Aggie Recreation Center takes action to improve student mental health

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The Aggie Recreation Center, otherwise known as ARC, has a full schedule of things that will help address and improve student mental health issues during Mental Health Week.

“When students participate in physical activity, we see reduced levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and an improvement in overall self-esteem,” said campus recreation director Daniel Lawrence. .

Campus Recreation associate director Katie Burns said one of the most important things ARC provides is a sense of belonging when it comes to mental health.

“We all come to college from different places and we’re all looking for a place to connect and be known,” Burns said. “For some students, this can be the most difficult task in the transition to college.”

The recreation center offers wellness coaching to students and nutritional coaching to students and faculty throughout the year.

“It is difficult to gauge the exact change in student mental health, but there are many anecdotal stories and evidence of positive change,” Lawrence said.

Students can also participate in group fitness classes, personal training, and intramural activities. These tend to contribute to a positive sense of belonging to the Utah state community, which generally contributes to more positive mental health, Lawrence said.

“Regular movement plays an important role in increasing certain happy chemicals and endorphins in the brain, which makes you happier and healthier,” Lawrence said.

Burns said physical activity is generally associated with better mental health because it contributes to better physical health. Regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety levels.

“Obviously ARC provides a space for people to move around and achieve some of these more positive side effects,” Burns said. “I think it’s especially important during the cold northern Utah winters to have indoor space for people to move around and deal with seasonal sadness.”

There is also a social aspect that students can use to increase their sense of connection with their peers. ARC employees say that attending events and activities through ARC is a great way to do this. “We feel truly fortunate to have these partnerships and to be part of a great community of professionals across Utah who truly care about the health and well-being of our students,” Lawrence said. .

ARC is also in contact with health and wellness professionals across the country. This has created many new ideas and possibilities across the state of Utah.

“We share ideas with our colleagues across the country, and then work to adapt and modify the programs, so that they match the specific needs and demographics of our students at USU,” Lawrence said.

ARC has recently organized many events to help with student mental health. These events include World Mental Health Day where Campus Recreation partnered with USU Human Resources on October 11 to offer a wide variety of activities ranging from yoga, PAWsitive impact, and a laugh presentation. in person and virtually.

The Health and Wellness Expo had resources to help prioritize student wellness in emotional, financial, physical and spiritual areas.

“We select a different dimension of wellness to focus on each month, and then we have a variety of programs around that theme,” Burns said.

These events offered a wide variety of activities and gave students access to many resources while promoting positive thoughts for the body. Some of these events occur several times during the year.

One obstacle that many students face is being intimidated by the gymnasium. Burns said they recognize those feelings, but the students pass on a way to improve their mental health.

“In an effort to remove barriers and bullying, we have a variety of options for students to include,” Burns said. “We also offer a variety of small group training opportunities on topics such as women in weight, introduction to weights and strength training for athletes.”

Students can find information about recreational events at www.usu.edu/campusrec and by following all social media at @USUCampusRec. Campus recreation facilities are open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Photo by Phil Weber




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