasizes social exercise in school to help battle childhood obesity. Learn more about her views by clicking here.