Physical Activity and Self Care

Sent on behalf of Aubrey Newland, Associate Professor of Sport & Exercise Psychology

Self-care…sigh. Is that really a thing for professors? Yes! One way of making sure we have our own backs is to make time for regular physical activity in our lives. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening per week, but the majority of people across the United States struggle to meet these guidelines. 

Why is it important? 

Regular physical activity (PA) has more benefits than just the obvious physical ones. For example, did you know that physical activity improves mood, cognition, and confidence? The connection between physical activity and general well-being is well-studied. There are massive amounts of evidence extolling the benefits of exercise! We have the physiological and psychological evidence that it is good for us. So why aren’t most of us meeting the daily guidelines for PA?  

Tips for Overcoming Barriers 

For many people it boils down to lack of time and motivation. Based on research in the field of exercise psychology, here are a few practical tips for increasing motivation:  

  1. You don’t have to exercise so intensely that it hurts! Research shows that as exercise intensity increases, emotion (affect) decreases.  
  2. Start slow and have realistic expectations.  
  3. Do something you enjoy. Exercise is more likely to be done if you enjoy it! A recent research article supported the idea that enjoyment leads to more regular exercise adherence. Another article highlighted the importance of fun as a key to regular exercise.   
  4. Make it a habit. 
  5. Reflect on your values and see if they align with your priorities (actions) in life. For instance, what are you spending most of your time doing each day? How does that time spent align with what you say you value? 


How do I fit PA into my schedule? 

  1. Plan it into your day. Block it off on your calendar. This is called implementation intentions. Sign up for a class and take a friend. If you take time to sign up for a class, you’re more likely to go.  
  2. Do a little each day. Here are some examples of manageable ways to fit it in.  
  3. Take advantage of small opportunities! For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator when you have the choice. Or park farther away at the grocery store.  

Keep an eye out in the first month of each semester for announcements about enrolling in PA counseling sessions that target motivational issues. Students in the Kinesiology Department offer this service as part of an upper-division course for staff, faculty, and community members. Contact Aubrey Newland for more information or to reserve your spot for next semester!

Embrace the Silence

When you teach a concept and then ask your class “What questions do you have?,” wait at least 3-5 seconds (that’s 2 deep breaths) before you jump in to fill the silence. Let those crickets chirp for a few seconds longer than what may feel comfortable to you so that students have an opportunity to (a) critically think about what questions they have, and (b) muster up the courage to ask their question coherently in front of their peers.

“Wait time” is an underutilized pedagogical technique pioneered by Mary Rowe and discussed further in this article. Rowe found that most teachers (from Kindergarten through college) wait less than one second before answering the question themselves. Rowe also discovered that student responses tended to be more substantive after longer wait times. As an added bonus, wait time can also allow you more time to strategize your responses and formulate higher level questions. In short, slowing down your class can actually speed up learning!

Remembering Student Names

Today’s Tuesday Tip is a strategy to learn students’ names, which can facilitate a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment. It’s also a great way to connect with students but it can be challenging, especially in large classes. One strategy is to access your Class Roster to match students’ names with faces. When students get their photo taken for their University ID, they can choose to upload it to the Class Roster. To access your Class Roster with student photos, log on to the Chico State Portal, sign in with your campus username and password, and click on the Faculty Center. Then, click on the Class Roster icon to the left of your course and then click View All. On the Class Roster, you will see your students’ name, major, year in school, and photo (if they chose to upload it). You can then review the photos with names before each class.

Additional strategies for a successful first week of class can be found in this recent article in the Chronicle.

Free Speech at Chico State

Last Saturday, President Trump announced that he intends to sign an executive order to cut federal research money to universities that fail to protect free speech (article here). This presents an opportunity to reflect on freedom of speech at Chico State with a few questions for you to consider and post a response to on the FDEV Blog…

  • Does Chico State do enough to protect freedom of speech?
  • Does Chico State do enough to protect vulnerable groups from speech that is offensive but not illegal?
  • Do campaigns promoted by Chico State such as “I don’t say” or “Cultures are not Costumes” infringe on freedom of speech or expression?
    1. Are these campaigns effective in helping marginalized groups?
  • In your classroom, how do you empower students to exercise freedom of speech, particularly when they have a dissenting opinion?

Speech that is not protected by the first amendment includes defamation, harassment, true threats, and inciting imminent violence. In his book “Free Speech on Campus”, Erwin Chemerinsky argues that campuses should not treat the expression of ides as a threat to the learning environment. He acknowledges the tension between “the desire to protect the learning experience of all students and the desire to safeguard freedom of expression.” How do you balance these two aspects in your classroom?


We Are One University

On my way to campus this morning, I walked down First Street admiring the banners hung on the lampposts that show our solidarity as a community. The message is both welcoming and decisive: “We Are Chico State” and “We Are One University.” These banners symbolize the culture of respect and caring that we embrace as a campus.

The announcement today that DACA will be rescinded is unfortunate but it’s also an opportunity to remind your students that you support them regardless of their legal status. In fact, all students need to know that we support them regardless of race, religion, body size, gender identity, socio-economic status, age, disability status, or anything else that makes them exceptional or distinctive. The attached PPT slides about DACA (thank you Hannah Burdette in ILLC) may be helpful to discuss in class and/or post to Bb so (a) undocumented students know what resources are available to them and (b) non-Dreamers can better understand the issue. Other helpful tips include avoiding the words “alien” or “illegal” when referring to undocumented students and acknowledging the anxiety they are likely experiencing right now.

As with most controversial issues, education is the key to greater understanding. You can learn more about how this decision impacts higher education in this article in the Chronicle published this morning. Regardless of your political views on immigration, We Are One University with an unwavering commitment to student learning.