Students learn healthy ways to release at Stress Relief Day

Students jump around in a bounce house on the quad on April 27. To promote stress relief during finals, campus organizations encouraged students to relax by providing activities and food. Gregory Moreno / staff photographer

As final exam season approaches, students might have a pulse on their grades, but between all-night cramming sessions and hours spent sitting in the annex, it’s easy to forget to stay healthy.

On April 27, campus organizations that promote health and fitness combined forces for the annual Stress Relief Day to remind SF State students to let out the stress.

“If you don’t release your stress it will pile up and you won’t be able to think,” said Sai Vang, a volunteer with the Student Health Advisory Committee, one of the eight organizations at the event. “During finals students are stressed about doing papers and studying. This event allows students to have fun.”

In the quad near the bookstore, a chain of tables wrapped around the walkway with educational games set up for passersby to play and win prizes.

If students visited eight tables, featuring games like tic-tac-toe, beanbag tosses and tug-a-war, they were treated to a scoop of ice cream and a five-dollar coupon to the on-campus restaurant, Jessie’s Hot House.

“It’s fun doing activities while learning something,” said Daniel Nimry, a junior majoring in business.

Nimry said one thing he learned was new yoga moves from an instructor who teaches classes on campus.

Beneath the bright afternoon sun, Harrison Ma stood next to the bean-bag-toss with his heavy backpack draped over his shoulder.

Ma is a junior majoring in biology, which requires intense reading and studying for exams, he said.

According to him, when his stress level builds up, he gets cranky and has to tell his friends to leave him alone.

“Stress it not good for you and it can take a toll on your body,” he said.  “It’s good to get out and do something fun.”

The main attraction was a castle-shaped bounce house, looming behind the game tables.

After signing a waiver and kicking off their shoes, students got the chance to repeatedly jump up and down between classes.

“In the five minutes we were in there, I’ve already gotten my workout for the week,” said Lizet Beltran after she finished bouncing with one of her friends.

“Not only do you get a good workout, but it’s a stress reliever,” the nursing sophomore said. “It was amazing.”

Besides giving students a break from the routine drill, Stress Relief Day also promoted services on campus that help students stay healthy all semester long, said Kristen Liaz, a sophomore in biology, and secretary for SHAC.

One of those services provided all semester is a weekly stress relief workshop in the Student Health Center, Liaz said.

Symptoms of stress include shortness of breath, tightening of muscles and a heightening of adrenaline levels, according to  SHC health educator Alberto Angelo who leads the weekly workshop.

A little stress can be good, but people run into problems when high stress levels are sustained over long periods of time, he said.

“College is an excellent starting point for learning health promotion skills,” Angelo said.  “I learned this stuff in my 30s.  If you can adopt a healthy lifestyle now, you’ll have a whole lifetime of dealing with stress in healthy ways.”

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