The Best Stress Relievers on Campus

Finals are approaching. (Cue frenzied screaming.) In between frantically studying, working on final projects and presentations, and packing up your dorm, it can be hard to stop and sleep, much less relax. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up some easy, convenient and inexpensive ways to relax on campus.

Hammocks and benches around Bear Lake. When Michigan weather plays nice, loitering around Bear Lake can be invigorating and relaxing at the same time. Enjoy the fresh air and ducks and geese swimming.

Get a cup of tea in one of the many cafes. Try peppermint, chamomile or green tea.

Exercise at the Rec Center. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Elle Woods was right! Whether going to a slow flow yoga class or running on the treadmill, the Rec Center is the place to release some endorphins.

Or walk around campus. Nature is great for stress relief, and OU has a whole lot of it. Summon your inner Disney princess (or prince) to see if any friendly woodland creatures will help you out with cleaning your house.

Indulge in a sweet treat. Stop by one of the many cafes to reward yourself for surviving that extra rough final.

Take advantage of the many stress relief programs. They’re all free and you can see them all here.The Wellness Suite in the Rec is also offering free stress kits (including crayons and coloring pages) throughout the month of April.  


Go Red Dance Jam a success

It was a sea of red on Friday, February 3 in Studio 919. To cap off Go Red Week, and on National Wear Red Day, a dance party was organized to get people up and moving during their lunch hour. About 50 people attended the event.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” said Erin Davidson, Zumba instructor who helped lead the dance party and and fitness program and services coordinator.

After participants checked in, they could peruse the table outside Studio 919 offering free red shirts, necklaces or heart-shaped sunglasses. Many people took advantage of the goodies and danced while wearing the necklaces or sunglasses. Others entered a raffle to win fancy Rec-Well water bottles. The winners of the water bottles were announced in between songs at the dance party.

Popular Zumba instructor Ron Benbow and Davidson kept spirits high as they alternated leading the dances packed with sneaky muscle builders like squats and lunges. It was hard to stop smiling as Ron kept asking, “Is everyone having fun?!” And they certainly kept everyone’s heart pumping with sizzling moves and blaring, upbeat music.

Go Red Week encourages patrons of the Rec Well to be aware of their risk for heart disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 610,000 people die from heart disease every year and is the leading cause of death for both men and women. However, early preventive care and a healthy lifestyle can prevent heart disease.

OU Rec Well has plenty of options to keep your heart healthy, from drop in body comps, group exercise classes, wellness consultations, and personal trainers.

For more information, visit

Making Meditation a Habit

It’s no secret that we live in a fast-paced world. The whole world is at our fingertips and attention spans have been shrinking. When the speed of life becomes overwhelming, take a break.

Meditation is a way to recenter and refocus. The practice stems from Buddhist and Hindu traditions and slowly spread as a way to take time to focus on self. Now, Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being is introducing people to the practice.

Making Meditation a Habit (MMAH) is designed to teach individuals the foundation and history behind meditation, its’ purpose, and its’ benefits,” said Stephanie Willis, the wellness and educational outreach coordinator.  “MMAH goes over these principles and practices in the first few weeks of the program, then individuals continue to come weekly to practice meditation together, talk about how their week was practicing meditation, and learn best practices from one another.”

MMAH is a six week program that meets in the David E. Herman Room on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Participants will learn how to master a 15-minute meditation and receive support.

Willis said that the program was inspired to help students and employees manage their stress and that many might not have thought of meditation as a coping tool. “We wanted to provide an additional solution to help people manage their stress in a healthy way,” she said.

Willis hopes that the participants will see the benefits of adding meditation to their lives and will incorporate it into their lifestyles.

A little skeptical of taking even more time out of your busy schedule?

“My advice would be to approach this with an open mind and give meditation a chance,” Willis said, “This is not something that works for everyone, nor is this a quick fix that works overnight. Meditation takes time to develop a habit and experience the full rewards of meditating. While this might not be the stress management tool for everyone, it does work for many, is easy to learn, and free! Meditation doesn’t cost anything except your time.”

GroupX Spotlight: HIIT Yoga (High Intensity Interval Training)


Meet Eileen! She teaches HIIT Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training, which puts a new twist on practicing yoga. According to Eileen, the first 15-20 minutes of the class focuses on the HIIT and incorporates bodyweight exercises like push-ups, jump squats and mountain climbers. The last 30-35 minutes is designed to stretch out all the muscles you just strengthened.

GroupX Format: HIIT Yoga (High Intensity Interval Training)

Instructor: Eileen McNally

What is the class?:

In addition to using bodyweight exercises and weights, challenging core exercises are incorporated all within the first 15-20 minutes.

When & Where:

  • When: Tuesdays @ 12:10pm
  • Where: Studio 919

Duration: 45 minutes

Favorite thing about teaching GroupX?

It is incredibly rewarding to help others push themselves farther than they thought they could go, help others realize they are stronger than they think, and guide them to a state of peace/relaxation.

What made you want to teach GroupX?

Exercise and yoga has helped me in so many ways, I simply needed to share the love!



#ThisIsOURecWell: Personal Training

Are you interested in taking your workout a step further or do you just need extra motivation? Try working with one of our personal trainers.

Personal trainers are certified and are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, health and fitness wise, as well as making exercise a part of your everyday life. They will also monitor your progress and will give you the knowledge and tools to be comfortable in any fitness setting.

“Having a personal trainer is good because they can hold you liable for your goal(s),” Austin Standridge, Fitness Graduate Assistant, said.

There is a packet available online which includes more information about the personal training program including policies, packages and pricing and forms that must be completed before training begins. To help us find the best fit for you, you can include your availability on the packet.

“The better range of availability a person has, the better because, what a lot of people don’t understand is, a lot of our personal trainers are also students as well,” Standridge said.  He also added that the better available a person is, then the better they can be matched to a personal trainer.

Along with the registration form, there is also a health history questionnaire which asks for your general health information along with medical history and cardiovascular risk factors, if any.  

Standridge stressed the importance of knowing and understanding your health history because exercise can increase a person’s risk for injuries.

According to the New York Times, some complications with exercise include injuries to the bones and muscles, dehydration, hyperthermia (overheating) and a lack of motivation. With that being said, there are more positives than negatives when it comes to exercise but it’s important to know your limits.

Once the packet is complete, you can return it to the Welcome Center or to a Fitness Programs representative with your personal training package selection and payment.

View the Trainer Packet 👉🏼 

Fitness Assessments:

Fitness Assessments will be required to complete so the personal trainer can gather information about your current fitness level, which will help to set and establish realistic fitness and health goals.

    • A fitness assessment includes the following:
      • A health risk appraisal
        • A questionnaire about your overall health and wellness
      • Body composition and fitness testing
        • After completing the health risk appraisal, you will go through a series of tests to determine your overall physical health (including weight, height, body circumferences and cardiovascular endurance). Fitness testing takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.
  • Cost:
    • Students: $25
    • Non-students/members: $30
    • No call/no show – a $15 cancellation fee
  • Appointment times:
    • Appointments are made based on availability
    • To make an appointment, send an email to Austin Standridge or call 248-370-4954


Types of Training:

  • Individual Personal Training
    • Work one-on-one with a certified personal trainer to reach your exercise goals.  The trainer will provide valuable tools in improving your overall health and wellness. Packages must be purchased in a minimum of 3 sessions.


3 Sessions 7 Sessions 10 Sessions
Students $85 $175 $240
Non-Student Members $105 $220 $300


  • Buddy Personal Training
    • Bring a friend to train with as a personal trainer guides you in exercises and helps you both achieve perfect form and technique. With the buddy personal training, you get the benefit of training with a friend and a personal trainer at a discounted price.


3 Sessions 7 Sessions 10 Sessions
Students $50/buddy $95/buddy $110/buddy
Non – Students $75/buddy $150/buddy $185/buddy


  • Group Personal Training
    • Group Personal training is designed for individuals who want a personal trainer but can’t afford the price of an individual session. Group Personal Training meets twice a week for a total of five weeks.  In order to start the sessions, there is a requirement of a minimum of 4 registered participants and interested parties must make their own groups.


10 Sessions + Fitness Assessment
Students $130/person
Non-Student Members $130/person


Have any questions?

View the website or contact Austin Standridge, the Fitness Graduate Assistant, at 248-370-4954 or  

Benefits & Wellness Fair 2016

46 businesses, organizations and nonprofits came together to promote wellness and share information about their services for our annual Benefits & Wellness Fair on Wed, Nov. 2.

“The fair is a one stop shop to find information, resources, and services for various health and wellness topics,” Stephanie Willis, Wellness Coordinator, said. “It is also a great place for employees to ask our benefits providers any questions they may have about making changes to their benefits plans for the upcoming calendar year.”

In the beginning, the fair was exclusively for university staff and faculty but has recently been extended to the entire campus community.  The fair also formerly took place in the 3-court gym to accommodate the large group of vendors.  This year, the fair was moved to the main concourse level of the Rec Center.

Some of the vendors included Blue Cross Blue Shield, Go Smoothies, Oakland University Athletics, Priority Health and Painting with a Twist.  Visiting Nurse’s Association was also present to provide flu shots to those meeting the criteria.

“The fair makes us accessible to all of OU and its surrounding community,” said Dana Miller, representative for Delta Dental. “ We love coming to these fairs; it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Representatives from Orangetheory Fitness, Vision Works and American Home Fitness all said that the fair helps to spread the word about their brand as well as helping to spread the benefits of health and exercise.

Willis improves the fair each year by getting feedback from the vendors and participants.

“We always try to make minor changes each year to keep the fair fresh, new and exciting,” Willis said. “We also made a point to invite a very diverse group of vendors to cover all aspects of well-being.”

Thank you to everyone who attended and/or volunteered and a special thanks to all of our vendors.

A Successful Spooktacular Dance Party


The OU Spooktacular Dance Party was a huge success! A big thanks to those of you who came out and had a great time.  

Our theme this year was halloween and participants came dressed in their finest costume or wore orange and black attire.  The O’rena was decked out with halloween decor and a photobooth. The Grizz also showed off some of his moves and participants were fairly impressed.

Three of OU’s favorite GroupX instructors, Ashlynn Law, Erin Davidson and Ron Benbow, were taking turns teaching the class for 30 minutes each.  The three instructors set the tone for a unique, diverse and well-worth experience. The wide range of movements and music kept the participants challenged and ready for more.

Ashlynn Law’s favorite part of the dance party was that she was able to collaborate and plan for the dance party with the other instructors. Even though they created their own routines, they all worked together to create a cohesive and easy to learn choreography.

According to Law, music at the dance party ranged from old to new music but more of what she calls the “U.S. top 50 hits.” Music that was also played included latin style and traditional zumba music.

In terms of the moves that were taught, the moves ranged from salsa moves to hip-hop and old jazz. There was also one routine that featured a little bit of ballet in it.

“It was all different kinds of dance moves combined together but mostly just simple and easy to follow moves,” she said.

According to her, the participants caught on to what was taught fairly quickly.  Because many of the participants have taken at least one of the instructors GroupX classes, following along was easy and they understood that basis of the moves shown.

With fitness in general, Law finds it very important to be in shape but to also love what you do to stay in shape.

“I find it very important to care about your overall health and wellness but I feel its very important to do something you love, not just to do it because you think you need to,” said Law.

If you missed out on this unique and fun experience, then be on the lookout for more of our fitness events and programs.  👉🏼