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Stories | 04.21.20

Promoting Activity and Wellness During Shelter-in-Place

Adler University faculty, students, and staff are coming together to make sure the university community is staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying active is important for more than our physical bodies; it’s also a crucial component of mental well-being. Chicago Campus Master of Science in Sport and Human Performance program faculty and students have stepped up to offer guidance and tips for staying well physically and mentally while we practice social distancing.

Challenging Each Other to Stay Active

Sport and Human Performance program students and faculty challenged the Adler University community to commit to 30 days of physical activity. The activity can be through at-home workouts, committing to short bursts of activity, like 10 pushups, throughout the day, or going socially distanced for walks outside.

The endorphins released improve mood, promote a positive outlook, and even facilitate better sleep. A 30-day challenge also provides students and faculty with accountability through virtual “work out buddies,” fostering connection even during this period of social distancing.

Encouraging Motivation and Mindfulness

Students in the Adler Sport and Health Association are sharing Mindful Monday videos, offering their insight on stress reduction and anxiety management during this difficult time. According to the students featured, when life stressors rise, mindfulness becomes an even more crucial skill to practice.

Through the Instagram video series, ASHA teaches mindfulness practices such as:

  • Re-grounding and coming back to the present when anxious thoughts begin to spiral
  • Rubbing your hands together and focusing on the warmth the movement creates
  • Naming things you can see, touch, hear, and smell
  • Listening mindfully by paying attention to how you feel during conversations

Other Adler University students have also shared tips for mindfulness. Eduardo Castillo, a dual degree student in the Master of Science in Sport and Human Performance and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs, shared a breathing exercise in both English and Spanish. In the video, Castillo teaches diaphragmatic breathing techniques that quickly connect the mind to the body.

Daniel J. Janik, Jr, who is in the same dual degree program, created an instructional video on attention and focus. According to Janik, attentional focus is one of the most important skills to master in professional sports and beyond. It’s the practice of refocusing our attention on the appropriate task, helping us let go of negative or distracted thoughts and come back to the present moment.

Both the Sport and Human Performance department and the Adler Sport and Health Association recommend incorporating these mindfulness practices with mental skills training to foster integrated wellness.

Sharing Tips for Staying Active

Teresa Behrend Fletcher Ph.D., Professor and Program Director of the Sport and Human Performance program, also lists productive thinking, energy management, motivation, self-confidence, and team skills among important mental skills trainings that she and her students are providing. In a recent webinar, “Staying Active While Quarantined: Your Mental Health Depends on It!,” Fletcher shared advice for how students, faculty and staff—and everyone else—can stay active while staying home.

These tips included:

  • Making physical activity a priority by focusing on the mental benefits
  • Using music to increase motivation
  • Finding virtual workout buddies
  • Working small bits of exercise into our everyday routine
  • Adhering to our socially responsible practice by continuing to socially isolate

As the pandemic continues, Adler University students and faculty will continue to offer tips for staying healthy mentally and physically within the parameters of social distancing.

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