One Stretch At A Time

nc1By: Naela Cabrera

When you have constant terrible pain in your leg, walking through an urban campus with hills and long distances between places is not fun! That was my struggle this past year until I finally decided to help myself.

At the start of the year, small leg and hip discomfort lead to unimaginable pain, which led to numbness all the way down to my toes and the inability to even get out of bed. By the summer I was on crutches! After a long time with pain, I learned I was a victim of sciatica, a pinching of spinal nerves that affects the back, hips and outer part of the legs. A lot of damage to our spine and nerves are caused by bad habits such as poor posture or excessive sitting, or a lack of good habits, such as walking, stretching and exercising. This experience taught me that the pain was there only because I wasn’t doing enough to help myself. I could have stopped the pain myself with small habit changes.

A physical therapist helped me learn more about things I could change in my daily routine. Water sessions taught me how a simple back and forth walk from one end of the pool to the other could really make a difference. Land sessions taught me about powerful workout machines that only take 10 minutes of my day to really help the pain. Five simple stretches a day also keeps the pain away!

The pain has slowly lessened over time, but when I feel it coming back I quickly hit up Campus Rec to follow the therapy routines on my own. My access to Campus Rec has been a game changer. The facility has a ton of equipment that I used during my PT sessions, and the pool couldn’t be better. I realized a lot of the free aquatic fitness drop-in classes are very similar to my pool PT sessions, so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of those to help myself! It’s amazing to know how much you can do for yourself to overcome pain and keep yourself healthy.

 

Finals are coming. Have you pet a dog yet?

by Jenna Rae Tucker

 

I consider my dog, Tim, to be my best friend, I would almost always rather snuggle up with him and stare into his adorable little face than go out and party. Sometimes he is annoying, especially when it is time for a walk (or what I like to call a “pull”) but he is always stoked to see me when I come home and he is such a goober it always makes me laugh. Maybe it is because I have never had a dog of my own, or because I am Tim’s lifeline, but I just love the little sucker so much. He makes me feel less stressed, less sad, and less lonely.

Timbers

Timbers

But it is not just me! Hanging out with a pup can do this for you too! According to a report from CNN “canine interaction increases a human’s level of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety and blood pressure.” Studies also show that lots of stress/anxiety impairs memory, which you need for those tests. Some workplaces and universities actually have therapy dogs on site during stressful periods to calm people down.

DOGTHERAPY

So, find a dog and get to pettin’ (but make sure you ask its owner for permission first, apparently people frown upon random petting sometimes). Tim is available, but he will charge you one baby carrot per petting session.