SPARK is a campaign connecting exercise with mental health.

Spark campaign at FSU Campus Rec

What is SPARK?

SPARK is a holistic wellness campaign that focuses on physical and mental health through exercise. For this campaign in particular, Campus Recreation will be pushing factual information connecting to the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by Dr. John Ratey, that explains how physical activity has transformative effects on the brain.

What does SPARK mean?

SPARK means igniting the flame within you to become more active, to feel healthier, to live better. The word SPARK doesn’t have a specific meaning, but it encompasses the positives of physical, mental, psychological, and emotional health.

Who is SPARK for?

SPARK is for Florida State University’s student body. We will be presenting information that is understandable, informative, and encouraging. We want our student body to grasp the information we are sharing and use it to their advantage.

People participating in a group fitness class

Exercise is essential for physical and mental health

Why is exercise essential:

  • Staying active boosts immunity.
  • Exercise helps with stress and anxiety.
  • Exercise improves sleep quality.

Whether it’s a quick stretch in between classes or carving out time in your day for some movement, this stimulates and refreshes your brain, improving alertness, attention, and motivation.

Although it may take some effort to create and adjust to new fitness routines, regular physical activity can help you optimize your health and well-being.

Yoga is scientifically proven to be beneficial

  • Take some time out of your schedule to prioritize yourself and your mental health.
  • Moving your body is one of the best ways to boost your mental state and focus on yourself for a bit.

Harvard has proven that there are health benefits related to yoga

  • Enhancing Fitness: Yoga is known for its ability to soothe tension and anxiety in the mind and body. But it can also have an impact on a person’s exercise capacity.
  • A Boost to Weight Loss and Maintenance: People who practice yoga and are mindful eaters are more in tune with their bodies.
  • A Better Body Image: Yoga develops inner awareness. It focuses your attention on your body’s abilities at the present moment. It helps develop breath and strength of mind and body. It’s not about physical appearance.

How to get active:

  • Exercise with others (Get your roommate, friends, or family to participate in fitness activities with you).
  • Don’t have time for a full-length exercise session? Consider breaking your workout up into several 10-minute sessions. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a few brisk walks around the block can add up to a full workout.
  • Set exercise goals to challenge yourself!

Exercise quick facts:

  • Exercise releases endorphins that can make you feel good about yourself, shifting to a positive attitude.
  • Exercising can ‘wake the brain up’, allowing you to be more alert and can improve self esteem too!
  • Working out releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which not only sharpen your focus, but improve your mood and daily motivation.
  • Any level of physical activity, moderate to intense, does wonders for the immune system, strengthening your antibodies and lymphocytes used to fight off infections and illness.
  • Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and depression, slow the pace at which you age and improve your ability to learn.
  • Regular exercise has proven that people become more socially active by boosting confidence and provides opportunities to meet people.

Yoga quick facts:

  • Relieves anxiety
  • Can fight depression
  • Can reduce chronic pain
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improve breathing
  • Help you sleep better
  • Improve your overall health

group playing outside

Get Outside, it can help you clear your mind!

Why getting outside is essential:

  • After sitting inside all day, it is good to take a break and get outside!
  • Studies have shown that nature-based recreation can improve mental health, well-being, resilience, restoration, and cognition.
  • Nature-based activities can also decrease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Getting outside boosts your mental health

  • Nature-based recreation has a strong potential to improve mental health outcomes in areas of general well-being, resilience, restoration, and cognition, with some potential for decreasing symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Outdoors quick facts

  • Taking a walk and getting some fresh air is what you need if you’re ever feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed.
  • The outdoors and your personal wellness go hand in hand. There are many outdoor activities that can improve your mood and even focus, including taking a walk and meditating.
  • Caring about the environment and caring about ourselves go hand in hand.
  • Being mindful of the outdoors while spending time in it can nurture a sense of pride and satisfaction and can help build a connection to the outdoors as a safe, calming space.
  • Connecting our inner thoughts with our surroundings helps ease our minds and distract ourselves from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  • We are perfectly capable of enjoying the outdoors alone, but sometimes it is equally enjoyable to be with friends.  So grab some friends and spend some time outside!

man working out outside

Focus on wellness

Focus on mental wellness

  • It is important to manage a range of feelings and consider getting help when needed.
  • A creatively well person will participate and find value in a wide variety of arts and experiences.
  • A person should value lifelong learning and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills and engage in education.
  • It is important to have a strong support system based off interdependence, trust, respect, and sensitivity.
  • It is important to openly explore the depth of human purpose, meaning, and reflection.

Focus on physical wellness

  • It is important to get a good amount of sleep, have a balanced and nutritious diet, and exercise.
  • It is important to recognize, appreciate and accept responsibility over improving the environment.
  • It is important to engage in work to gain personal satisfactions and enrichment and to develop values, goals and lifestyle.
  • Spend time with yourself by exercising. It helps your body utilize energy more efficiently which allows you to do even more!
  • Looking out for yourself, listening to your body, exercising, and moving often are ways to cultivate self-respect.

Wellness  quick facts

  • Make a list of goals.
    • This sounds daunting, but could be as simple as a to do list for the day. It’s harder to get things done without direction, so listing the items you want to work on that day can help with staying organized and your workload starts to feel more manageable.
    • Goals can be from making your bed every morning, to finishing up your writing assignment, or even to carve out time for exercising.
  • Focus on self-care.
    • Self-care can look different for everyone, whether watching a movie, playing the guitar, or completing a workout, there is something for everyone. 
    • Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and depression and improve your ability to learn. There’s a misconception about working out that it’s only to improve your physical health, but in reality can do so much for your mental health.
  • Stay social.
    • Humans are social creatures. Even introverts need to socialize at times.

3 people tabling on Landis Green

Spark Events

Thank you for joining us for SPARK Week 2023! If you missed SPARK Week, you can watch the recap video below and join us again in 2024!