If you feel like a walk in a park is all you need to feel physically and mentally better, then you might be right! In a study conducted by Andrew Mowen and other Penn State researchers, it was shown that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians view parks as a valuable place to promote overall health and wellness, and as a critical part of primary health care. These results were based on two surveys; one was sent out via mail to a random sample of 12,000 adults and the other was conducted with outpatients at a medical clinic run by Penn State College of Medicine.
Christopher Sciamanna, one of the co-investigators, thinks the reward structure for primary health care will change in the future. Sciamanna believes that doctors will be paid more for their prevention efforts and keeping patients healthy. Given this redefinition of health care, we may see an increase in the preservation and use of parks, trails and open spaces! (1)
When the sun is shining and you have a few free hours, check out these fun activities to get you moving:
- Go for a walk- this is one of the simplest ways to be active and offers numerous health benefits. Maybe a nature walk is for you or maybe local streets are your thing. Here’s a campus map if you’re at Upark! https://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/files/2016/09/Campus-Run_Walk-Map-accessible-version-2gmv9mi.pdf
- Kick your hiking up a notch and try out rock scrambling. This fun blend of hiking and rock climbing is a great total body workout that improves cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.
- Grab a friend and a Frisbee and head outside for a light and fun workout. Disk golf may be your next favorite activity. Check it out! http://www.pdga.com/introduction
- Go Kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming… the list goes on and on. If you live near water your options are endless. Check out Lake Perez at Stone Valley for boat rentals
For more fun activities and local outdoor events check out onlyinyourstate.com (1) to see all your state has to offer.
Check out Penn State Adventure Recreation for all of your adventure needs!
- Only In Your State | Discover What’s In Your Own Backyard. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/
Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to helping students cope with and prevent mental illness. CAPS has recently added new resources to their website, http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling/ . Click on the “wellness” section to get to online educational and screening tools. You can use the resources to learn more about common mental health issues and to see if you or a friend might need help from a professional.
The first resource is WellTrack, an online mental health resource to help students deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. You’ll complete an initial self-assessment and then work through modules to learn how to handle what causes you stress.
The second resource is a compilation of self-help videos on various health topics. These educational videos cover a wide range of topics such as mental health, common concerns for college students, and descriptions of services offered by CAPS. Each video is under 30 minutes.
The third resource is anonymous mental health screening tools. Each screening tool takes about 4 to 5 minutes to complete. You’ll receive immediate results that can be printed. The screening topics include depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol problems, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD.
Join local instructors for a free, 1-hour, Yoga class on Wednesdays this summer. All equipment is provided, just show up! See you on the mat at 4 pm.
As finals week approaches, most Penn Staters begin to flock to their favorite study spots to start preparations for a grueling week of exams and projects. Worrying about exams is common, and can even help your mind stay focused and sharp. However, when worrying becomes intense and overwhelming, it may be test anxiety.
Test anxiety can affect anyone. Experts suggest a few simple strategies that everyone can use to help reduce test anxiety and increase your chances for success during finals week.
- Learn what study styles work for you. Think about exams you have done well on in the past. How did you study for those exams? Consider using similar strategies for upcoming exams.
- Establish a routine. Make a schedule for the next few weeks to help you follow a similar routine each day. On the days of your exams, follow the same steps. This will help you feel calm and well prepared.
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and fuel your body with healthy food during study sessions. Your body and brain need attention when studying. Check out some easy, healthy recipes at: http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/eating/cooking-videos-healthy-eating-with-healthworks/
- Be active. Exercise to relieve stress and boost your mood. Although you may feel like you are too busy studying, it’s important to take an active break.
- Sleep is important. Sleep after studying to help encode new information into long term memory. This will help you recall the information on the day of the exam. Getting a good night’s sleep is important when you’re studying for exams.
- Take a break. Check out Penn State Libraries’ De-Stress Fest.
- Ask for help. Consider meeting with your professor or a staff person from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). If you think you are experiencing test anxiety, talk to somebody about it. Book an appointment with CAPS at: 814-863-0395.