An analysis of the Stanford student athlete’s utilization of time between lectures for stress reduction
180 units to graduate at Stanford University means that on average a student must take 15 units per quarter 1 hour of class time per unit means students must be in class for 15 hours per week .
division I student athletes devote over 40 hours to their sport per week 1 , leading many to squeeze most of of their class time into the morning hours!
An analysis of the Stanford student athlete’s utilization of time between lectures for stress reduction Researched and created by Coulton Bunney Stanford University Class of 2013 Human Biology
A typical day in the shoes of a student athlete: 1. Wake up at 7am. 2. Attend mandatory practice until 9am. 3. Attend classes from 10am – 2pm with lunch break. 4. Attend afternoon practice from 3pm – 7pm. 5. Shower and eat dinner. 6. Do homework from 8:30pm – 11pm. 7. Go to bed. LITTLE SLEEP + INTENSE PRESSURE TO PERFORM + SUFFOCATINGLY TIGHT SCHEDULE = STRESS
Thus , one of the only times in an athlete’s day to reduce stress is in between classes <ul><li>Commonly observed practices of students at Stanford in between classes: </li></ul><ul><li>needless texting </li></ul><ul><li>talking on cell phone </li></ul><ul><li>worrying about lecture </li></ul><ul><li>unnecessarily rushing to next class </li></ul>
All of these practices lead to stress! texting “ is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety […] falling grades, repetitive stress injury […]” 2 cell phone use “ Aside from becoming an intrusion and consequently resulting in perceived stress, [Information and Communication Technology, which includes cell phones] use can itself be a source of stress.” 3 worrying about lecture “ Academic concerns like school work and grades, with 77 percent and 74 percent respectively, maintain their positions as the top drivers of student stress” 4 rushing in between classes “ [Hurry sickness then is] expressed as heart disease, high blood pressure, or depression of our immune function” 5
what if we can take this time that all students waste in between lectures and utilize it to slow down the intense day of a Stanford athlete…? My analysis of current solutions in this field all point To focusing on the act of walking itself.
MIND BASED SOLUTIONS <ul><li>Walking Mediation: </li></ul><ul><li>Mindfulness based stress reduction walking with a focus on five points: feeling, breath, world, audition, and vision 10 </li></ul><ul><li>Meditative aspect has positive impacts on attention, emotion-regulation, and self-control 10 </li></ul><ul><li>Mindfulness aids in coping with distress 11 </li></ul><ul><li>BreathWalk: </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrated breathing patterns correlated with steps </li></ul><ul><li>Supposedly leads to “biologic flexibility” [… which increases] ability to gain resilience and rebound under stressful situations 12 </li></ul>Drawback: Although both of these practices have obvious benefits for stress reduction, few athletes have the time to learn them, and more so there are no triggers to elicit their continued use
TEMPO FOCUSED SOLUTIONS <ul><li>iPod: </li></ul><ul><li>Listening to music between classes . </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on tempo created by music lifts mood 6 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Music can be a great aid in meditation, helping to prevent mind wandering” 7 </li></ul><ul><li>Listening to music while walking increases adherence to practice 8 </li></ul><ul><li>SynchStep iPhone app: </li></ul><ul><li>Automagically changes song to match current tempo of walking </li></ul><ul><li>Allows user to keep attention on how fast he/she is walking through auditory feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Allows one’s pace to have concrete effects on exercise </li></ul>Drawback: The stress defeating properties of music depend largely on genre. Fast paced complex music often leads to arousal, the opposite of calm 9
GOAL ORIENTED SOLUTIONS <ul><li>Momentum iPhone app: </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on your steps in the real world as you climb stairs in order to make it to the top of virtual monuments </li></ul><ul><li>Gives incentive to students to actively want to walk in order to beat game </li></ul><ul><li>Makes walking in between classes purposeful </li></ul><ul><li>Pedometer: </li></ul><ul><li>Keep track of number of steps taken in between classes </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for tangible data to represent exercise achieved in between lectures </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used to achieve pre-determined goals </li></ul>Drawback: While both solutions increase motivation to engage in walking, neither actively draws attention to the act itself. Also, stress of achieving goals might counterbalance stress reductive properties of walking.
SUMMARY Mind based solutions: (+) Increases resilience to stress, decreases mind wandering, and gives users reason to engage in a proven stress reduction method (--) No good methods to trigger this behavior without strict self- discipline, and also need initial time to learn practice Tempo focused solutions: (+) Increases adherence to focused walking, prevents mind wandering, and gives concrete feedback on pace (--) Calming properties too dependent on genre, leading to subjective stress reduction from user to user Goal oriented solutions: (+) Gives incentive to users to engage in continued practice from both a data and fun driven perspective (--) Does not actively require user attention whilst walking, thus failing to defeat the stress causing properties such as texting, worrying, etc
THUS! Mind based solutions seems to have the largest efficacy in reducing stress without external controls, but tempo and goal solutions seem to be more accessible. If controlled for genre, tempo based solutions would be most effective method for stress reduction in Stanford athletes.
CONCLUSION INSERT STRESS RELIEF INTO AN ATHLETE’S DAY 12pm 10am 11am 1pm Lecture Lecture Lecture Lunch genre controlled tempo based solution
CITATIONS 1 http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2011-01-14-ncaa-survey_N.htm 2 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/health/26teen.html 3 Massimini, M., & Peterson, M. (2009). Information and Communication Technology: Affects on U.S. College Students. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 3(1), article 3. 4 http://www.campuscalm.com/did_you_know.html 5 http://www.amca.com/articles/article-hurrysickness.html 6 http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20031022/music-improves-mood 7 http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/ 8 Research:Interventions to promote walking: systematic review David Ogilvie, Charles E Foster, Helen Rothnie, Nick Cavill, Val Hamilton, Claire F Fitzsimons, Nanette Mutrie , on behalf of the Scottish Physical Activity Research Collaboration (SPARColl)BMJ 2007;334:1204 doi:10.1136/bmj.39198.722720.BE (Published 31 May 2007) 9 http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/10/12/new-study-confirms-it-music-is-a-must- for-your-good-health--and-your-brain.htm 10 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201009/walking- meditation-the-perfect-10-minute-willpower-boost 11 Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., and Walach, H. (2004). "Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis", Journal of Psychosomatic Research 57:35–43