Student Health in the Spring Semester

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Brian Healy
Staff Writer

At the start of the new semester, students around campus picked right back up where they left off in December. Although going back home provided a nice break for some of us (or just some much needed rest time around the city for others), it is no secret that overindulgence is synonymous with the holiday season.

Chances are, exercising wasn’t much of an option either. We chose instead to stay in the comfort of our own homes, where sweatpants and ugly Christmas sweaters become uniform for what seemed like days at a time. We might have felt a little unproductive as multiple mugs sat on the living room coffee table, which either had hot chocolate or a milk and cookies combo, but the truth is, that laziness and bleakness could have been part of something bigger.

Everyone has heard of the Winter Blues, but many don’t realize that it is an actual diagnosable disorder called SAD, short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. The Mayo Clinic describes it as “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons […] sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Other symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD include oversleeping, appetite changes (especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates), and weight gain.

Even though California tends to be warmer than the rest of the country, there was a sufficient difference this winter between average temperature highs and lows in regions around the state for the disorder to proliferate. For those of us who may have felt some SAD symptoms, The Foghorn has prepared an extensive list of exercise and eating improvement options available on campus.

Koret Health and Recreation Center

The most obvious exercise option on campus is visiting our gym, located directly adjacent to Negoesco Stadium. Koret houses two levels of cardiovascular equipment (80 stations with WiFi and TV on personal viewing screens), the largest indoor pool in the city — voted best in San Francisco — two basketball gymnasiums, a fitness studio, martial arts room, racquetball court, a competitive boxing gym, and a newly renovated weight room.

All students who are currently registered for on-campus classes are eligible to use the Koret Center, which includes all group exercise classes such as zumba, yoga, pilates, spinning (indoor cycling), and cardio kick (martial arts workout). The department also offers massage therapy, personal training, body composition analysis, and basic self-defense for additional fees corresponding to service.

Daily passes for non-USF students cost $15. Students who are not currently enrolled in classes but have a student ID are charged $37 a month, and $105 for the summer.

Intramural and Club Sports Program

Intramural sports are a feasible option for students who have a busy schedule and enjoy group workouts. Intramurals operate on a flexible schedule, so students and staff members can register to play on times that revolve around their study or work times. The Recreational Sports Department makes sure the atmosphere is fun and relaxed so that anyone could feel like they can play, regardless of their previous experience with sports.

Club sports are also a popular group exercise activity for students who play sports for the sake of staying active, and also wish to play competitively at a collegiate level. In club sport programs there is a heavy emphasis on developing specific athletic skills, maintaining a steady rhythm of practices throughout the week, and for some clubs, making sure they resemble NCAA competition by scheduling games against other collegiate teams. There are 21 club sports, ranging from the classics like soccer, tennis, and volleyball, to the atypical ultimate frisbee, equestrian, sailing, and judo.

Weight Watchers

Many flyers have been posted on campus encouraging students to come meet USF community members involved in the weight loss assisting program Weight Watchers. Patrick Sudlow, a staff member on campus and the USF liaison for Weight Watchers, said “The Weight Watchers At-Work program is so convenient because it allows you to go to meetings here on campus, and you also create a network of people who are committed to living a healthier lifestyle. It’s not only great to share success stories and tips and tricks on a weekly basis, but also see these familiar faces around campus.”

The group, which already has 27 members, is still welcoming students and faculty members to join. They’ve already cumulatively lost over 45 pounds in the first week of the program, which started on January 19, and concludes on May 10.

Health Promotion Services offers a 50% reimbursement for full-time students signing up for a Weight Watchers plan, which can be redeemed by submitting a receipt with the Director of Health Promotion Services, Kamal Harb (harb@usfca.edu).

For more information about the group contact Patrick Sudlow at pjsudlow@usfca.edu

Health Promotion Services

Students may know HPS as the department that manages student health insurance, but they also offer a wide variety of information regarding healthy nutrition and eating habits.

The department offers nutrition education free of charge for students in one-on-one appointments with the school’s Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) Jenny Lee. Lee helps students identify dietary behaviors and suggest alternatives that promote proper nutrition with the intended outcome of “getting you on track to healthy eating and positive body image,” according to the HPS website. They also offer various nutritional workshops throughout the semester, such as “Nutrition Basics” and “Eating On A Budget,” that focus on healthy eating and physical activity.

To find help with physical or mental help, contact HPS and Counseling and Psychological Services, respectively.

Photo courtesy of Brianna Dejesus-Banos/Foghorn

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