Category Archives: On Campus

See what’s new from the Health Promotion and Wellness department within University Health Services at Penn State University Park.

A Peer Educator’s Perspective on Financial Wellness

As a peer educator for HealthWorks, people often assume I have it all figured out. In reality, I am just as eager to learn about our services as I am to facilitate them. Our Financial Wellness service in particular has taught me so many valuable lessons that I have been able to integrate into my daily life.

This service taught me how to make and actually KEEP a budget. Rather than making one and forgetting about it, my budget is now something I refer to regularly. I learned effective strategies for saving money.  I also learned the importance of starting to build credit during my time in college. The financial wellness service dives into how to build credit responsibly and positively so that I can benefit in the future.

Finally, I learned how to manage my student loans and plan for repayment. This was a huge weight off of my shoulders, because it’s something that was always in the back of my mind. Now, I am aware of where I stand in terms of repayment and I don’t feel as overwhelmed.

If you’re struggling with saving money, sticking to a budget, or just curious about financial wellness, this service is definitely for you. I thought I had a decent handle on my finances before participating in this service, but there is always more to learn, and this service will help.

Don’t wait! Get on your way to building financial wellness today. Book an appointment at https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services/myuhs or call 814.863.0461.

Written by Caitlyn Lazorka, HealthWorks member

 

 

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

Sexual Violence Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Violence Awareness Month.   The goal of the month is to increase awareness about sexual violence in the US and on college campuses.  The National Sexual Violence Resource Center defines sexual violence is “any type of unwanted sexual contact” (1).  The Gender Equity Center is working with several departments to sponsor a range of great events this month.  The events are designed to raise awareness, educate, and help prevent sexual assault.

What Were You Wearing? Survivor art installation, April 2 – April 410 AM to 2 PM, 134 HUB

Men Against Violence Walk April 9, 2:30pm, Heritage Hall, HUB

Honoring Survival: Transforming the Spirit April 9, 6:30pm, Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

Wade Davis: Won’t you celebrate with me April 10, 6:30pm, Freeman Auditorium, HUB

Stevie Tran: She’s Still My Fraternity Brother April 18, 7pm, 233B HUB

For more information about these events, visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity or contact the Gender Equity Center at 814-863-2027 or genderequity@psu.edu.

The University and State College community offer a variety of resources to support victims of sexual violence (2).

Centre County Women’s Resource Center –  140 W. Nittany Avenue, State College, PA. Hours vary. Phone: 814-238-7066 and 24 hour crisis hotline: 1-877-234-5050

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – 501 Student Health Center. Open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Phone: 814-863-0395. Penn State Crisis Hotline 1-877-229-6400. Crisis Text Line: Text “LIONS” to 741741

Gender Equity Center – 204 Boucke Building, Open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm,

University Health Services – Student Health CenterHours vary, click the link for details: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services/pharmacy/hours-parking  Call 814-863-4463 to speak with an advice nurse 24/7

Sources:

  1. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2018). About Sexual Assault.  Retrieved from https://www.nsvrc.org/about-sexual-assault-friends-family
  2. Penn State Student Affairs. (2018). Confidential Support. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/victim-survivor-support-advocacy/confidential-support

De-Stress at the Wellness Suite

Enjoy end-of-semester activities at the new Wellness Suite. Visit 20 Intramural Building for stress reduction activities in March and April. Bring your friends and enjoy an hour of fun. All activities are 5-6pm in 20IM.

During the month of March, there will be two fun and engaging activities. On Thursday, March 22nd enjoy making your very own overnight oats and trail mix! On March 29th come practice meditation with the Dharma Lions! Something we could all use as finals approach.

If you cannot make any of the March activities, no worries! April also has two dates filled with fun and relaxation. On Thursday, April 5th come try out Pilates! On Thursday, April 12th experience how art can help with mindfulness. Create your own face mask and enjoy the comfort of the suite!

Remember to check back in for more updates about activities happening in the wellness suite.

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

4th Annual Winter Thaw 5K

For the last 4 years, Health Promotion and Wellness has teamed up with Club Cross Country to hold the Winter Thaw 5K. The 5K provides an opportunity to spend time with friends on the weekend while getting fit! Despite the chilly rain, lots of students and community members participated!

Seventy-seven runners and walkers gathered at 10:00 a.m. on west campus on Saturday, February 24. All participants received a pair of running gloves and a bag filled with Healthy Penn State swag. At the finish, KIND bars were handed out to everyone who crossed the line. The top male and female finishers received a 1-month supply of KIND snacks! The top 5 male and top 5 female runners received a gift card for Rapid Transit Sports. The top 5 men were Ray Friend, Matthew Pennock, Matthew Beyerle, Ben Hietsch, and Mark Puleo. Ray Friend finished with a time of 15:54. The top 5 women were Baylee Robey, Grace McStravock, Megan Ellery, Rachael Wittmer, and Kelly Dworak. Baylee Robey finished with a time of 18:50. The full results, including times, can be found here http://nvrun.com/index.php/racing/results/3667-4th-annual-thaw-5k

A big thank you from HealthWorks and Club Cross Country to all 77 participants and our sponsors for participating and thawing out with us!

Healthy Eating with HealthWorks Cooking Demonstration

HealthWorks utilized the kitchen in Beaver Hall to prepare a full, healthy meal for students. The purpose of the demonstration was to help students see how easy it is to make a nutritious meal with fresh ingredients.

In just thirty minutes we were able to prepare guacamole, black bean salad and vegetarian stuffed peppers. All three of these dishes are simple, healthy alternatives that can be prepared quickly for dinner or prepared at the beginning of the week to be eaten at a later time.

One of HealthWorks goals is to help students develop cooking skills that they’ll need when they move off campus.  The kitchens in the residence halls are a great resource to help you start learning skills that you’ll need when you move into an apartment. By setting aside time in the day to prepare meals, or even once a week to meal-prep, you can create a healthy, nutritious meal with your friends. The recipes used in our demonstration, along with many other easy and delicious recipes and video tutorials, can be found here on the Healthy Penn State website in the Health Eating section.

How to Combat the Winter Blues: Stay Light at the Wellness Suite

Do you experience feeling “down” during the winter months? In the medical world, this is known as “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD). The term SAD is used to describe recurring major depression with a seasonal pattern. However, most of us have mood fluctuations during this time of year that can be described as “winter blues”. Since sunlight can be rare in Central Pennsylvania during the short, dark days of winter, many individuals struggle with feeling down and having a lack of energy (1).

How can I boost my mood in the winter? 
There are several ways to improve your mood during the winter months. Most of the recommended tips involve every day health behaviors: 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, a balanced diet with at least 5 servings (about 5 cups) of fruits and vegetables per day, and spending time with friends and family. Research also shows that use of light therapy boxes can significantly improve feelings of sadness during the winter months (1).

How can I access light therapy boxes?
PSU students can use the new light therapy boxes in the Wellness Suite in 20 Intramural Building. The light therapy boxes can be used in the relaxation room. It is recommended that students use the lights for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning. A trained peer educator will walk you through how to use the light box.

Stop by the suite and check out the light boxes. The Wellness Suite is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Call us at 814-863-0461 or email promotinghealth@psu.edu, if you have questions.

1. Melrose, Sherri. “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches.” Depression Research and Treatment 2015 (2015): 178564. PMC. Web. 13 Feb. 2018.

 

Importance of Breakfast

You have heard the adage before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  Is it though?  Let’s look at some data:

  • Individuals who eat breakfast have higher intakes of vitamins and minerals like fiber, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients (Nicklas, Bao, Webber & Berrenson, 1993).
  • Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function and academic performance, and reduced absenteeism (Taras, 2005).

Taking a little time for breakfast can make a big difference even if you are in a hurry.  Here are some quick grab and go breakfast ideas: a nutrition and a piece of fruit, yogurt with nuts or overnight oats packed in a to-go container.  If you have more time, try making scrambled or hard boiled eggs with a piece of whole grain toast.

For more great breakfast ideas, download the Time for Breakfast brochure. The brochure was created by Alexandra Kummerer, an undergraduate nutrition major at Penn State.

Health Promotion and Wellness now accepting applications for peer educators

Health Promotion and Wellness is currently accepting applications for HealthWorks, a peer outreach and education program at University Park. The deadline to apply is March 2.

HealthWorks offers two unique opportunities for students who are interested in health and wellness. These opportunities include facilitating one-on-one wellness services and conducting outreach events and educational workshops. During the application process students prioritize which opportunity they are most interested in.

Participation in the program is a three semester commitment, which includes one semester of training (during fall 2018)  and two semesters of service. For this reason, students who wish to apply must plan to graduate in fall 2019 or later.

Training for the program requires the completion of a three-credit course offered through Biobehavioral Health in the fall semester.  Students learn about the following topics in the course: alcohol and other drugs, financial literacy, sexual health, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress. There are no prerequisites required to register for the course.

After completing the 3-credit course, participants are required to complete 45 hours of service each semester. Members participate in one of two opportunities:  1) deliver free wellness services about stress and time management, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, sexual health and healthy relationships, and financial literacy;  or 2)  conduct educational workshops, hold outreach events, plan and implement health promotion initiatives.  A few examples of the health promotion initiatives include conducting healthy cooking demonstrations, writing blog and social media posts for Healthy Penn State and appearing in The Body Monologues.   A small group of students are trained to provide HIV test counseling.

If you’re passionate about health and promoting the well-being of all Penn State students, then HealthWorks is a great fit for you,” said Christina Volpicelli, a senior majoring in biobehavioral health.  “HealthWorks also offers many leadership and learning opportunities for its members such as video editing, leading health campaigns, public speaking and teaching skills to educate the Penn State community.  Everything you will learn and the people you will meet through this organization will benefit you throughout any career you wish to pursue.”

For more information about HealthWorks, including an application, please visit  http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/wellness/healthWorks.shtml.