Last week was Healthy Campus Week at UND. From Sept. 23-29 the Wellness Center was offering a free week pass for whoever came in with the free membership pass. This allowed individuals to discover classes, different areas of the Wellness Center and get a workout in free of charge. Wilkerson Dining Center was also providing a variety of healthy options at the Chef’s Table from 4:30 – 7 p.m. all last week.
Stephanie Hoffman, Assistant Director of Programs Wellness and Health Promotion explained why physical activity is so important to students in an email.
“The top impediments to academic success at UND (per ACHA-NCHA),” Hoffman said, “are stress, anxiety, sleep, cold, flu and depression.”
Being physically active as a student helps in many ways.
“Physical activity helps strengthen your muscles and bones, strengthens your immunity, which can decrease your risk of illness and infection, boost levels of good cholesterol in your blood,” Hoffman said, “helps you sleep better at night, boosts your energy, improves your self-image, elevates mood, helps with handling stress, and decreases anxiety.”
What qualifies as active?
“The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) physical activity guidelines for adults are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week such as walking, swimming, biking, and jogging,” Hoffman said, “Strength train each major muscle group two to three times a week. As well as flexibility exercises two to three days a week.”
One hundred-fifty minutes is equivalent to 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
For those struggling with motivation there are some tips and tricks to help you stick to your routine.
“Schedule exercise into your day,” Hoffman said. “Don’t hide you gear, keep your shoes and clothes where you can see them. Track your workouts or sign for contests or challenges. Invest in trainers or classes. Make friends with class regulars to help with accountability.”
The Wellness Center offers a variety of programs: group classes, personal training, rock climbing, wellness education, cooking classes and intramural sports.
For students starting a new exercise routine there should be a couple things they should be aware of.
“Don’t go too hard too fast,” Hoffman said. “Start slow and progressively build time and intensity. You will be sore, but that is okay. Have a plan in place because failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Those wondering how to stay healthy outside of the gym, there are many options.
“Bike or walk to class, the library or the store,” Hoffman said, “Park farther away than you normally would and walk. Choose the dining hall on the far side of campus. Try stretching, marching in place, or walking around during study breaks. Take the stairs when possible.”
“Being healthy is much more than physical activity,” Hoffman said, “Sleep, nutrition, utilizing Student Health Service and the Counseling Center are other aspects.”
If students need help about how to stay safe while being active, the Wellness Center offers free services to help guide individuals in the right direction with getting started.
Check out und.edu/student-life/wellness-center/fitness/fitness-assessments.html for more details.
For counseling assistance, go to und.edu/student-life/counseling-center/index.html.