By AMANDA FOUN ’17
This Saturday, Wellesley College’s Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics department (PERA) held its annual Spring Day. This wellness event is held to motivate the community to make healthy lifestyle choices in regards to eating and exercising. With the warmer spring weather, more people showed up to upper recreation fields, where the event took place.
Many Wellesley students attended the event, and the student body’s presence was supplemented with plenty of coaches and families from the surrounding neighborhood as well.
Throughout the day, family, friends and students were exposed to new ideas about topics such as stress relief and healthy eating. The different stations that were set up during Spring Day provided attendees with the resources to improve their lives by choosing healthier alternatives and decisions.
AVI Fresh, the Stone Center Counseling Services, the Mental Health Educators (MHEs), the Balance Health Educators (BHEs), the Sexual Health Educators (SHEs), the Recreation and Fitness Department and the Wellesley varsity athletic teams all contributed to the event and operated their own stations.
Amy Branham led the AVI Fresh table to explore the “Battle of the Snack Bars!” Branham works at the College as a dietitian. At the table, she taught students how they can get the nutrients their bodies need without consuming too many calories, unhealthy saturated fats and sugars. In preparation for Spring Day, Branham performed extensive research comparing the different snack bars available to students on campus, such as Clif bars, Luna bars, Snickers bars and KIND bars.
At the table, Branham discussed the different ingredients and nutrients that one should look for when checking out the nutrition and ingredients labels on the back of snack bars.
First, students should look for ingredients they recognize, such as fruits, nuts and whole grains like oats and brown rice. Next, students should aim for snack bars that contain fewer than 200 calories and less than 15 grams of sugar. Most importantly, students should focus on protein and fiber, since those properties will provide students with the energy they need and make their bodies feel full and satisfied throughout the day. Generally, students should search for snack bars that contain more than seven grams of protein and more than five grams of fiber.
Wellesley’s peer health educators, which include the MHEs, the BHEs and the SHEs, also conducted a variety of activities at their respective stations during Spring Day. In the spirit of being creative, the MHEs provided students with colored paper and markers and asked them to express what “Team Me” meant to them. Some of the ideas they promoted included taking care of your body, loving yourself and living without regrets.
The BHEs ran a booth about sun and bug safety that provided games and informational material. Nancy Baden, Wellesley’s community outreach nurse, directed the station. Students participated in trivia games and a bean bag toss and also learned about how to protect themselves during the summer.
According to Baden, students should always wear sunscreen, especially those with fair skin or who have many moles since they are more susceptible to skin cancer. She also advised students to remember to apply bug spray, particularly during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. After walking in the woods or in an area with tall grass, students should check their entire bodies for ticks as well.
The SHEs also directed a station for Spring Day about yoga and kegel exercises, which involve contracting one’s pelvic muscles.The SHEs asked students a variety of trivia questions about the exercises, and those who answered correctly were entered into a raffle.
According to the SHEs, the best part about kegel exercises that is that they can be done anywhere, whether one is sitting, lying down or standing. They can be done by both men and women and have many benefits. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles, help with bladder control and can even improve and enhance sexual stimulation.
Throughout Spring Day, students had the opportunity to meet and learn from other campus leaders as well, such as student athletes, employees at the Stone Center and sports coaches. These leaders and other volunteers at the event encouraged students to make smart choices to improve their mental and physical health.
Students played games, enjoyed free snacks and drinks and won prizes all while broadening their knowledge on healthy lifestyle practices. With the diverse array of stations at Spring Day, students joined their fellow classmates in participating in both recreational and educational activities in celebration of spring and healthy living.