*Exclusive offer extension – Early Bird Gym membership!

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Did you know that staying active while at university helps to improve focus, relieve stress and maintain mood?

An exclusive one-off payment of £110 covers you for the entire year and gives you access to everything we have on offer! 

  • unlimited use of all NTU gyms and sports facilities (both City and Clifton)

  • unlimited access to NTU fitness classes and blast sessions with priority booking 

  • free gym induction

  • discounted fitness packages

  • free Play for Fun sessions

  • free court hire

  • access to the University of Nottingham’s casual swim sessions for only £2 per visit

And now there is no need to slow down out of term time. With this membership, you’ll have access to BUCS Universal, the initiative that gives you access to university gyms up and down the country! 

Simply speak to a member of the fitness team about getting your universal pass after you sign up. Find a university gym near you. 

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From Cheer to Boxing!

University has definitely encouraged me to try many new things; including sports. Having never been much of a team sport kind of person before coming to university (aside from football aged 10), I have thrived from being part of a competitive club at NTU. 

As a club Cheerleading has gone from strength-to-strength and been very physically challenging. Engaging in this as a beginner was intense but ever so rewarding. However it has been exciting to take part in several ‘skill swap’ sessions including American Football and Thai Boxing. Not only were we able to show how physically demanding Cheerleading can be, but myself and a few others found that we really enjoyed these sports that we may not have tried had it not have been for these encouraging ‘skill swap’ sessions, organised and ran by the clubs themselves. 

Having enjoyed the Thai Boxing session thoroughly, I decided to hang up my cheer dress for this year, and look further into how I can get my teeth stuck into a new challenge.

Sophie Pyke, (Cheerleading president last year)

Are you keen to get involved in sport, or even just get more active? We want to hear from you! Why not come along to our ‘Girls Night In‘ evening next on Tuesday where you can enjoy some free food, mocktails and music, and enjoy an evening socialising with your female peers.

For more information about Trent Girls Can Week, and how to get involved, click here.

 

ATHLETICS & MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health issues are an underrated matter, and one that many students suffer from throughout their time at university. I once read that 1 in 4 people will suffer from it at some point in their life time, which means that it can affect anyone around you. To that end, I’ve always thought that getting involved in your hobbies is an excellent way of getting your mind off troubling issues. Personally, I’ve had a longstanding affair with them, namely depression, as I’ve seen it take the life of one of my best friends from School, as well as having a brief battle with it back in 2012. My experiences might not be the same as everyone else’s, but I figure the least I can do is explain how I dealt with these instances so hopefully others can follow suit.

I had a brief bout of depression back in 2012, at a time when my girlfriend was moving back to Australia, my grandmother was hospitalised, my dog had become sick and my mother had started suffering from anxiety attacks. It only lasted about 4 or 5 months, but they were some of my lowest points. I just had the feeling that I was a burden to people around me, and that others were better than I was. I had counselling, which helped, but I only truly got rid of it when I started my Athletics season in the summer. It felt like I was a completely different person as I was genuinely doing something I loved, and getting better at it. It’s never been as bad as it was back then, and I think that’s because I’ve placed added emphasis on finding what makes me happy and seizing it. For that reason I don’t regret having experienced it, as I know I’ve been through it, and my happiness stems from knowing I don’t feel that way anymore.

Throughout my time at university, I’ve had times where I’ve been lower than I was back then, but I’ve never reverted back to how I felt and being involved in the Athletics club has been a massive part of that, as I’ve met people who have helped me through the hard times. One such time was last year, when I found out that I’d lost a great friend of mine from school to depression. And that’s the harsh truth about depression, and all mental health problems, that people need to realise: it’s a sickness. An example I like to use to explain it is that you wouldn’t say someone who has just lost a battle with cancer died due to a stage 4 cancerous tumour on the lung blocking crucial airways or rupturing and causing internal bleeding… you’d say they died from cancer. In the same way, people who commit suicide don’t die from suicide, that’s just the execution. They’re dying from depression as it’s literally taken them to the point where they believe that if they were removed from the world, then it would be better for their friends and family. That’s what it took me a long time to realise, and I’m grateful that I did.

Therefore my word of advice to people is to find something that you love, and even better, that you’re good at. For me, it was Athletics, as sport has such a positive effect on you in terms of physical health. Also, while you’re getting fitter and better at your sport, you’re also releasing endorphins that are designed to make you feel happy. I never regret going out on a run, I may have no natural fitness at the start, but it’s the fact that you’re getting better after each session that got me hooked on it.

I’d also suggest talking to your friends and family, and surrounding yourself with positive people as sometimes the harder things like telling loved ones what you’re going through are what makes it easier to go through it when you have their support. I’ve always thought that if people are going to be talking about what you’re going through, it’s better that it comes from you first. I started putting on mental health workshops last year for Athletics so that people could come forward and speak to friends that were going through similar experiences and know that they weren’t alone. I think it really helped some people as they realised that isolation they felt wasn’t exclusive to them, and they certainly weren’t going through it alone.

That’s how sport helped me through some tough times, and I suspect it will carry on being a driving force for happiness in my life.

Visit our website for more details about sport at NTU, or our previous blog about how to get active.

Sam Corsan (NTU Athletics President)

Get active at NTU Sport

At NTU we have many different ways you can get involved in sport and exercise, and we currently have some special early bird offers in place for you to make the most of.

1. Two early bird gym membership offers:

   a) Early bird Annual Active Gym Membership = £110 (will increase to £140 on 16 October 2017)

   b) 3-year Special Offer (only available between 1 September – 16 October 2017)

Both memberships will give you:

  • Access to two gyms, the City Suite on City Campus, and the Lee Westwood Sports Centre on Clifton Campus.
  • A free gym induction
  • Discounted fitness packages, including Boditrax scans.
  • Unlimited access to NTU Fitness Classes and Blast Sessions, with priority booking. They are very popular and offer a huge variety of options, with classes taking place at City and Clifton.
  • Free hire of our world-class facilities, such as the brand new tennis centre, sports halls, squash courts, and the 3G to have a bit of fun with your mates.
  • Free Play for Fun sessions, which offer an alternative to just going to the gym by giving you the chance to start something new, get back into a sport you love, make new friends and most importantly, have fun!
  • Access to the University of Nottingham’s casual swim sessions for only £2 per visit.

2. At NTU there are 60 sports clubs for students to participate in, catering for every level of experience.

3. Volunteering is a great way to get involved, and we work in partnership with Nottingham Trent Volunteering to offer a huge range of sport volunteering opportunities.

4. We have very popular intramural leagues in Football, Netball and Rugby, where you can enter your own team. Represent your hall, society, course, or simply round up some of your mates – everyone is welcome.

Don’t overwork yourself

Most blogs you read on well-being inspire you to change your life, with changing your whole diet to eat healthy and taking hours out of your days to fit in a work out. However, mine is simply going to consist of the reality of over working yourself, and how well-being has become something of a second thought to me.

Well-being should be a priority to everyone because it doesn’t only cover your physical health but mental as well. Since aged 16 I began working and ever since it has become a problem that I allow it to override everything else I do.

Physically this affected me the most, and it wasn’t until I got to a bad point that I realised something might need to change. I was working alongside being a student to a very intense 6th form, and began to suffer migraines leading to dizziness resulting in black outs. This left me no choice but to leave 6th form.

I then began a two year college course, that was more chilled, and my well-being was fine throughout. Then I came to university. University has been one of the most emotionally and physically challenging things I have yet had to go through, and being half way into my second year I believe it can only become more of a challenge.

I have continued to work while studying and my promotion to management means added stress, although I am now managing work time and social time a little more, but the massive work load seems to more so take over. Typically I am a student not knowing what to do after studying but one thing I do know is I will need a very long break to relax my mind and body and get my well-being to a place it needs to be.

Second year Sports Education & Psychology student – Female 20

If you have any concerns over yours or anyone else’s mental wellbeing, please visit www.ntu.ac.uk/wellbeing for more information.

Keep active at university

Keeping active has always been my way of maintaining my well-being, with football being the sport I play at least 3 times a week. I do also attend the gym now and then as well, but I feel football has always been the thing to keep my mind occupied and my body healthy.

When I started at university, staying active was a lot more difficult as I had to keep up with the heavy work load. As a result I didn’t get as much chance to enjoy my football. It didn’t take me long to figure out even with the mass amount of work and strain on my life, it is important to keep physically active.

It is very easy as a university student to fall into being lazy, but that doesn’t have a positive outcome on well-being. Now as a second year I play football with friends rather than as part of the sports team, and this means it is less of a strain on me, allowing me to keep it as a fun activity.

Second Year Sports Science Student – Male, 19

If you want to play sport, just for fun, then the NTU Play for Fun programme is just for you! Find out more here.

www.ntu.ac.uk/wellbeing.

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Find what works for you

So here goes…

In the past I was always a little naive about mental health due to a lack of know how. Then about 2 years ago I was struck with Anxiety. I say struck because it came out of the blue with no warning signs or triggers.

Initially I had a surge of panic and I felt very unsettled. During the day the intrusive thoughts started to creep in which started to bring me down. I had no idea what was happening and I suppose I felt both scared and confused.

I talked to my wife about it who was great but I suppose I wanted it to go away and I wanted to deal with it myself. I tried to talk to a couple of my friends but they had no idea what to say, which I found amusing, they just bought me a pint and changed the subject.

The best advice and support I got was from a friend who has depression. I’ve never been one for sitting on things and I knew it was not going to go away. So I made a plan and slowly I started to get better.

I’ve always been involved in sport and racing so I started training a little more. Being on top of a hill in the middle of the shire on my mountain bike helps clear my head and gives me focus. I started Yoga and meditation, Jedi training as I like to call it. I also started a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) self-help resource. I visited the doctors but they suggested the self-help stuff I was doing was enough and no medication was needed.

I can honestly say my biking makes a huge difference for me. I had a perfect excuse to buy a new bike as well… My anxiety was not a quick fix thing and it’s something I have to work at.

I suppose you have to find what works for you but having someone you can talk too is really important. I always say a good cuppa and chat can make all the difference.

Looking back now, even though it was not a nice experience at the time, it was a huge learning curve for me. But now I know it has broadened my ability to be able to deal with things much better and I feel a better person for it.

Cheers

Paul – NTU Student Health Development Officer

Follow Student services on Twitter.

Promote a positive club culture

One of the best things I get to experience in my role is how NTU sports clubs can offer such a great sense of belonging and support to their members. Indeed, for a lot of our students their main social group can be found on the pitch, in the pool or on the court.

With the introduction of social & wellbeing officers, mental health training and the NTUnity campaign, I have been actively pushing these issues up the sporting agenda, both institutionally and nationally in my role as BUCS student director.

Below I have listed some key tips to help you promote a positive culture within your clubs to support your members wellbeing:

1) Encourage supportive conversations about mental health

Mental health difficulties might not be immediately obvious, so be aware and take an interest in club members’ wellbeing – establishing a committee member responsible for members’ welfare, if you don’t already have one.
Set the standard for each other, listening
and responding to the needs of others to ensure they feel valued, whilst maintaining appropriate boundaries and understanding where to signpost if further support is needed.

2) Organise socials activities which are inclusive of all members

Social situations can sometimes be intimidating at university, especially for first year students, and can often make you feel pressured to comply with group behaviour. Whether students are experiencing mental health difficulties or not, social situations can feel daunting and isolating.
Social events often focus on alcohol, so instead try focusing on putting on alcohol-free social activities, using spaces in student union buildings or doing skill swaps with other clubs to give members the opportunity to meet new people and socialise in a safe environment. Indeed, some of the best social events I experienced as a student involved no alcohol at all, and can often open your club up to new members who otherwise wouldn’t have got involved.

3) Include members in the club experiencing injury periods

Missing training, competitions or fixtures through injury, demanding study or personal circumstances can often lead to a sad feeling of isolation. Keep members involved through social activities or coaching other teams to ensure they don’t lose their support network, and maintain a sense of purpose within your club through difficult times.

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4) Remove barriers to participation

Reducing these concerns by being transparent about membership costs, keeping social activities accessible and diverse, never turning someone away, offering a variety of training opportunities for different levels of abilities and sharing information about hardship funds and access schemes can reduce the extent to which students worry about not being able to join your club.

5) Plan a thorough and inclusive induction

Share plenty of information about your club online, through social media and at welcome meetings, including committee members’ details for ease of contact, the flexibility of students’ involvement and what someone should bring to the session. Make sure you introduce the appropriate individuals and explain how to contact them, providing information on what to expect as well as encourage existing members to talk to new members. These small steps can have such an impact on whether a student enjoys the club environment and come back again.

6) Prioritise the individual during intense competition periods and disappointment

The adrenaline-fuelled nature of competitive sport is thrilling for some students, but can be distressing to others, especially those experiencing mental health difficulties. Discuss expectations; encourage; do not blame and keep any criticism constructive. This goes for any trials or taster sessions and throughout the year. Following a period of high pressure and energy, or after missing out on a place on a team, students can feel lonely and without purpose. Focus on the wellbeing of club members and always offer alternatives opportunities for them to get involved in your club or other university sport and physical activity.

#ItsOkToTalk

For more information, please visit www.ntu.ac.uk/wellbeing

Matt Nicholson – VP Sport