student health pic

Freshman Malone Bowie laces up her shoes outside of the Arkansas Union before a run May 19.

When sophomore Malone Bowie moved to campus, she worried that she would be unable to maintain her fitness routine and healthy lifestyle in college. Bowie’s worries faded, however, when she found the fitness resources that the UofA offers, such as University Recreation and the Health, Physical Education and Recreation building.

Bowie, who is majoring in business management, has been an athlete her whole life and works out every day, she said. She thinks working out regularly is important because it is a healthy way to relieve stress and anxiety.

The UA Pat Walker Health Center offers resources that help students build positive habits and behaviors that extend beyond academic success, said Zac Brown, the assistant director of communications for PWHC, in an email.

Bowie works out more in college than she did while living at home, because here she has access to resources and equipment she did not have previously. She enjoys using the HPER building because of its variety of workout machines.

In addition to exercising, some students try to stay healthy by being mindful of their dietary habits.

Sophomore Sydney Mulvenon, who is majoring in journalism, heard rumors before starting college that many students gain 15 pounds as freshmen, a phenomenon often referred to as the Freshman 15, she said. She wanted to maintain a healthy diet and a good workout routine to avoid adding on the extra pounds.

When eating at Fulbright and Brough dining halls, Mulvenon selected stations like the Green Table that offered healthier options, she said.

“I really took advantage of that,” Mulvenon said. “I used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Every day, Mulvenon would request healthy meals from the chefs, and she would make sure to have a healthy intake of vegetables and protein, she said.

Mulvenon started working out more in college because of the various fitness programs and classes she discovered such as zumba, cardio and swimming, she said. The ease of access to a gym also made it easier for her to work out.

Bowie and Mulvenon think that working out has had a positive impact on their academic achievement, they said.

“I think working out makes me more happy,” Mulvenon said. “When you focus on your nutrition, I know for me, it changes my whole attitude. When I am happy and motivated, it makes me want to do my homework and get things done.”

Though many students worry about the Freshman 15, Brown thinks it can be easy to prevent by forming healthy habits, he said.

“The Freshman 15 is what you make of it,” Brown said. “Making sure you stay active, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep, will go a long way not just for your physical health, but also your mental health.”

Sophomore Ian Sutphin, who is majoring in psychology and theater, often takes advantage of campus resources, like Counseling and Psychological Services and the Wellness Center, that help with mental health management.

Sutphin often visits the CAPS relaxation room when he has a lot of tests and presentations coming up, he said.

“They have a board that reacts to water, they’ve got massage chairs, ambient music and meditation areas,” Sutphin said. “Really whatever you need to get zen.”

Sutphin thinks taking care of your mental health is very important, especially in the high-stress environment college creates, he said.

“Health is more than just eating right and exercising; it’s about mental health, social health and spirituality,” Sutphin said.“Neglecting any of those can deteriorate your physical health too.”

PWHC staff encourage students to call, walk in or email with questions, Brown said.

“Our first priority is making sure students stay healthy and on the road to graduation,” Brown said.

Samantha Van Dyke is an assistant news editor, and she previously worked as a reporter for the Arkansas Traveler.

Andrew Elkins is the assistant news editor of the Arkansas Traveler. He worked as a reporter and photographer from 2018-2019.

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