Get moving for your mental health

Written by Nicholas Boyce. Nicholas Boyce, is a PSU student intern with the Jana Marie Foundation.The Jana Marie Foundation Jana Marie envisions communities working together to knock down walls and transform emotional distress into resilience and hope.

Mental health has become a huge concern within the past year with the Covid-19 Pandemic forcing the nation into lockdown. With people being separated from friends and family and spending most of their days sitting behind a computer screen, the pandemic has created its share of mental health challenges. There are many different ways to make sure that you are nurturing your mental health and one of the most important is physical activity.

Physical activity has been proven to have a profound effect on one's mental and

emotional health. Activities as simple as taking a thirty-minute walk can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety as well as improve people's overall self-image. People who can get into a habit of exercising regularly find that they are more happy, less tired during the day, and find themselves more productive overall.

If you can get into the habit of exercising for at least thirty minutes each day you can improve your overall mental health by leaps and bounds. There are many other simple activities such as dancing, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and pushups. These activities can be done in your house or outside and don’t require any equipment. While these exercises seem simple, they can help nurture your mental health and control feelings of anxiety and stress.

According to studies from Harvard, daily exercise can be more effective than antidepressant medication. The endorphins and other chemicals released during exercise help to improve feelings of happiness and acceptance of oneself. Being physically active can also help people you get past trauma or PTSD. Exercising gives you an outlet to focus on instead of letting yourself think too much.

For me as a student at Penn State I try to make sure that every day I do some sort of physical activity whether that is going to the gym or even just taking a walk. While it can be hard to stay in the routine once you get started you won’t want to turn back. I for one can say that with the stress of classes and all the issues of today exercising is a great way to clear your head and get everything off your mind.

The Jana Marie Foundation invites you to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month with them this May:

  1. Youth Mental Health First Aid, $35 , May 7: 9am - 2:30pm. Email for more details.

  2. Pandemic Poetry on May 4 and May 11. This program is free but registration is required. Register online:

  3. Mindful Drumming on May 22, from 3pm - 4pm @ Harvest Fields. Email for more details.

  4. Wellness Kit giveaways throughout May. Learn more at the Jana Marie Foundation.