Getting Enough Fresh Air During Winter Quarter

A new quarter is now upon us! I usually picture Winter quarter as full of rain, cold wind, and long days spent indoors. In Davis however, this is not always the case. It is not uncommon for many weekends in February and March to be warm and sunny, enticing many of us to begin spending more time outside. There are many notable benefits to spending time in the outdoors. These benefits include helping you relax by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, cleaning your lungs, and even increasing your energy for a sharper mind. Here are some of my favorite activities to ensure I am getting enough fresh air:

Outdoor Time Makes You a Better Person

1. Bike

This is easy to do in a place like Davis. There are so many biking trails and most roads have a big enough bike lane in order to bike in safely. This makes it easy to bike from place to place to run errands, giving us a great opportunity to breathe in fresh air and increase blood flow without having to go out of our way. Although it may be cold during the winter, don’t be afraid to bike! Just grab some gloves or a beanie and you’ll be be able to keep warm while biking.

2. Study outside

This can be as simple as choosing a table outside rather than inside at the MU or Silo. I also like to bring my books to campus on weekends and sit at the tables outside the Student Community Center to study. The campus, as well as downtown Davis, have so many opportunities to choose outdoor seating when the weather permits. This is a great way to get some studying in and be surrounded by a peaceful setting at the same time. If the sun is out, studying outside can also increase your Vitamin D levels. Increasing Vitamin D levels is important because your body must have Vitamin D to absorb calcium and support bone growth.

3. Exercise

As we all know, exercising has tons of great benefits. If many of you are like me, your New Years resolution includes exercising more! Reading about the benefits of exercise may motivate you to fulfill your resolution and exercise more. The Student Health and Counseling Services describes the benefits of exercise in detail.  Exercising at the ARC is one of the most popular ways students get in their daily work out, so if it’s too cold to be outside I would recommend taking a run on the track or even signing up for some group classes, which can be done through their website.

4.  Play a sport

Playing basketball at Dairy courts is one of my favorite ways to relax. During winter quarter it’s a great option because it is usually less crowded than the basketball courts at the ARC. The court lights stay on late, usually 1am, so if you want to get out for a quick breath of fresh air you have the option of doing so late at night. Hutchison field, located right next to Dairy courts, is a great spot to kick around a soccer ball, play flag football, and/or baseball. If it’s warm enough, I sometimes like to just lay on the grass and stare at the clouds. Going out to either of these facilities always makes me feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the books!

5. Explore the Outdoors

The Arboretum is a great place to immerse yourself in nature. Located right on campus, it’s easy to take a break between classes and take a walk or run. There are a couple different areas of the Arboretum with different groves and trails, and they are all detailed on the new campus map, under “Places of Interest.” where you can I often go to the arboretum to read the plaques about the different types of trees and flowers, it’s relaxing and keeps me knowledgeable on our California native plants!

If you have good time management skills, the UC Davis Outdoor Adventures program has some great weekend events planned this quarter to help bring out the adventurer in you! Since Davis is so close to many great parks and recreational facilities these adventures are great for exploring. For example, the program offers an Intro to Cross Country Skiing trip to Tahoe, a Tomales Bay Tour in Pt. Reyes, and Yosemite Car Camping.

Remember that your first priority is school, but making sure you get some time outdoors this Winter Quarter will be very beneficial to your health!

Have fun!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser

 

 

 

 

Don’t Stress!

As the end of the winter quarter approaches, the increasingly sunny weather becomes inviting. While it can be nice to enjoy a day outdoors, the thought of ending the second round of midterms and preparing for finals is typically stressful.

Luckily, we have many resources available to us on campus that focus on maintaining and improving our well-being. In addition, they’re free, easily accessible, and available year-round.

On-Campus Resources

Many of you may already be familiar with this great resource, but for those of you who are not, the ARC accommodates a variety of ways to exercise. Among the standard weights, cardio machines, and group exercise classes, the ARC contains an indoor track and a rock-climbing wall. In addition, there are personal training options, IM sports, an equestrian center, and a crafts center available to students. As stated on the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website, the release of endorphins during exercise promotes better sleep and elevates mood.

As a bonus, exercise promotes the movement of lymph through the body, which increases your body’s immune response. If you typically get sick when you’re studying hard, exercise can be a good way to prevent that!

One of the resources provided by the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHCS) is the Mind Spa located on the second floor of the building in the CAPS clinic. The Mind Spa provides biofeedback programs to help you manage stress, massaging recliners to physically relax you, and a quiet atmosphere to allow you to listen to guided meditation audio files.

Another stress-reducing activity located on the second floor is yoga, which is hosted on Wednesdays from 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM.

In addition to the resources in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) clinic, the Student Health and Wellness Center accommodates Health Education and Promotion (HEP), which is located on the third floor. Along with providing nap kits, a useful Nap Map, and some articles to promote improved sleeping habits, HEP hosts a variety of events to enhance wellness.

Anonymous HIV testing, free condoms, and helpful handouts on successful sexual communication are all part of HEP’s efforts to support sexual health.

The Teaching Kitchen, also a part of HEP, has hands-on cooking classes and fresh-from-the-farm cooking classes a few times a quarter to help students with maintaining proper nutrition.

The House is temporarily open at 132 North Hall. They offer yoga classes on Fridays in their Mind Body Wellness gym and provide massage chairs for relaxation. In addition, they offer counseling services from their peer advocates.

Taking a walk through these gardens, especially in sunny weather, would make anyone happier.

Other Resources

  • Sometimes Therapy Fluffies are available on the quad. Liking the UCD SHCS Facebook page will help keep you updated on when you can count on fuzzy animals to help you decrease stress.

For a summary of campus stress-relieving resources, click here.

For a detailed list of campus resources, you can access this PDF.

Sources:

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

 

M. Joan Castañeda
Peer Adviser, Biology Academic Success Center
B.S. Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Class of 2014