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.
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.”
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.
Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) has new space. The Wellness Suite is in 20 IM building, downstairs and next to Adventure Recreation. The Wellness Suite offers many great resources for students including walking maps, Manage Stress workbooks, Smart & Safe at State guides, and free wellness services.
The wellness services are designed to help you set goals, develop skills and enhance your health behaviors. The topics include: nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress (with an emphasis on time management or relaxation strategies), healthy relationships and financial wellness. HealthWorks peer educators facilitate the sessions. The services were developed using research-based models. Each service is designed to help students increase knowledge and learn new skills that contribute to healthy behaviors and academic success. Schedule an appointment by calling 814-863-0461.
In the suite, you will find an area with tables, comfy chairs, and a relaxation room. It’s the prefect place to study or chill out in the middle of a busy day. The relaxation room features coloring pages and colored pencils, meditation information, a zen garden, and biofeedback software. Visit the Wellness Suite this semester, open Monday–Friday 8am-5pm.
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
With multiple nutrition supplement chain stores opening in State College, many students may be wondering whether or not they should take supplements. The number of protein powders and vitamin supplements on the market can definitely cause consumers to feel confused and overwhelmed. Don’t worry, a dietitian can help you to become a more informed consumer!
Many students find protein powders to be a fast and convenient source of nutrition. Whey protein, which contains branched chain amino acids, is a popular protein powder. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that food and medication are regulated. Supplements can be put on the market without any proof that they are safe or that they work. The FDA can remove the product from the market later if they deem it to be unsafe. The good news is that animal and vegetable sources of protein can meet all of your protein needs. If your goal is to build muscle, be sure to get a variety of protein from foods like chicken, fish, lean beef, low-fat dairy, nuts, tofu and beans. Fast and convenient food sources of protein include individually packaged servings of tuna, chicken, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, peanut butter, hummus, and trail mix. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is [0.8 x your body weight in kg = _____ g protein/day].
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, most people can meet their nutritional needs by eating a well-balanced diet. Researchers have found that fruits and vegetables have protective properties that prevent cancer, while vitamins supplements do not.
The bottom line: Real food is the best fuel source for your body, and most healthy people can meet all of their nutritional needs with food alone. Your energy levels are best when you eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. If you’d like more help with planning a healthy well-balanced diet, make an appointment with a dietitian by calling 814-863-0461 or by visiting the UHS website.