Friday, September 30, 2011
After an intense workout session, it’s human nature to toss our damp, sweaty clothes into a gym bag and eventually take care of them when it’s time to do a load of laundry. However, the one vital step that most people don’t take care of is the bag that carries all the germs. Health magazine recently published an article that examined the perfect environment we are creating for bacteria to thrive in. Although we are doing a great thing for our bodies by being active, if we don’t properly take care of our workout gear, we may set back our workout regiment due to bacterial induced illnesses.
One major culprit of germy conditions is the gym bag. Personally, my gym bag carries my sneakers, pre and post workout clothes, headphones, and a water bottle. However, I rarely consider ever washing my bag. What really makes me cringe is that all of these things touch my body at some point during my workout. Whether it be my sweaty sneakers or to the absolute extreme of placing something in my ears or mouth, they both can lead to illnesses such as an irritating cold or a serious staph infection. Health Magazine recommends washing any sort of sport bag in very hot water or wiping it down with an anti-bacterial cloth every week. Also, in order to avoid placing sweaty workout clothes next to the nozzle of a water bottle or on top of our sneakers, try remembering to bring an extra bag to keep things separate.
Another serious piece to take care of is our water bottle. Anything with a nozzle that causes our hands to be placed onto it, is a recipe for disaster. Our hands inevitably get loaded with germs at the gym and by touching the mouth piece of our water bottle, we are transferring these germs right into our mouth. Health Magazine suggests pulling up on the nozzle with your teeth and washing the bottle in hot, soapy water after each use.
See what else the article has to offer by learning how to disinfect our yoga mats, shower shoes, and workout clothes. I guarantee you will be very surprised to see what intruders are living below the surface!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
As some of you hopefully know about already, Healthy UNH is running its third campus-wide Fall into Fitness Event for students, faculty and staff. For those of you who don’t know, you have only a few more days to sign up for this fitness competition. To participate in this competition is easy; form a team of 1-5 people and register yourself or your team by September 29 on the Healthy UNH website. Between October 3 and October 30, teams will keep track of their fitness minutes weekly and enter them into the website. Teams will compete against one another for prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in multiple categories. There are plenty of chances for your team to win! So, if you are an active person on campus, get a few of your friends together and sign up your team today!
There are plenty of places on campus to keep you active during the competition. The Hamel Recreation Center is open seven days a week, as well as the indoor pool at the field house. Fitness classes are offered throughout the week if you enjoy exercising in groups. Free Yoga is even offered for UNH students every Wednesday and Friday from noon-1:00 pm. Don’t just limit your physical activity to the hour or two you exercise a day, park your car in the further lot from your office or class, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or ride your bike to work, class, and the grocery store instead of driving. Good luck to all the teams as they Fall into Fitness this season!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Exams are fast approaching for many of us and because of that fact, we may not be getting to the gym as much as we would like to. Will missing a couple sessions at the gym hurt your overall health? Not a chance. However, why not help the body out during those long study sessions and instead of chowing down a bag of chips, or eating up a candy bar, have some fantastic tasting fruits!
The Choose My Plate website states that fruits are low calorie, low sodium and have no cholesterol, which makes them an awesome alternative snack option throughout the day. Here are some tips for making fruits a more prominent part of your day. Remember, the easier the action, the more likely it is become a habit.
- Convenience is Key (i.e. have them out on your desk or in your mini fridge)
- Make them Tasty (i.e. check the freshness & purchase fruits in season)
- Keep them Exciting (i.e. try new fruits, enjoy a variety of fruits, etc.)
For me, eating fruit that is in season is what makes all the difference. Being that it is fall, I am looking out especially for Grapes, Pears, Sugar Apples and Cranberries. Grapes and Cranberries are bite size so they can easily be popped into the mouth while typing away at the computer. Apples and Pears are easy to pack in your book bag and can be eaten with one hand while the other one holds the book being read.
Fruits my friends, they are nature’s candy!
Friday, September 23, 2011
Paying more than the price of a gallon of gas for a product that American’s could consume for free would be foolish, irrational, and uneconomical, right? Then why do we spend nearly $21 billion purchasing something that can be easily be acquired by flicking on your faucet? I’m talking about water. Author Charles Fishman writes in his book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, that Americans are spending "more on Poland Spring, FIJI Water, Evian, Aquafina and Dasani than we spent buying iPhones, iPods and all the music and apps we loaded on them". So what is the obsession with bottled water and is it really any better than the free stuff? Many would argue no, and by reverting to good, old tap water you may not only be saving yourself some money, but also may be saving your health.
Eat This Not That revealed that bottled water companies could be keeping secrets about their products to maintain consumers. What many Americans may not understand is that tap water is mandated to pass state, federal, and local guidelines for cleanliness and quality, where bottled waters are not upheld by the same strict standards. While you may in fact be drinking bottled tap water, it also may not be as pure as what you would get from your own faucet. What a scary idea, paying to drink tap water and the fact that these plastic containers could also be infecting your water with toxic chemicals!
Drinking straight from the tap can not only benefit your health, your bank account and the environment. Purchasing plastic bottles leaves you with less money in your pocket while also costing the nation money, as well as using previous resources to fuel the pumping of the liquid. Still don’t trust what is coming from your faucet? There are numerous home filtrations systems such as Brita and Pure that are worthy investments for clean water. Check out the National Resources Defense Council website for great information regarding water across the globe all the way to your hometown. You can also learn more about what UNH and the New England Water Treatment Technology Assistance Center is doing to keep our campus water safe, clean, and economically friendly! Also find the Hydration Station located nearest you on campus!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This fall, the University of New Hampshire will be participating in the event known as Food Day. This month long series of activities will work to increase awareness and action for more nutritious and sustainable foods. The event begins on the 21st of September, and ends on October 24th. For those of you who find it difficult to stay attached to a fixed diet, these events are certainly for you. Food Day representatives will provide plenty of healthy alternatives and guide you towards a healthier lifestyle. This is a great chance to understand where your food is coming from, and how to make food more sustainable in the future for all.
Attending at least one of these events will prove to be beneficial towards your health. Incorporating a healthy diet in with an active lifestyle will certainly help you maintain health and wellness. An example of an event being held is Farm Tour being held on September 27th, from 11 AM to 2 PM at Woodman Farm. There, you will learn more about the foundations and operations of organic gardening and harvesting. This tour would be a great opportunity for those students looking to broaden their knowledge nutrition.
While traveling to these different events, participants will have a “passport” which will be stamped at qualified Food Day Events. Participants must get up to 5 stamps to be eligible to enter a raffle for great prizes such as am iPad or a Zip Car membership!
UNH Passport to Food Citizenship and Food Day, can be the start to a new lifestyle, and a healthy one at that!
Please visit the Sustainability Academy to learn more about this series of events!
Monday, September 19, 2011
Everyone has felt that anxious feeling starting in the pit of our stomachs and ultimately convincing us that we simply do not have enough time. This reoccurring emotion has a name and it’s called stress. As defined by dictionary.com, stress is the pressure or tension exerted on a particular object. When your body becomes to feel stressed, it reacts by preparing either to “fight or flee” the situation. When this is activated, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released to focus attention on the task at hand.
Stress can have a severe impact on moods, work quality, and even relationships. It can also cause our bodies to shut down which is definitely not an ideal situation granted the fast-paced world that we live in. All of the negative consequences from stress have an influence on our energy levels. Some may feel completely overwhelmed at times and not have the energy to go to the gym or study as hard for an upcoming exam. However, an article published by Self magazine gives a plethora of foods that can help reduce stress levels. Sushi, rainbow trout, and salmon all contain “anxiety-fighting properties” such as magnesium. Oranges and milk have high levels of vitamin D and calcium which have been clinically proven to lower stress levels. One of the last foods that are examined is broccoli. Broccoli contains folic acid which has also been proven to not only reduce stress, but also decrease the feeling of “anxiety, panic, and depression.” Not only do all of these foods chemically reduce stress levels within our bodies, they also are great, healthy food choices. Double bonus!
Although nothing we eat or do will put an end to all the stress we experience in our life, choosing to eat the foods recommended above may allow us to take a deep breath and evaluate what exactly is stressing us out.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Healthcare costs have been climbing in the last decade, and there are many reasons why. In California, air pollution has notoriously been a silent spender. Air pollution in California has cost federal, state, and private health insurers roughly $193 million in hospital cost. Without quality air, the hospitals expenses are increasing, causing more out of pocket money from patients and insurers. The LA Times states that Medicare and MediCal, California’s Medicaid program, have paid more than two-thirds of the costs. We find that California is a good sample because of the population given. California is comprised of many heavily populated cities. Therefore, there will be much more transportation needs and requirements than a state such as New Hampshire. So, what does this mean for the citizens of California?
Air pollution is a major risk factor for disorders like asthma, pneumonia, and cardiovascular complications. According to the New York Times, air pollution led to almost 30,000 hospital admissions for these disorders from 2005 to 2007. In Los Angeles, and average emergency room visit can cost $4,389. The problem with this is that air pollution is a problem that can be avoided; whereas something like an accident cannot. Expenses can be avoided if smarter environmental decisions made, such as using more efficient cars. In other words, a decrease in air pollution will also decrease hospital visits. A decrease in hospital visits will eliminate expenses and put more ease on the patient and insurer.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The summer is over and school has finally started up again. For some this may be their last year and for others it may be their first. While we are all excited to be here on campus, we all recognize that we have quite busy schedules. We have to manage going to class, hanging out with the friends we haven’t seen all summer, doing school work and somehow still manage to get some sleep. For many, their days are so busy that they don’t even want to think about physical activity. Well my friends, I am here to tell you that physical activity is a must, and doesn’t even require that much time!
Circulation, the journal published by the American Heart Association states that if individuals were to do moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or participate in vigorous exercise for 20 minutes, 3 days a week, they will gain health benefits (i.e. reduce risk of chronic illnesses & lose weight).
“What is moderate or vigorous exercise” you ask? Well moderate exercise is as simple as taking a walk through college woods with a friend, leisurely cycling around campus or shooting hoops with a buddy. Vigorous exercise on the other hand would be playing a game of pick-up soccer, jogging with a friend, or competing in 2 vs. 2 tennis.
I for one love to exercise, because I switch it up and don’t do the same activity every day, and I exercise with friends. If you make exercising social and you make it exciting, eventually you will make it a habit.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I’m not ashamed to say that this weekend I found myself standing in front of my pantry looking for something to satisfy my snack craving when I spotted it, the bags of Lays Potato Chips. The golden yellow bag looked so tempting and delicious I told myself, “I’ll just have one”. Lets all be honest… who can have just one chip? Next thing I know, the bag is sitting next to me on the couch and I’m elbow deep. We’ve all done it. Face it, chips are addictive! In one ounce of Lays Potato chips, or in 15 chips, there are 160 calories! These clearly are a dangerous addiction.
I was recently reading TIME Magazine, and their feature health article was coincidentally “5 Healthier Alternatives to the Potato Chip”. I was amazed to learn that more people share this salty addiction than I thought, with Americans spending more than $7 billion a year on chips! Author Anita Hamilton suggested five alternative ways to the snack, which you can purchase or even prepare yourself! Her suggestions included apple chips, taro chips which are made from a root vegetable, sweet potato chips, kale chips and plantain chips.
As much as I love the salty, crunchy potato chip, I know just one handful is a difficult feat. So instead of humming the mantra “just one chip” each time I feel a craving, I am excited about trying some of Anita’s healthier options and finding a new favorite! Read her article to get recipes on how to make all the snacks in your own kitchen, or her top brand choices to buy on your next grocery trip.
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