?Benefits of exercise: reduction of anxiety and improvements of well-being of pregnant women. Physical fitness has many positive effects on individuals’ physical health and well-being (). Exercise has been shown in previously conducted research to help ease muscle tension, alleviate back pain, and help regulate blood pressure (Jones, Dean and Lo, 2002). Exercise activity releases endorphins in the brain, which can improve mental focus, reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem (McArthur and Raedeke, 2009). People worldwide turn to physical fitness in search of improving their physical and mental well-being.
Pregnancy is extremely stressful period for women worldwide. During this time, women are prone to experience a great deal of stress, apprehension and anxiety (Jorgensen, Dusek, Richards and McIntyre, 2009). A variety of studies have been conducted over the years to examine the benefits of physical exercise on the physical and metal well-being of pregnant women. (Ritvanen, Louhevaara, Helin, Halonen and Hanninen, 2007). Exercise and academic performance Cardiovascular fitness has been shown to have a positive effect on brain function and cognition of individuals (Hillman, Erickson and Kramer, 2008).
In their study Hillman et al, (2008) observed that physical activity is responsible for the activation of frontoparital network in the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for working memory, multi-tasking, planning, and reading. As the result of their study Hillman et al. (2008) found positive correlation between reading achievements of individuals and aerobic capacity. Moreover, Hillman et al. (2008) discovered a positive correlation between mathematic achievements and aerobic capacity. The researchers reported that increasing physical activity would improve focus and attention of an individual and improve academic performance.
A study carried out by (Jones, Dean and Lo, 2002), revealed that incorporating exercise activities in the daily routines of college students in Hong Kong is positively related to better academic grades and psychological well-being. The study conducted by Jones et al. (2002), reflected exercise frequency is related to managing blood pressure levels of an individual. Lower blood pressure levels induced focus and concentration, when compared to high blood pressure levels. Concentration and mental alertness during academic tasks is vital for college students. In order to conduct their
study, Jones et al. (2002) monitored female and male Hong Kong college student’s grades on academic tests pre and post manipulation. The study revealed that female Honk Kong students were more anxious then male students. The study demonstrated that incorporating exercise activities in the daily routines of college students is positively related to academic performance and psychological well-being (Jones, Dean and Lo, 2002). The study conducted by (Field, Diego and Sanders, 2001) tried to investigate the relationship between students exercise habits, depressive tendencies and academic performance.
In order to conduct their study Field et al. (2001) recruited high school seniors for the purpose of the experiment. The participants of the study were provided with a set of questionnaires which asked them about their exercise habits, depression symptoms, and grade point average in school. Field et al. (2001) reported that students who engaged in high levels of exercise showed less depressive symptoms and had a higher grade point average then students who engaged in low levels of exercise.
Field et al. (2001) mentioned the idea that exercise increases levels neurotransmitters, such as serotonin in the brain. A high level of serotonin has been linked to better academic performance and higher grade point average of students. Study conducted by Johansson, Hassmen, and Jouper (2008) mentioned that several individuals experience psychological stress which may lead to increase of anxiety and depression. Johansson et al. (2008) wanted to investigate if aerobic exercise would have positive effects on psychological well-being of individuals.
As the independent variable Johansson et al. (2008) picked Qigong exercise. The participants of the study were regular qigong exercisers. The subjects were randomly assigned to either exercise or no exercise condition. Participants of both groups were also provided with a set of questionnaire that measured their fatigue, anxiety and depression levels. The results of the study reflected that Qigong exercise group showed lower levels of anxiety and depression then no exercise group. Judging by the results of the study conducted by Johansson et al.
Qigong exercise may have positive effects of mental, physical and psychological health of individual. The purpose of the present study will be to investigate whether aerobic fitness will reduce anxiety levels and improve academic performance of college seniors. High intensity aerobic exercise will be selected for the purpose of this study due to the fact that it increases cardiovascular activity and helps oxygenated blood to disperse throughout the body and increase the circulation in the brain.
When blood reaches the brain it increases focus, concentration and attention of an individual and may help students perform better on academic exams. Discussion Physical activity and aerobic fitness training have positive effect well-being of pregnant women. (source). Introducing physical activity to daily routines of pregnant women, have positive effect on blood pressure, mood and overall well-being. (source). Finally, exercise activity can be the vital tool to help individuals reduce anxiety levels, which is helpful during pregnancy (source).