Shelly Pierson jogs discussion about mental and physical health


Alex Martin, Staff member

Faculty and students gathered in the Diablo Room at Diablo Valley College on April 10 to listen to kinesiology professor and cross country coach Shelly Pierson discuss the relationship between physical and mental health.

“The first thing I do every morning is clear my mind through exercise,” said Pierson. “It really does help me adapt and cope with everything that I need to accomplish within a day.”

While Pierson finds time to exercise, students at DVC have also found time to make it routine to workout.

“I just run in a park near my house,” said DVC student Savannah Gomez. “I probably run like eight miles a week.”

Pierson later went on to talk about how some individuals will make excuses instead of finding time to exercise, explaining how some physical education teachers would have to teach what the state requires and not teach what would actually help students stay in great shape.

“Some people have had negative experiences in the past,” said Pierson. “Rather than the situation being student centered, it was teacher centered and what was best for the teacher or what the school could provide rather than innovating and providing the student with activities that they could do.”

Pierson talked about how technology plays a big part in why some people might not exercise. Millennials, in particular, tend to be obsessed with social media, constantly glued to their devices.

“Especially with our millennials and younger generations where video games became very prevalent,” said Pierson. “I’m talking about Call of Duty and things along that line that are much more realistic that consume individuals for hours upon hours.”

But according to Pierson, it’s not just millennials who are regularly distracted by tech. The group also includes people that are older.

“I come to find that it’s not just millennials,” Pierson added. “It’s like 30 and 40 years old that are spending 12 hours a day playing these video games and literally not coming out of their rooms.”

There are some positives that come with exercise on a consistent basis as Pierson shares. Exercise can wake up your brain as well as decrease your stress and anxiety level. It can also improve your mood as well as your self-esteem level. Along with Pierson, student Savannah Gomez also felt that exercise is great for mental health.

“It keeps me more alert and have a longer attention span,” said Gomez.

Factors that sometimes play into not exercising can be working, going to class, family matters, or just common life. Executive Director of a non-profit athletic company Annie Marggraff exercises very consistently.

“I’m probably a pretty abnormal person with how much I exercise. I’m actually running the Boston Marathon in a few days,” said Marggraff. “I exercise seven days a week and run like 60 miles a week so I’m probably a little above average, but exercise has been extremely critical for my development as a person and definitely the social interactions that Shelly talked about really important in my general mental health and well-being.”