Stress & Physical Activity

Stress & Physical Activity

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It’s almost that time of the year, when the semester is coming to an end and it seems as though every deadline is overlapping a test date. Yes, that dreaded time where you feel the excitement of the semester ending while being stressed about final projects and exams. Everyone seems to wonder, is there a remedy to this stress? Here’s some good news- there is a remedy, and it’s physical activity. Countless statistics show that stress can be relieved through a combination of meditation and physical activity. According to mayoclinic.org, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.”

Young Adults in a Fitness Class

Why Exercise?

During exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural pain killers and often called the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters. When stressed, the human body goes through a natural reaction called “fight or flight.” The anxious and tense feeling you experience when going through “fight or flight” happens because you are not responding to this evolutionarily-programmed occurrence. The proper response is physical activity. Taking some time to exercise also helps you shed daily tensions by focusing on what you are doing in that moment and not on other outside stressors. Higher energy levels and a more optimistic outlook are the results of taking time to exercise.

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Finding Time To Move

The biggest question about exercise is, “How do I find time to fit in workouts into my already busy schedule?” Finding the time is easy, but finding the motivation can be difficult. Here are a few ways to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule:

  1. Walking/Biking to class. Walking the long way to class or hopping on the bike instead of driving across campus is a great way to get your heart pumping.
  2. Take the stairs. Avoiding the elevators and taking the stairs when going from floor to floor is a small but effective way to incorporate exercise into daily life.
  3. Hit the gym between classes. Have an hour between classes? Spend half of it in the gym! It can be hard to go after school, so push yourself to get there in between. It will go by quicker and you will have more energy before your next class.
  4. Sign up for an exercise class and treat it like a school course. Whether it’s yoga, Group X, or cycling, join an exercise class that fits your schedule and treat it as though it is a part of curriculum.
  5. Reward yourself. Set some personal goals and reward yourself when you reach them- i.e. treating yourself to your favorite restaurant after a week of reaching study and exercise goals.
  6. Joining intramural or club sports. The set schedule of intramural and club sports is a great motivation to get some physical activity in. Gather some friends from your classes and take study breaks by doing sports.
  7. Workout with a friend. A like-minded friend may be the perfect inspiration and reason to hit the gym or go for a walk in between study sessions or classes.

Set Up For Success

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Whether you are running, doing yoga, or zumba dancing, you are ultimately teaching your body to turn to physical activity when stressed. Continuing this habit will lead to less stress and more success! Consider this information the next time you feel like your brain can’t hold anymore information during a study session, or your super anxious the night before a big exam. Whether you are a beginner or an athlete, physical activity will boost your confidence and help you focus when that “end-of-semester” stress begins.  

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Meet Tessa Naman

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Hey Rec Well! My name is Teresa, but everyone calls me Tessa. I am currently a junior majoring in marketing in the School of Business. I work with a great team here at Rec Well as a marketing intern. One of the things I love about working at Rec Well is the idea of physical & mental well-being that is encouraged among patrons and employees alike. Not to mention, it is definitely convenient to work right outside of a gym! I can never go a day without exercising, specifically running and lifting weights. The gym always tends to be my go-to place for when I am stressed or need a break.

I thoroughly enjoy the OU campus atmosphere and appreciate all of the resources available, as they have facilitated my success throughout the past 3 years. After graduating in 2019, I am hoping to move onto law school while keeping a job in the business field. I believe a truly successful person is one with a caring heart who brings out the best of everyone they come in contact with, which is what I strive for each day.

Some things I am passionate about are my education, my family & friends, and traveling. I have a very big Middle-Eastern family, so there is never a dull moment in my life. They are always there to support me and make me laugh. I take school very seriously, because I believe a proper education opens doors to new opportunities and keeps the mind open. I push myself to read books and learn something new everyday.

The picture I included is at Trevi Fountain, Rome, from a trip over the summer of 2017 to Italy & Israel. I love to visit new places and dive into different cultures, as well as taste all the different cuisines 🙂  I plan to one day move to my favorite city in the world- Miami, Florida.

I hope you enjoy my blog posts as much as I enjoy writing them!

Summertime Outdoor Recreation

Today is April 6 and it is still overcast, cold, and windy in Michigan. How many sunny days do Michigan residents actually get? Based on studies from bestplaces.net, Michigan averages about 180 sunny days per year, which is lower than the average state. While there’s a higher percentage of sunny days between the months of May and September, weather plays a big role in our physical activities. Only the brave set outdoors to run during blizzards or rainy weather! What we don’t seem to get during non-summer seasons is the sun beaming down or the fresh air keeping us cool during our runs or sports games. Summertime in Michigan means utilizing the sun and beautiful weather to it’s full advantage! Believe it or not, outdoor recreation activities benefit our social, emotional, and intellectual well-being, along with our physical well-being.

According to healthguide.org, “People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.” These benefits are amplified with safe levels of sun exposure, which is one of the main reasons I savor every minute of my outdoor workouts. With sunshine comes increased production of vitamin D, melatonin and happier moods. I always keep a bottle of sweat-proof sunscreen or a hat in my gym bag, taking extra precaution if I am spending more than thirty minutes in the sun.

If you live within driving distance to Oakland University in Rochester, MI, or any nearby college campus, be sure to keep the outdoor amenities in mind. The weather is slowly changing, and the opportunity will come about soon! Here is some information on how I utilize my collegiate campus to the fullest during the few months of sunshine.

What is the Outdoor Complex?

Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being (Rec Well) maintains an outdoor complex which includes the super-field lined for different sports, turf fields, softball field overlays, tennis courts, an outdoor track, golf course, and a support building. These are located past the recreation building and across from the George T. Matthews Apartment complex. The operational season starts on April 1 and ends October 31 of each year. 

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Playing Your Favorite Outdoor Sports

Being an avid tennis player since a young age, I love to gather a group or play one-on-one on the tennis courts behind the track. The support building will especially come in handy, with a $1 tennis racquet rental for the one who forgets their racquet. Soccer balls, footballs, and frisbees are available for checkout as well. One of the reasons I have stayed so loyal to the great game of tennis is because of the social benefits. Two or more people are always needed, and it is the type of sport that can be casually taken up or played very seriously. You can start at any age, and only get better with practice! The outdoor complex has 8 courts that are open from dawn until dusk. I always find myself getting together with some friends to play during the summer.

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Switch Up Your Running Routine

To stay fit and have fun during the summer, I also tend to switch up my running routine. Running indoors on the treadmill can be very monotone and boring. It is so hard to stay motivated when you are not having fun! With the outdoor track and trail routes available, there are endless opportunities to head outdoors for your summer runs. According to livestrong.com, the difference in terrain and wind speed, uphills and downhills, and various muscle activations are just a few of the small things that make a huge difference when it comes to running outside versus on a treadmill.

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My running routine varies and ends up being very fun with the outdoor complex. I usually use the outdoor track for sprinting, and even sometimes create mini circuits with the 70 yard by 120 yard marked soccer field inside the track, sprinting from line to line and seeing how fast I can go. I even recreate the stair climb machine with the bleachers, running up and down the steps as fast as I can. Rec Well’s outdoor complex also has its own running/walking routes. The 2.3 mile loop, 4.3 mile loop, or 6.5 mile loop are great scenic routes for those inclined to have a run or hike with a view. It is not rare for the light 2.3 mile loop to be my cool down after running miles of sprints.

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Overall

Getting creative with the outdoor complex is not hard. It is almost irresistible to create new exercises; I definitely let my imagination take control. Whether it is a competitive game of tennis, variety of sprinting, or a relaxing walk, the amenities of the outdoor complex will always remain a staple of my summer activities. I highly encourage students to consider the possibilities of creating new memories using Rec Well’s outdoor amenities, all while soaking up some vitamin D and dwelling in the benefits of healthy physical activity. 

Student Development Workshops

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What does it take to be a leader today? Being a leader is more than a fancy title. Leadership comes with great responsibility of helping those around them to succeed, just as much as the leader once needed when they were in their shoes.

As students go through their years at Oakland University, they are gearing up to become the future leaders of tomorrow. Leadership development workshops are hosted all around campus to help build student leadership skills, and teach different perspectives that shape the reality around each person.

University Recreation and Well-Being hosts workshops that are categorized into five dimensions of well-being: physical, occupational, environmental, social, and intellectual well-being. A multitude of topics range from revamping your workout, eating healthy, or even practicing environmentally friendliness, and acing your next job interview.

As a student, attending these workshops gives you access to new information, and provides the opportunity to network with each speaker from across campus and the community.

The remaining workshops are listed below for the rest of the 2017-2018 school year. You will not want to miss them!

Register for workshops here:

https://www.oakland.edu/csa/oulead.

 

New Year New You: Goal Setting

-January 8 | 7:00-8:00p.m. | Hamlin Hall | no pre-registration required

Fitness Fixes: Working out with Limited Time

-January 11 | 3-3:45p.m. | Herman Room of the Rec Center

Nutrition and Fitness

-January 15 | 7-8:00p.m. | Hamlin Hall | no pre-registration required

So You made a Resolution?…

-January 16 | 7-7:45p.m. | Vandenberg Glass Rooms

Taste of Group Exercise

-January 22 | 7-8:00p.m. | Hamlin Hall | no pre-registration required

Fitness in a Time Crunch

-January 29 | 7-8:00p.m. | Hamlin Hall | no pre-registration required

Keeping Your Status ‘Happy and Healthy’

-February 12 | 7-7:45p.m. | Vandenberg Glass Rooms

Grizzlies Go Green

-March 13 | 7-7:45p.m. | Vandenberg Glass Rooms

Focused and Fit: Getting through Finals

-April 8 |7-7:45p.m. | Vandenberg Glass Rooms

Employee Spotlight: Ciara Rechtzigel

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Ciara is a Graphic Design Intern at the Rec and has been working here since September 2017. She is currently a senior studying Graphic Design at Oakland University.

 

Why did you want to work at the Rec?

It is an opportunity to gain experience in my field of study.

 

What is your favorite part about working here?

My co-workers and getting paid for what I love to do is very fulfilling.

 

When you’re not at the Rec, what are some things you like to do?

Graphix OU Events

 

What fuels your shift? (music, food, people, etc.)

Liz

 

What are you looking forward to?

Senior Thesis, Graduating and Graduation Pictures

 

What are your plans for the future?

Get a job in my field, earn a certificate, and go back for Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications

 

Name your top 3 workout songs

  1. Kayne West- New Workout Plan
  2. Nicki Minaj- Pound the Alarm
  3. Rihanna- Disturbia

 

What is your best tip for health and wellness?

Surround yourself with positive people with similar goals

 

Fun Fact:

I think Christmas music is acceptable after October 31st.

 

 

 

Employee Spotlight: Elizabeth Suchocki

EmployeeSpotlight_LizElizabeth Suchocki has been a marketing intern at the Recreation Center since August 2016. She is a senior who is double majoring in journalism and graphic design here at Oakland University.

 

Why did you want to work at the Rec?

I started working here as an internship for my journalism capstone and when that semester ended I was asked to stay on the team. I love the mix of working with my peers and the professional staff. I get social media and digital marketing experience and paid to do what I love.

 

What is your favorite part about working here?

My favorite parts about working here are my co-workers and the flexibility with my schedule.

 

What are your favorite Rec activities? (IM sports, GroupX, Street Teams, RLC, etc.)

Yoga Classes and Street Team

 

When you’re not at the Rec, what are some things you like to do?

I like to hang out with friends, participate in sorority activities, travel, read, and nap. I’m the Director of Philanthropy for my sorority so I also volunteer a lot.

 

What fuels your shift? (music, food, people, etc.)

Music and my co-workers

 

What are you looking forward to?

Graduating this December!

 

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to travel right after graduation, get a job in marketing, and hopefully travel some more.

 

Name your top 3 workout songs

  1. Wasted- Tiesto
  2. Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue- Toby Keith
  3. Basically anything on “Booty Bouncers Radio” on Pandora

 

What is your best tip for health and wellness?

My best tip for health and wellness is to seek help if you need it. It could be for physical health or mental health. All around wellness is important.

 

Fun Fact:

I have been to 14 of the 50 United States so far, and by the end of 2018 I plan to have visited at least 20 of the 50.

 

 

 

6 Yoga Classes at OU RecWell and What Makes Them Unique

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This semester, RecWell is offering six different yoga classes each week. What is the difference between each class? How do I know which one to attend? I decided to try each class to help others understand the difference. Although there are similarities, it is the differences that make each class unique. Here is my personal experience with each class:

  1. Power Yoga– Let me just start off by saying, if you’ve never done yoga or incorporated stretching into your workouts, this is not the best class to start with. While all yoga classes at RecWell are open to new participants, I recommend choosing a different class before making your way to Power Yoga. The instructor talked us through the positions, but did not demonstrate them all so I did a lot of looking around the room to figure out what a “locust pose” was. It was more energetic than relaxing in my opinion. I recommend this class for anyone who really wants a cardiovascular workout while at the same time as doing yoga poses.
  2. Slow Flow Yoga- This class was not as upbeat as Power Yoga. The instructor began class with instrumental music at a low volume, and this made it easier to focus on our breathing. In addition to our yoga mat, we used yoga blankets, blocks, and straps. I attended this yoga class after a long morning of school and it brought my energy up for the rest of the day. I recommend this for a great lunchtime workout.
  3. Let Go and Flow Yoga- This class was similar to the Slow Flow Yoga class in the movements and positions. Different instrumental music was playing, however, it was still calming and relaxing. We focused a lot on our breathing and how to breathe while moving into the next position. The teacher both talked through the movements and did all of the moves at the same time so we could either listen or look at her depending on what is easier for us to follow. I recommend this class for people who need to unwind after a long day while still wanting to get a workout in.
  4. Gentle Yoga & Meditation- This class was more calming than Slow Flow Yoga and Let Go and Flow Yoga. This class is great for people who have injuries or are beginning yoga because of the slower pace. The instructor would also show people alternative poses so people would not worsen their injuries. The class ended with a guided meditation. The class laid down in shavasana while the instructor gave meditation prompts. I recommend this class if you are stressed, wanting to connect to yourself and the world through meditation, or if you are a complete beginner at yoga.
  5. Gentle Yoga- From my experience, Gentle Yoga is a mix of the Yoga for Relaxation and Gentle Yoga and Meditation. Many of the poses and stretches were the same in this class as they were in the other two. So if you want a mix of two classes in one, or if you can’t make it to Yoga for Relaxation or Gentle Yoga and Meditation, then
    this might be the class for you.
  6. Yoga for Relaxation- The RecWell website states, “This practice is about achieving body and mind relaxation.” This is a perfect description. This class helped me relieve stress from the stress of everyday life. I felt I was escaping reality when I took this class. I highly recommend this class for anyone who is very stressed about anything in their life whether it is school, work, or anything else. We ended the session in shavasana, which is lying on your back with legs and arms stretched straight out with palms facing the ceiling. This was a common ending to all of the classes I participated in.

Tried out all the classes and yoga still isn’t your “thing”? We’re here to help. The Recreation Center offers over 44 different group exercise classes throughout the year. This includes some of the fun GroupX programs such as Partner Yoga and Class on the Grass, which took place earlier this semester.
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