Monday, February 28, 2011
Are you tired of being cooped up inside all winter long? Do you needing some activity to take part in outside of your local gym? Well do something about it! There are a variety of winter activities right outside your doorstep that are extremely affordable and extremely fun. The best part - you can burn calories while doing so!
Ice skating is a wonderful winter activity that takes balance, persistence, and patience. The best part about ice skating is that you can do it as leisurely or as intense as you would like. Calorielab.com has an online tool to help you calculator the number of calories burned while participating in a particular activity. For a 150 pound person, ice skating burns approximately 408 calories per hour. Once you get good you could even try skating over 9 mph or speed skating, which burns approximately 544 and 952 calories per hour, respectively.
Skiing is one of the most popular winter sports and is a great workout. Cross-country skiing burns approximately 476 calories per hour for a 150 pound person and downhill skiing burns approximately 408 calories per hour. Cross-country skiing at a faster pace or uphill can burn even more calories per hours, upwards of more than 1,000.
One greatly underrated winter activity is snowshoeing. Throughout the past few years I have really taken an interest in snowshoeing as it is a great workout and is quite relaxing. Similarly to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing burns approximately 476 calories per hour. Of course you can always increase the workout by climbing up hills and trying to run in the snow.
Finally, who would have thought that sledding and snowmobiling could be a workout? On average, sledding burns as many calories as downhill skiing at 408 calories per hour. 170 calories are burned per hour while snowmobiling.
The next time you’re bored inside when there’s a field of glistening snow outside – GET OUT THERE! Whether it’s sledding and snowshoeing or just having a simple snowball fight, the fresh air will make you feel free and the workout is definitely worth the time.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sceery
Often times when consumers think about counting calories or evaluating nutritious choices, beverages are not the first thing that comes to mind. However, in a recent press release, the American Beverage Association announced that the new Clear Calorie Initiative could be found in stores across the nation. The association announced that as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, beverage companies will now display calorie labels on the front of non-alcoholic beverages (as opposed to the traditional label on the back).
Well- known companies such as Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Honest Tea are all taking part in the initiative to provide consumers the ability to make informed nutritious choices easier. This new concept is a big step in moving toward reducing obesity and helping consumers to make smarter decisions. By providing easier access to information on beverage labels it may help consumers to compare beverages and choose a healthier option that they may not have otherwise. In addition, the press release also highlighted that not only would calories be distributed on labels, but also present in vending machines and fountain drinks. Interestingly, these two areas could have a major impact on forcing people to make informed decisions. Typically when choosing drinks form either a vending machine or fountain machine, caloric information may not be known (or a concern for that matter). However, if the numbers are there and the information is there…it sometimes makes choosing the unhealthy option a little harder.
Although this initiative appears to be a step in the right direction, it is also important not to forget about other nutrition facts or ingredients of beverages. Calories are certainly not the only factor in determining nutritious choices; don’t forget to consider factors such as sugars, fat content, and sodium.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
We all have different techniques we use to relieve stress in our lives - working out, deep breathing, yoga…but I doubt many of you have heard of Reiki. This increasingly popular stress reduction technique is a Japanese practice that means “spiritually guided life force energy.” The idea behind the method is that there is an unseen energy that flows through our bodies. Low energy causes one to get sick or have a higher stress level where as a high energy allows one to live a happy, relaxed life. Reiki is a natural healing process that promotes peace and harmony within the mind and body.
A Reiki session is simple. A certified Reiki master performs this technique by playing their hands on certain energy points on your body - head, shoulders, hips, knees, feet…in an effort to extract the low energy from your body. This peaceful and relaxing session should leave you feeling calm and cleansed. By transforming the negative energy in your body into positive energy, your body’s internal harmony can flow freely. Reiki has been used to treat a variety of maladies and illnesses ranging from stress to a headache to cancer.
Anyone can be trained as a Reiki practitioner and as it is becoming more and more popular, sessions are being offered more. UNH Health Services offers a free Reiki session. I also recommend looking at the site for The International Center for Reiki Training for more information on Reiki, how it works, benefits, links and articles. The site also has a locator for Reiki practitioners in your area!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Established in the UNH community in the spring of 2010, Active Minds is a relatively new student-run group on campus that aims to remove the social stigma that surrounds mental issues on campuses throughout North America. The goal of Active Minds is to provide information and resources to students regarding mental health issues in order to increase awareness and gain support. In discussing the occurrence and characteristics of mental illnesses, Active Minds hopes to encourage students to seek help as soon as needed and to create an open, comfortable environment for conversation about mental health issues on campuses.
Though Active Minds is not currently being funded by the University, they have been working closely with Healthy UNH to plan activities for the current spring 2011 semester. The organization plans to tackle the most common mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, first, and then move on to rare illnesses in the future. With the support of students, Active Minds hopes to expand their organization throughout campus, receive funding from the University to plan events, and eventually stop the stigma associated with mental illnesses on campus.
For more information on Active Minds at a national level, please visit their website. Any questions, concerns, or comments involving Active Minds at UNH can be directed to the President of Active Minds, Janet Mesh, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 18, 2011
It’s common for physically active individuals to hop off the treadmill right after a run or jump on a bike as soon as they get to the gym, especially these days when finding a machine at the UNH gym is like finding gold. However, in doing so, an essential part of your work out is lost. Many times, people tend to forget how important a warm-up (and cool-down) is for an effective and safe workout.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 5-10 minutes of both a warm-up pre-workout, and some form of a cool-down post-workout. This warm-up is especially important in this cold winter weather. Exercising outside in the cold air can make your body take a long time to adjust to the temperature. In order to prevent injury, it is important to warm up the muscles before beginning your core workout. Exercising inside is similar where you’re coming from outside - your muscles are likely to be tight. In order to prevent injury, warm up your muscles, and prepare your body, you should include a light to moderate activity prior to exercising. The optimal warm up includes two components: 1) a form of cardiovascular activity such as walking or jogging, and 2) a form of stretching. Stretching before a workout to improve performance is a controversial topic, but light stretches are beneficial to reducing the risk of injury. In general, a light form of cardio and stretching is a good way to warm up your body before getting into your core workout. So next time you start your exercises, don’t forget to warm your body up first!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I thought that since it is the month of chocolate’s most popular holiday, Valentine’s Day, it would be fitting to give you all some comfort and encouragement about just how delectible, rich, and even healthy the candy can be! So before you’re kicking yourself over indulging in the luscious treat, relax, and pop another chocolate into your mouth or even use it to cook a delicious meal for you and a loved one!
I came across the article, Go Cocoa Loco, in the most recent issue of Women’s Health Magazine, where I read that chocolate can actually be good for you! Scientists have found that the cocoa bean, which is actually a fruit, has been found to have a variety of benefits. As some of you may or may not know, chocolate is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet and has more flavonols than berries and tea. Antioxidants and flavonols are important to your health because they rid the body of excess free radicals which have been linked to cancer, aging, and a number of other diseases. Along with diminishing radical levels, the article indicates that “studies have connected cocoa to lower blood pressure and decreased risk of heart attack and stroke” due to its ability to increase blood flow. The article also reports that the increased blood flow to your brain helps with memory and learning. The antioxidants in cocoa benefit your immune system and aid in the muscle recovery after a tough workout. Ever been seriously craving a chocolate fix after a tough day at work or before a stressful test? Grab a piece because studies have also shown that cocoa can improve your mood due to the serotonin raising stimulants theobromine, and phenylthyamine.
As long as you are eating chocolate with at least 50 percent cocoa you will have access to the bountiful benefits. The higher the cocoa percentage that chocolate has the more antioxidants it has. But, the bitterness of higher cocoa chocolates may not be for everyone. Experiment with pairing chocolate with a variety of foods ranging from fruit to cakes to chicken! Check out a few of the recipes included in the article, including chocolate fruit bark and poached chicken with chocolate mole! Ask for chocolate for Valentine’s Day and enjoy every last bite of it!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Unfortunately, that nice, long five-week break is over for college students. Gone (for the next four months) are the days of sleeping for as long as you wanted, going to the gym for as long as you wanted, and not having any lingering class projects hanging over your head. Returning to school and resuming classes after a long break can bring up mixed emotions. According to Reachout.com, several common feelings associated with this change include stress or anxiousness (especially about new classes), feelings of excitement to see friends, feeling sad or down because break is over, and pressure about school and course loads.
No matter what the feelings are, as college students, we don’t have a choice but to return to beloved McConnell, Kingsbury, Ham-Smith, or even Gregg Hall. Yet there are things you can do in order to decrease your stress levels and increase your mental health. Try some of the tips below to keep your mind healthy and help you start of the semester and the New Year right:
- Exercise and eat well!
- Set semester goals - they can be academic goals you’d like to achieve or even separate personal goals.
- Get involved in activities (other than academics) that interest you …but remember time management!
- Break the ice in class - Don’t be afraid to take a coffee break of set up study groups with new classmates.
- Have something to look forward to - this will help ease the idea of all the school work and keep you motivated. It can be something as big as spring break or as small as a dinner date with your roommates!
For more helpful tips on a variety of stressful situations and arising problems for college students, check out these articles on the Ecampustours website for topics such as roommate issues, budgeting, and study habits.
Monday, February 14, 2011
SHARPP is the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program at UNH that provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Within the UNH community, SHARPP provides emotional support, academic interventions, advocacy, crisis intervention, medical and legal accompaniment, and resources and referrals to those in need. Most importantly, SHARPP is available to all UNH students regardless of age, gender, race, religious or political affiliation, health status, socioeconomic status, national origin, and physical, mental, or emotional ability.
Once a month, SHARPP holds a “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” in the MUB that focuses on friends of victims and survivors of sexual and relationship violence. More often than not, when an individual is being abused, they tell a friend. This often puts the friend into a hard position determining what advice they should give the person being abused, who they should tell, and how they can protect both their friend and themselves. The “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” is used to educate these “friends” about how to deal with the situation. Discussions with trained facilitators and other students will help the individuals learn specific ways they can support their friends while also caring for themselves.
The next three “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” are on February 15th from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in MUB room 233, March 22nd, and April 26th. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dawn Zitney via email at email@example.com or by phone at (603) 862-1901. If you cannot attend a meeting and would like to meet with someone individually, please call the SHARPP office at (603) 862-3494 or SHARPP’s 24/7 helpline at (603)862-7266.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
In a perfect world, losing weight would be as easy as snapping your fingers...eat right, hit the gym a few days and you’ve reached your ideal weight loss goal. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and sometimes it seems no that matter how many cookies we pass up in favor of carrots, and how many hours we log at the gym, the scale won’t budge! Weight loss professionals are claiming there is a solution - high intensity interval training has been shown to help those who have reached a plateau and need an extra push to reach their goal.
How can periods of sprinting and rest really help you shed fat and lose weight more than a workout that consists of running the entire time? Incorporating high intensity intervals into your workout requires your body to increase fat oxidation to fuel your body. According to a study reviewed by Livestrong.com, “eight healthy weight women who engaged in 10 four-minute bursts on a stationary bicycle followed by two-minute rest periods” had a 36% increase in fat oxidation.
The Men’s Health article titled “All About Intervals” explains effectively just how helpful interval training can be. Aside from the physiological reasoning behind high intensity intervals, incorporating sprints into your workout fuels your metabolism more than walking or running at a regular pace. This helps keep your body burning calories for hours after a workout. Your body will have more recovering to do after the frequent contraction of muscles and depletion of energy that you will be burning more fat post-workout. Aside from helping you shed pounds, intervals have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and increase your oxygen capacity.
Professionals agree that you should not rush into intervals but start slow if you are not as active in order to avoid injury. Intervals can be incorporated into a workout whether it is running, cycling, swimming, or something else. Start slow by walking for a few minutes to warm up. Next, pick up the pace to where you are struggling or would not be able to hold a conversation during your exercise - this might be a full sprint for the super fit or even a jog for those who are beginners. This period of high intensity should last 1-2 minutes and then slow back down to a walk for about two minutes until you have caught your breath. Repeat this sequence 5-10 times and hopefully you will see weight loss just as fast your sprints!
Monday, February 7, 2011
Face it - we’ve all been walking through the mall when we stumble upon the food court. The sweet aroma of pizza, Chinese food, and cinnamon buns is almost intoxicating. But how on earth are you supposed to fit into the skinny jeans you just bought if you’re filling your body with such high-fat, calorie-dense foods? Nicole DeCoursy recently published an article that outlined the 10 healthiest foods you can find at the mall food court. The foods are as follows:
- Asian Grilled Salmon on Brown Rice from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
- The brown rice is high in fiber and the salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids.
- Moroccan Chicken Salad from California Pizza Kitchen
- The colorful salad provides a wide variety of antioxidants in addition to protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
- Chicken on Flatbread with Hummus Artisan Snack Plate from Starbucks
- This quick, on-the-go snack is colorful, high in protein, and low in calories.
- Roasted Eggplant, Spinach, and Feta Multigrain Pizza from UNO Chicago Grill
- This entire pizza (which actually serves three) is colorful and full of whole-wheat flour.
- Mayan Chicken Harvest Rice Bowl with Brown Rice from Au Bon Pain
- The brown rice is high in fiber and the chicken provides lean protein.
- Broccoli Beef with White Rice from Panda Express
- Though Panda Express does not offer a white rice alternative such as brown rice, this dish is low in sodium for most Chinese dishes and had a large portion of broccoli.
- 6-Inch Veggie Delite with Swiss from Subway
- This sandwich is satisfying and low in calories. Don’t feel bad adding cheese or light mayonnaise to balance off the array of vegetables.
- Asian Sesame Chicken Salad from Panera Bread
- This salad is high in protein due to the chicken, almonds, and sesame seeds. The downside to the salad is that there are no other vegetables other than lettuce and the reduced-sugar dressing contains high-fructose corn syrup.
- Snack Size Fruit and Walnut Salad from McDonald’s
- Reach for the snack size fruit and walnut salad when you’re hungry, but not quite hungry enough for a whole meal. The yogurt is low in fat and sweet to the taste.
- Soft Serve Chocolate Frozen Yogurt from TCBY
- Craving something sweet? This chocolate frozen yogurt is rich in calcium, low in calories, and contains healthy bacteria to help with digestion.
It is important to remember that many of these foods contain more than one serving. Be sure to ask each restaurant if you can look at their nutritional facts to see exactly what you’re getting. The Asian Grilled Salmon on Brown Rice from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, for instance, is enough for two, and the pizza from UNOs is enough for three. Don’t hesitate to share your meal with your shopping buddy to save on calories and on cash!
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