UW support for winter outdoor activities could improve student well-being The Badger Herald
For much of the spring semester at the University of Wisconsin, it’s cold outside. Some students are not too bothered by the cold — they tolerate it well enough to go outside and walk, run, kite, skate, fish, bike, and various other activities.
Despite these brave students’ ability to endure the cold, their outdoor physical activity is often significantly reduced during the winter.
These drastic lifestyle changes lead to the weakening of physical, mental and spiritual health. Being strong in all aspects of your health is important for good academic and professional results.
Multiple studies show the unique benefits individuals experience when spending time outdoors, whether active or not.. Such to studypublished in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, sought to “explore this connection between the experience of vitality and exposure to outdoor and natural environments”, revealing “a consistent positive relationship between being outdoors and subjective vitality”.
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Another one to studypublished by the National Library of Medicine, confirms this theory.
“Compared to exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreased tension, confusion, anger, and depression , and to an increase in energy,” the study states.
Overall, the cold weather makes it harder for students to reap the full benefits of exercise when they are unable to utilize the outdoors with their daily movements.
To counter these adverse effects that students experience each year as winter approaches, UW needs to do more to encourage outdoor activities during the winter. UW should redirect some of the resources spent on its warm weather and indoor sports to support more outdoor winter activities.
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For example, UW should provide outdoor winter gear for free or at a reduced price, expanding its available products to include snow hats, gloves, snowshoes, ice skates, hockey equipment, sleds and fishing rods. This equipment would promote outdoor activities that would improve physical and mental health.
In addition to providing outdoor winter gear, UW is expected to promote physical activities and outdoor events. For example, rather than using its resources to support indoor and sedentary activities such as concerts, lectures, sporting events, indoor social events, and catering operations, the school should redistribute more of these allocations to support exercise-based activities.
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It should be noted that UW has recognized the importance of increasing outdoor opportunities during the cold season and is taking steps to support its students through the winter. The school organizes a series of events called winter carnivalinvolving activities like mini-golf on the ice, a fishing tournament and free ski and snowshoe rentals, but many activities like broomball on the lake and hockey on the lake are cancelled.
Unfortunately, the Winter Carnival is limited to a 5-day period, from February 7 to 12. Although the initiative is a great idea, its scope is very short-lived. Such events should be extended from the start of the semester until the middle of March, when it starts to get tolerably hot at a minimum.
Investing in student welfare is not an economic loss. UW could likely cut spending on other areas — such as physical and mental health issues resulting from a lack of time spent outdoors during the winter — if it were to both promote more activity and provide the necessary resources for students to take advantage of them. Opportunities. The UW would thus help to improve the well-being of its students and thus promote their academic and professional success.
Brandon Alfonso ([email protected]) is an environmental science student.