College is a Battle

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

When was the last time you actually did something fun at school? This week the Rec Center brought a life-size game of Battleship to the swimming pool, and it was one of the most thrilling activities I have done all year. Our rendition of pool Battleship stems from a classic board game that involves strategy and guessing. The object of the game is to “sink” your opponent’s ships that they have strategically placed on a 10×10 square grid. With each correct guess, your opponent’s ship takes a “hit” and slowly begins to sink until each part of their ship has been hit.

The life-size version of Battleship that we play mimics a similar concept to the board game. We have players team up into large, canoe-like boats where we’re given paddle boards and buckets as “weapons.” On the blow of the whistle, we paddle hastily towards other teams and fling buckets of water into their boat to sink their “ship.” As fun as it sounds, it’s certainly an upper body workout in disguise and a team effort.

Believe it or not, after nearly three years of working at the Rec Center, this was my first time stepping foot into our swimming pool. The game not only gave me a reason to try something new, but it reminded me that it’s moments like this that contribute to the overall value and experience we attribute to our time spent at a university. I think everyone deserves to have some enjoyable memories of their college experience, whether it be social outings with classmates or participating in a crazy, untraditional event like Battleship. We shouldn’t be leaving school with nightmares of the rough nights studying until 2 a.m. or that one test we scored terribly on.

Sometimes, we take school a little too seriously. While grades are important, they are not the only defining factors of success. I challenge you to purposely find ways to enrich your university experience not just through classroom learning but experiential learning. College is a constant battle of finding balance. How do you plan to enrich your experience?

Want to Live Longer?

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

With a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to fall prey to a sedentary lifestyle. While there are countless factors that contribute to the increased risk of health-related issues, one factor that is often overlooked is cardiorespiratory fitness. This is something I notice in myself when I go weeks or even months with minimal physical activity.

I’ve observed that when I try to get back into an exercise regime after a long absence, I will have a more difficult time catching my breath, my muscles will feel more fatigued, I will feel less mentally motivated—and I’m only 21 years old! Although I’d like to blame this on my full school and work schedule, I know it is inexcusable to not exercise.

One of my favorite videos on the benefits of exercise is called “23 ½ hours: What is the best thing we can do for our health?” by Dr. Mike Evans. He presents a unique case backed with scientific research of how just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and increase longevity. In fact, he shares several studies indicating “low fitness” to be the strongest predictor of death.

While this all sounds like common sense, we may find it awkward to fit in as little as 30 minutes of activity each day. Although level of intensity and length of time contribute to additional benefits, your 30 minutes of activity doesn’t need to be anything strenuous to reap significant health benefits. Exercise can also be done in three sessions of 10 minutes for equal benefit. At Campus Rec, we offer over twenty different 30-minute workout ideas including weights, agility, TRX, cardio, rock climbing and swimming. These can be accessed online or in-person throughout each floor of the gym.

In a society where there is a strong presence of advertisements for over-the-counter medications and where literature on health is often funded and influenced by large drug companies, it is easy to see why many Americans turn to medicine as a quick remedy for all their health issues. However, research shows that exercise is one of the best medicines. As Dr. Evans put it, do your best to limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 ½ hours a day.

Today is the day to commit to an active lifestyle.

Young and Restless

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

As I continue to push through my senior year, there are three things that can’t seem to escape my mind. First, graduating: walking down the stage and receiving my diploma. Second, my future career: where I’ll be applying post graduation and how I’ll get there. And third, traveling the world: having the ability to enjoy the cultures and cuisines and new sights of other countries before settling into a stable career.

My utmost desire is to travel. It is an energy that’s been burning inside of me since I took my first Spanish class in high school. Not only did I learn a new language, but it exposed me to a different way of life and a different way of thinking about the world.

Now that I have 44 weeks left of school, I feel that I’m in a now-or-never situation. I have one summer remaining before graduating; that means one step closer to transitioning into a career. I know most jobs don’t provide you with much paid time off or vacation days, especially for recent college grads. And I don’t want to be that adult who looks back and says, “Traveling is the one thing I wish I did.”

The clock it ticking, and I am proud to say that I have officially started planning for my first international trip projected for summer 2017. I plan to travel throughout Southeast Asia for two months, exploring Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

If you’re reading this right now, I encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone and see what else the world has to offer. In fact, PSU has a ton of resources to support you with international travel. In a rush like me? Campus Rec’s Outdoor Program is leading a week long, backpacking trip through Colombia this June!

Colombia Lost City Trekkinghttps://www.pdx.edu/recreation/international-trip

PSU Education Abroad Program: http://www.pdx.edu/ed-abroad/

Don’t allow yourself to become complacent to your day-to-day routine…travel!

colombia4

 

 

Opt out of Black Friday

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

Get trampled or feel alive? I know what I’ll be doing on Black Friday this year, and it won’t be shopping. Read more to find out why.

On the day after Thanksgiving last year, REI closed all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and distribution centers on the infamous American holiday, “Black Friday.” Instead of extending its hours and offering big discounts, the outdoor retailer encouraged its employees and customers to spend their day off enjoying the outdoors. REI sparked one of the most successful outdoor movements that year with over 1.4 million people choosing to opt outside.

In response to this, the Campus Rec Outdoor Program is launching its own outdoor photo contest from Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday). The purpose is to support the Opt Outside movement and encourage people to share their favorite outdoor moments on social media using the #optoutside and tagging @psu_odp.

Plus, there’s no better place to Opt Outside than in Oregon. With hundreds of hidden gems, waterfalls and mountainous views, I wouldn’t want to spend my Black Friday any other way. If you haven’t taken a moment to go outside and breathe, are you really living?

Join the movement with us by sharing where you like to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few places to get you started: Boardman Tree FarmRamona Falls Spencer Butte.

Fitness for Haters

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

As the Marketing and Outreach student coordinator for Campus Rec, part of my job is encouraging students to use our facilities and programs. When talking with students at the Rec Center’s information table, I encounter many fitness haters. Oftentimes I notice it is because they have misconceptions about the programs we offer and how easy they are to join.

I’ll often highlight certain features we have such as an indoor track, an Olympic lifting platform, a swimming pool, etc. While I think these are valuable resources, I’ll encounter students who are quick to say, “I don’t like running,” “I don’t lift weights,” or “I don’t know how to swim.” In my mind, all I’m hearing is “I don’t” or “I can’t.” It blows my mind how some people can be so bitter towards recreational fitness. So how do I respond to this?

In these cases, I’ll stop myself and ask students probing questions such as, “What do you like to do for fun recreationally?” “Is there anything you’ve been wanting try?” “What aspect of fitness do you find most challenging?” I notice it’s these types of questions where they pause and take a moment to reflect on what it is that they actually enjoy doing to stay active. In most cases, they’ll be open to some of our special programs such as Rock Climbing 101, SwimX, Dance-A-Thon, and many more.

Right now, I am encouraging everyone who wants to explore activities through the Rec Center to browse through our Schedule & Events page on the Campus Rec website, or view the current Fall 2016 Program Schedule.

Campus Rec is for everyone; all shapes, all sizes, all abilities. If you think you hate fitness, then you’ve come to the right place. We only have one body, so why not take care of it now?

Wim for the Win!

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

For those of you who don’t know, Wim Wiewel is the president of Portland State University. He took a break from the office on May 6 and walked over to the Urban Plaza to play a round of kickball at Campus Rec’s Pride Kickball event.

I’d had the opportunity to meet with Wim before at a fancy lunch in the president’s office with my fellow Pacific Islanders Club. Turns out he’s a very mellow, down-to-earth guy with a kind sense of humor.

While a bunch of us were standing around outside, soaking up some sun and enjoying the festivities of Pride Week, I noticed the president appear, walking towards our makeshift “field.”

“Is that the president?” someone exclaimed. I glanced over and knew it was him. “Look, it’s Wim!” I could see all of the Campus Rec staff and students pulling out their smartphones, “snapchatting” photos of our PSU celebrity guest.

IMG_0234

The faces of our players lit up as they watched the president join in for a game of kickball in his suit and tie and make a run for home base.

The greatest part about Campus Rec and Portland State is the sense of pride we have in our community and the fun we have together regardless of status or self-identity. It’s moments like this that remind me why I play. When the stress of college and being an “adult” catch up to me, I remember to play, have fun and unleash my inner child

 

 

50 Years of Adventure

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

How do you like to spend your free time outside? I just hit the slopes of Mt.Hood Meadows with the Outdoor Program a couple months ago, which is now celebrating its 50 years of student-led adventure and services. That marks the longest enduring, university-led outdoor program nationwide!

Rumor has it that the University of Oregon was the first school to officially start an Outdoor Program. However, PSU’s Outdoor Program was established the year before in 1966 by a man named Sam McKinney and second PSU president, Branford Price Millar.

The program is rich with history and stories that have been shared from generation to generation. It has compelled students to get outside and explore, and to extend their university experience beyond campus.

Last week, I sat down with Todd Bauch, Campus Rec’s associate director of operations, and the Outdoor Program’s coordinator in 2002. Reflecting on how it has changed over the years, Todd recalls that it was once lacking in diversity. The office was primarily a “white guy’s place to hang out,” he says. Nowadays, students and community members, young and old, male and female, native-born Oregonians and international students alike share a similar passion for outdoor program activities. More structure has also been added to the program over time, ensuring a wide variety of trips, quality service and leadership opportunities such as the new WiLD program.

So, what does the “Outdoor Program” do exactly? At Campus Rec, the Outdoor Program offers guided trips throughout the Pacific Northwest, including service trips and seminars, discounted equipment rental services, free trip planning and resources, kayak roll sessions, a rock climbing center and more.

Stay up-to-date with the Outdoor Program’s 50 year celebration by visiting our microsite and following the hashtag #ODP50 on social media.

Umpaqua_MissionAcomplished

A happy bunch celebrates victory after braving rapids on their Umpqua River trip (2000).