Category Archives: Exercise

Reduce Stress with Physical Activity

College can be stressful. Stress will always be part of life, so the key question is: how will you respond to it? Researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) studied one strategy to help you handle stress during college: physical activity (1). The researchers conducted a 3-day program called “Fitness4Finals” (F4F), which focused on increasing the physical activity of college students during final exams. The goal of the program was to reduce stress levels associated with final exams.

The program included light, moderate, and high intensity exercises. The light intensity exercises included yoga, Pilates, Thai-chi (50 minute duration). Moderate intensity exercises included 50 minute fitness walking, 10-30 minute stair climb, and 4 minute Flash mob. High intensity exercises included 50 minute boot-camp, 50 minute cardio-boxing, and 1.5-5 minute obstacle course. The students participated in at least one of these exercises every day for 3 days.

Researchers examined the change in perceived psychological stress (PPS) of students before and after F4F events. The results revealed that the program was effective in lowering perceived stress of participants. However, physiological measures of stress were not significantly different.

At the end of the program, students said:

  • “I was able to clear my mind and [physical activity] helped me focus more when I did have to sit down and study [for finals].”
  • “[Physical activity] gave me an active outlet and break from schoolwork.”
  • “I felt compelled to relax my mind.”
  • “I felt mentally relaxed after yoga and meditation.”

Being active can be beneficial on many levels, including improving academic performance (2), mental health, social health and physical health (3). You can receive these benefits from any type of physical activity, including fitness walking, jogging, stair climbing, boxing, Pilates, Thai-chi, swimming, and playing basketball, tennis, football. You can make physical activity fun by discovering the exercises you enjoy the most!

College can be stressful, especially during finals. One way to manage stress is by being active. As one of the participants of F4F stated, physical activity can give you an opportunity to clear your mind and relax, which will help you concentrate better during studying. Next time you feel stressed, take a walk or play basketball!

Sources

  1. Koschel, Tessa L., John C. Young, and James W. Navalta. “Examining the Impact of a University-driven Exercise Programming Event on End-of-semester Stress in Students.” International journal of exercise science 10.5 (2017): 754.
  2. Salas CR, Minakata K, Kelemen WL. Walking before study enhances free recall but not judgement-of-learning magnitude. J Cognitive Psychol. 2011;23(4):507–513.
  3. de Vries JD, van Hooff MM, Geurts SE, Kompier MJ. Exercise as an intervention to reduce study-related fatigue among university students: a two-arm Parallel randomized controlled trial. Plos ONE. 2016;11(3):1–21.

Written by HealthWorks member, Deniz Siso

Welcome to the Wellness Suite

What is the Wellness Suite?
The Wellness Suite is located in 020 IM and offers a variety of services and houses both the Center for Fitness and Wellness (CFW) and Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW).

What services are offered at the Wellness Suite?
The suite is divided into two areas. HPW (part of Student Affairs) offers wellness services and the nutrition clinic in this section of its space. Students from the peer education program, HealthWorks, conduct the free wellness services. As a student you can sign up for services on these topics: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Sleep, Stress, Healthy Relationships/Sexual Health, and Financial Wellness. Each service consists of three, one-hour session over a three week period. These services are open to all Penn State students and are a great opportunity to take a step towards making healthy lifestyle changes! You can also schedule a nutrition clinic appointment with a registered dietitian. The suite includes a relaxation room with adult coloring books, biofeedback software, and other calming features such as zen gardens and relaxation soundtracks. During the gray winter months, you can use a light therapy box in the relaxation room. All are welcome to come unwind! Wellness services and nutrition clinic appointments are free.

The CFW is part of Kinesiology and offers fitness testing. The CFW peer interns conduct fitness assessments and blood lipid/glucose testing. The fitness assessment consists of body composition, VO2 max bike test, push-up, curl-up, and flexibility tests. Several of the Kinesiology fitness classes (e.g. 061, 093, 201) require students to complete fitness and blood testing, but any student is welcome to make an appointment! The fitness assessment takes ~45 minutes and costs $13.27 and the blood testing is $29.76.

How do I sign up for HPW Wellness Services?
Phone: 814-863-0461
Web: Schedule using https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/free-wellness-services 
Click “schedule online”
Choose a service that interests you!
Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

How do I sign up for fitness testing with the CFW?
Phone: 814-865-4488
Web: https://sites.psu.edu/kinescfw/schedule-your-assessment/ 
Hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Physical Wellness: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Cultivate It

What does it mean to have Physical Wellness? Physical wellness means getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy and balanced diet, being physically active every day, and getting an annual medical check-up (1).

Why is Physical Wellness Important? Physical wellness is important because your body needs to be healthy so you can perform to the best of your ability in all areas of your life, including academically.  Physical activity is just one aspect of physical wellness.  It also includes managing your stress, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet.  Many college students struggle with getting enough sleep.  Staying up late to cram for an exam or write a paper can be counterproductive because you will accrue sleep debt.  If you are sleep-deprived, your memory will not be as good and you will not be able to learn efficiently or focus your attention.  Also, sleep, stress and physical activity are all connected.  If you are physically active, you will reduce your stress level and will probably sleep better as well.

How do you cultivate Physical Wellness?  To cultivate physical wellness you must get adequate sleep (7-9 hours) every night (1). Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day. Incorporate strength training and stretching into your exercise routine (5). You can achieve a balanced diet by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (1 serving = about 1 cup), eating whole grains and, if you eat meat, make sure the protein is lean (e. g., fish, chicken). Limit saturated fats, but consider including more unsaturated fatty acids found in foods such as chia seeds, avocados, and salmon (6). Avoid consuming trans fats (6). In general, make sure to eat a variety of whole foods to get the most out of every meal (7).

Sources

  1. Ohio State University Student Wellness Center: 9 Dimensions of Wellness https://swc.osu.edu/about-us/9-dimensions-of-wellness/
  2. Harvard Health Publishing; Harvard Medical School: Importance of Sleep: 6 reasons not to scrimp on sleep https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health
  3. UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services: https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/wellness/physical
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Why is Sleep Important? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html
  6. Choose My Plate: Saturated, Unsaturated, and Trans Fats https://www.choosemyplate.gov/saturated-unsaturated-and-trans-fats
  7. Choose My Plate: USDA Food Pyramid http://www.foodpyramid.com/myplate/

Exercise is Medicine

Exercise is Medicine on campus (EMOC) is a global health initiative that promotes exercise as a way to decrease chronic disease. Exercise is Medicine is designed to increase physical activity and use exercise as the best ‘medicine.’ Every year in October, Penn State’s Kinesiology department organizes a week-long series of events to spread the word about how exercise can improve the well-being of Penn State students and employees.  Based on the Penn State Health Assessment, 56% of students are meeting the national guidelines for aerobic exercise (1). However, 50% of students report spending 4 or more hours per day on their computer, mobile device or watching TV (not including time for work or schoolwork).

There’s still work to be done, which is why this is a great campaign to get people moving! Health is wealth. Keep moving Penn State.

1. Penn State Student Health Assessment 2016 https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.psu.edu/dist/b/4423/files/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf 

Extreme Stater 2017 Heats Up the Competition at Stone Valley

On Saturday, October 14th, 2017, Penn State Health Promotion & Wellness and Campus Recreation partnered to host the fifth annual Extreme Stater outdoor adventure race. Held at the Stone Valley Recreation Area, 23 teams navigated their way through eighteen different obstacles ranging from mental, physical, and team-building challenges.

Racers take off from the start

Prior to the race, teams strategized how they would navigate through Stone Valley. Each team received a map at check-in, along with t-shirts, a goodie bag and race numbers. While some teams competed for the prizes, all were there for the fun! During the race, students enjoyed friendly competition and “outside of the classroom”  learning.

Team 11 works their way through the ‘team traverse’ obstacle.

Each team, comprised of four racers, had to travel from the West to the East side of Stone Valley’s Lake Perez through eighteen obstacles challenging each racer’s physical and mental abilities. Racers completed the group traverse, trail run, mud crawl, zip line, rock climbing, and so much more to try and win first place. Winners were based on how many obstacles their team finished and how quickly.

This year, we are congratulating the PSU Peacocks for winning first place for the third time in a row, finishing in only one hour and eleven minutes! Congratulations to all of the teams that competed, and thank you to both the participants and volunteers for making this the best Extreme Stater race yet! This is an event that students look forward to each fall semester. Get ready for another year of Extreme fun, we’ll see you in 2018!

Ranking of Teams

1st Place: the PSU Peacocks

Members: Jason Cornell, Colin Fisher, Emily Peacock, Elizabeth Morgan Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes

2nd Place: Buns on the Run

Members: Olivia Dickerson, Christoph McLane, Koby Allen, Leah Markevic Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes

3rd Place: The Extreme(ly Unathletic) Staters

Members: Tyler Bowes, Victoria Arnold, Natalie Mammel, Ryan Fritz Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

4th Place: Barb 2.0 Members: Craig Miller, Justin Roarty Sarah Wolverton, Christina Cheruka Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

5th Place: Team Hard Bodies

Members: Carolyn Hancock, Noah Walls, Gianluca Alonzi, Megan Menzel

Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

6th Place: Game On

Members: Tommy Walters, Nate Albergo, Isabella Urbina, Lindsey Scarpa

Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

7th Place: JENT

Members: Noah Chast, Jenna Pelawitz, Tyler Dolgos, Eileen Reiley

Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

8th Place: Worst Pace Scenario

Members: Avery Reale, Levi Renninger, Lauren Nelson, Sydney Pellegrini

Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

9th Place: Team 14

Members: Sabrina Pellegrini, Eve Jones, Dor Tillinger, Kyle Akley

Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

10th Place: Call Me a Cab

Members: Monica Seglar Arroyo, Valentin View, Elizabeth Rea, Pierre Bouhaddane

Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

11th Place: A Case of the Runs

Members: Bill Manning, Delaney Padgett, Ting-Wen Wang, Daniel Marks

Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

12th Place: Garbanzo Beans

Members: Kathryn Hayden, Heidi Myer, Jefferey Gleason, Nathaniel Ensanian

Time:1 hour, 43 minutes

13th Place: Shake and Bake

Members: Hannah Willig, Melissa Martin, Taylor Clayton, Naveed Stegamat

Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

14th Place: The 100 Acre Woods

Members: Nisha Sheth, Alex Campbell, Kathleen Campbell, Tim Walter

Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

15th Place: Team Aurora

Members: Edward hegemann, Arin Lewis, Emma Domico, Samantha Mathews

Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

16th Place: Back to the Roots

Members: Francisco Menendez, Sarah Pfaff, Christian Cantos, Catherine Hoover

Time: 1hour, 51 minutes

17th Place: Team 6

Members: Claire Rosenberger, Aditya Kalgutkav, Kelsey Neff, Ayush Thomas, Kelcie Guns

Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

18th Place: Team 22

Members: Gabriella Disla Otero, Alexandra Valentin, Jose Flores, Waldemar Rivera

Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

19th Place: Team 23

Members: Emma Clement, Emily Strohm, Grady Weinheimer, Andrew O’Neill

Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

20th Place: 2Good4U

Members: Papon Jungwiwattanaporn, Kittichote Veeranuntawet, Kanchita Klangboonkrong, Prapassorn Numkiatsakul

Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

21st Place: Procrastination Station

Members: Kerstyn Auman, Christina McMahon, Shane Varugnete, Tyler Sullivan

Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

22nd Place: Wildlives

Members: Matthew Mo, Deniz Siso, Nathan Danz, Wenziao Xi

Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes

23rd Place: SMAK

Members: Sabrina Rostu, Alex Lettieri, Mark Nusser, Kahil Fortson

Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Congratulations to all of our racers! Additional pictures can be found on the Healthy Penn State Facebook page.

Manage Stress 101

Everyone gets excited about returning to Happy Valley for the start of fall semester. As activities and classes get underway, it’s inevitable that your stress level will increase.  On the spring 2016 National College Health Assessment, 27% of undergrads at University Park said stress had a negative effect on their academic performance. To keep your stress in check here are a few tips:

Exercise. One of the best ways to manage stress and keep your body healthy is exercise. Physical activity increases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel good (1). Exercise can also improve brain function so you feel and perform better in school (2).

Meditate. Try a yoga class or practice mindfulness exercises. Research shows that meditation can help reduce stress, depression and pain (3).

Take a Break. Read a book. Go for a jog or a walk. Watch TV or listen to music. The American Psychological Association recommends taking a 20 minute break if you are feeling overwhelmed by a situation or project (4).

Find your friends. Talking about your problems to a friend, sibling, or parent actually reduces stress (4). Talking to someone about what’s causing you stress can give you the social support you need to get through the problem.

These tips will help you reduce stress and may improve your mood and performance. Stay ahead this semester by managing your stress with a Mange Stress Workbook.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, April 16). Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
  2. Hillman, C. Erikson, K. Kramer, A. (Janurary 2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition.  Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n1/full/nrn2298.html?foxtrotcallback=true
  3. Corliss, Julie. (2016, December 14). Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Anxiety and Mental Stress. Harvard Heart Letter. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967
  4. American Psychological Association staff. (2017). Five Tips to Help Manage Stress. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx