Calling all runners, joggers, and walkers. Are you interested in completing a 5k?
Join Club Cross Country, Campus Recreation, and Health Promotion and Wellness on February 23rd for a fun Penn State community event, the Winter Thaw 5K. The event starts at 10:00 am at the Westgate Building (intersection of Burrowes and Pollock). The pre-registration table will be in the HUB 11 am to 2 pm on February 18 – 22. The registration fee is only $10 prior to race day. Registration fees increase to $15 on race day, February 23. Look for the Winter Thaw Run banner. Participants are guaranteed a race bag filled with goodies. Race day registration is $15 and will start at 9:00 am on February 23rd at the intersection of Burrowes and Pollock.
The top five male and top five female finishers will receive prizes. Registration forms will be available at the registration tables. A downloadable version is available here.
Working out is important to your physical and mental health. You might have questions about what to eat before and after workouts. I have done some research on the topic and want to share my findings with you. Eating a snack before working out in the morning will provide a boost of energy because your body has been fasting during the night. Eating a snack before working out in the late afternoon will also provide much needed energy given that you probably eat lunch several hours earlier. Experts in the field recommend that you eat something within one hour after working out to maximize recovery, if you are not planning to eat a regular meal. Below are some examples of balanced snacks and meals that will help fuel your body.
The type of food you should eat before a workout depends on the type of activity that you have planned. For strength training, aim for a snack rich in protein. This may include 6 ounces low fat Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of almonds, string cheese or an energy bar with 8 or more grams of protein (1). For a cardio workout, complex carbohydrates are a great energy source. Examples include a small box of raisins (2 tablespoons), a small banana, or one slice of whole wheat bread with a thin layer of peanut butter. Try eating these foods 30-60 minutes before working out to allow time for digestion.
If you exercise immediately before a meal like breakfast or lunch, then skip the post-workout snack and fuel your body with a healthy meal that contains quality carbohydrates and protein. Base your meal on the MyPlate guidelines to ensure that it is balanced and contains each food group (3). One example of a well-balanced meal is hard cooked eggs with a slice of whole grain toast and 100% fruit juice or oatmeal with berries and milk (2). If you workout later in the morning, try having a grilled chicken salad (with vegetables, nuts, quinoa and fruit such as apples or cranberries to provide a well-rounded meal with protein, fats, and carbohydrates) or turkey sub with whole wheat bread and a side of veggies for lunch.
If you do not have a meal planned close to your workout, plan to have a snack to replenish carbohydrate stores and repair muscles. Examples of great post workout snacks include: one tablespoon of nut butter on apple slices, 6-8 ounces of low fat chocolate milk or a string cheese with a few whole grain crackers.
Remember to hydrate and rehydrate! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16-20 ounces of water at least 4 hours before working out and another 8-12 ounces 10 or 15 minutes after working out (4). Sip 3 to 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes during any work out that is less than 1 hour (1). Keep your body properly hydrated and fueled to get the best workout possible. We hope you have a fulfilling workout!
Michael N. Sawka, FACSM (chair); Louise M. Burke, FACSM, E. Randy Eichner, FACSM, Ronald J. Maughan, FACSM, Scott J. Montain, FACSM, Nina S. Stachenfeld, FACSM. American College of Sports Medicine Exercise and Fluid Replacement Position Stand
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
2nd Place: Buns on the Run
3rd Place: The Extreme(ly Unathletic) Staters
4th Place: Barb 2.0 Members: Craig Miller, Justin Roarty Sarah Wolverton, Christina Cheruka Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
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.
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