A Healing Hiatus

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

Exercise is my catharsis, and it takes something major to throw me off my routine. A year ago, that unexpected “something major” happened. I developed sesamoiditis, the inflammation around two tiny bones in the ball of the foot, and it caused severe pain when I ran. I stupidly kept running on it because I refused to accept the fact that pain resulting from overuse counted as an actual injury. I thought since nothing was physically broken or fractured, it would just gradually disappear. When I reached the point where I could no longer walk to and from class without pain, I knew I had to quit running.

I thought maybe I’d give it up for a couple weeks—a month at tops. Little did I know, it would be 10 months before I could run again. For someone who has run for years, it was like having a piece of me ripped away. In addition, I couldn’t play Ultimate Frisbee, and I drifted away from the team I’d been a part of since I was a freshmen.

On the bright side, not being able to run forced me to try things outside of my comfort zone since I wanted to stay active. I picked up weight lifting, which is something I used to vehemently hate but now love how much stronger it has made me feel. This term I dabbled in rock climbing, and I learned a lot from attending the Rec Center bouldering classes. I even joined the dodgeball club—a dangerous decision for someone with as little hand-eye coordination as myself, but it’s ended up being really fun.

I used to consider running my utmost prioritized form of exercise, but my injury and months of subsequent recovery forced me to commit myself to new things that are now just as important to me. Strangely enough, this injury gave me the time to discover I enjoy other activities and the confidence to pursue them.

’80s Night at the Rec

Being the photographer and designer for the Rec Center means a couple things. I get to know about a bunch of great events happening here early, and I get to be included in most of them. My job includes everything from photographing the events to designing most of the materials used in them and to promote them. Before my job here I would only come to work out — I would never consider taking part in the events here, until now.

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One that is always fun to shoot each year is the Sound Waves Pool Party. This year’s theme was the ‘80s.

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Our aquatics team converted the pool into a huge party venue with strobe lights, fog machines, live DJing and even free pizza. I am just working at these events and am not there as a participant. But what other job pays me to go capture the fun memories going on at the Rec Center? I definitely recommend that every PSU student check out one of these at least once during their time here. You’re bound to make new connections and have a good time!

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You can click here to go to the Rec Center homepage and see the next few events coming up.

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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.

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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

 

 

How Technology Has Improved My Fitness Habits

Self Photos and Post by: James Wilson

Being a full-time student on top of working and maintaining a connection with family and friends is already hard enough. Adding the right time to get any bit of a workout or any form of physical activity adds just another layer.

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Technology for me has already made that first part way easier. We all are connected to devices nearly 24/7. We work on the go. We also are maintaining that social connection — maybe while even waiting for the Max — when we check our phones to message close friends or family members. But what about working out? How can technology help with recreation?

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Luckily, Android and Apple’s iPhone already have this problem solved. With their built-in pedometers you can see just how active you are in a normal daily routine. Walking 20 minutes to class is now an integrated part of my fitness regimen. Pairing a phone with a wearable device such as the Apple Watch or the Fitbit makes this even better. I’m able to link my smartwatch with my phone and keep tabs on my physical activity at all times. It gets me moving more. I have apps that notify me when I’ve been stationary for too long, and that motivates me to get up and move around. I also have the 7 Minute Workout app on my Pebble watch and phone, so I can optimize my free time when I can’t make it to the gym. For the busy student it really is a habit changer and motivates me when I need it most. 

My Epic Snowboarding Experience [for Beginners]

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

This past weekend was my second time snowboarding and I had a blast, thanks to Campus Rec’s Ski Shuttle.

I was more than ready to make a comeback from my first snowboarding experience, which involved me not having snow pants and falling down the mountain every five feet. This time I was equipped with Gore-Tex snow pants and “ButtSaver” pads, including a tailbone protector— I felt pretty invincible.

Each year the Outdoor Program at Campus Rec has a Ski Shuttle to Mt. Hood Meadows that students and anyone in the community can ride. Jake and Scarlett were our trip leaders. They did an awesome job keeping us well informed and making sure we received our equipment and passes before hitting the slopes. Additionally, our group got to skip the long lines at the rental center and get right to picking up our gear.

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It was a beautiful day at Meadows. The sun was out, it was snowing, and the mountain was covered in fresh powder. As I skated towards the lift, I already felt a greater sense of confidence on my board. I set a goal that day to focus on learning how to turn on both my front and back edges, and how to properly break, rather than intentionally falling every time I wanted to stop.

After a few practice runs on the Bunny and Buttercup Hills, I was ready to progress to the Daisy Hill. The hills on this run are steeper and longer. I felt a rush of exhilaration down each slope. As I began to pick up speed, adrenaline surged through my veins. But the fear of taking a hard hit stuck a pin in the back of my mind.

Suddenly, I lost control.

My momentum launched me forward, sending me into a complete 360 flip, first taking impact from my knees to chest then chucking me straight onto my back. I had of course opened my mouth in shock, inviting a chunk of snow to the back of my throat. I laid on the mountain, motionless, until I regained my senses. Once I realized that had just happened, I started laughing to myself at how incredible of a fall that was yet my body was still in one piece! I was also surprised at how little it hurt— luckily the snow was extra powdery, and the ButtSaver might have helped a bit too.

If you’re a beginner like me, falling is only part of the experience and half the fun. I hope this will serve as some motivation for you to make a trip to the mountain and to never give up when learning a new skill gets frustrating. Don’t forget that the Outdoor Program Ski Shuttle is always a great option if you’re considering your next snowboarding or ski trip.

Working Out With the Boys

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

Stepping foot into a weight room for the first time is often intimidating, but imagine being one of several women in a weight room predominantly occupied by men.

You see racks of daunting weights in every size, machines with strange handles and nooks; then of course, you glance over and see a large heavy-lifter grunting with every breath, sweat dripping and veins pulsing through his neck. You think to yourself, are there even instructions anywhere?  Then you realize you probably should’ve come up with a game plan.

As a freshman, I avoided the Campus Rec weight room altogether. In fact, it took me an entire term before I built the courage to step foot onto the second floor of the gym. My first time walking into the weight room, I scanned the area and realized I had no idea what to do. Any machine that I couldn’t figure out from afar, I didn’t touch. The only exercise I knew how to do with free weights was bicep curls, which I didn’t dare attempt since the free weight space was crowded by big college guys. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the weight room that I began to feel more comfortable using weights. I started to follow fitness videos on Instagram and became inspired to make weight training a critical part of my workout routine.

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Although there are still more men, I’ve been noticing more and more women in the weight room. In fact, the Rec Center offers a free program called Women on Weights that is designed to introduce women to a variety of weight training equipment, proper form and technique, and more.

I don’t mind being outnumbered by “the guys” anymore. In fact, there’s something empowering about being a woman in the weight room and performing the same exercises as men.

While the “fight or flight” response may naturally kick in during intimidating situations, continue on to do what you set out to do. Embrace it. Challenge yourself to do the unexpected. Lift weights!