Healthy UNH Blogger: Kim Mayo, All Entries

Skipping Class Actually Costs Money

Monday, February 4, 2013
By: Kim Mayo

As the temperature starts to drop, it seems that our immune system also goes down with it. Living in a dorm room, late nights in the library, and eating in the same locations is ideal for the germs also living at UNH. Getting sick often gives students the excuse to miss class. It is true that we are thinking about the other students in class and don’t want to get them sick, but have you ever thought about how much money you are losing?

What does money have to do with being sick? It has been estimated by a Los Angeles University that every class a student misses it costs about $85-120 out of pocket! Since you have already paid for tuition the money lost is only impacting you. Not only may you fall behind in coursework, but it may impact your overall grade. To avoid missing class and losing money, stay on top of your health! Be sure to wash your hands several times throughout the day, to cough or sneeze into your elbow, and getting enough sleep are some ways to keep your immune system strong. Another recommendation for immune health is to limit your alcohol intake. If you are feeling sick it might be better not to go out during the weekend to ensure that you start to feel better for the upcoming school week. Research done at Brown University found that alcoholic is actually toxic to immune cells, so if your immune system is already fighting off a cold don’t damage it further.

 

To find out more ways to help your immune system check out the Today Health Article 7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System. 

Don’t let being sick cost you more than you are already paying for school. The UNH Health Services is helping to fight against the flu season by offering FREE vaccinations to any student who has already paid their mandatory fees. For any student who has not paid these fees, the vaccination is $25. Whether you have to pay or not, it may be a great option to help avoid money loss for having to miss class.

The Seasonal Flu Clinic for students is offered on Wednesday, October 31 from 10:00am - 4:00pm and no appointment is needed. It is recommended that you anticipate a wait time of 20 minutes. The clinic will be put on in the Granite State Room at the MUB. If you cannot make the flu clinic and interested in getting the vaccine call (603) 862 - WELL. Click Seasonal Flu Clinic for more information or if you have any questions.

 

Tagged In: flu shots, flu vaccine, health costs, Healthy UNH, immune system, Kim Mayo, skipping class

The “Other Side” of The Gym

Friday, February 1, 2013
By: Kim Mayo

 

Right when you walk into the gym at the Rec Center it is clear that there is a gender divide. Typically the men are towards the right in the free weight and bench press area, while the women are towards the left with the aerobic equipment and assisted weight machines. Unfortunately, it seems out of the norm when an individual of the opposite gender crosses over into that other section. This subtle move takes a lot of confidence and should be applauded! 

When you go to the gym to improve your health and, it should only be  about you, no one else. Don’t worry about how you may look or if you think other gym-goers may be judging you. Think about how great you are going to feel and look after you have completed the work out. One way to feel more comfortable if you are new to the free weight area or just the gym in general, you should be aware of some proper gym etiquette.

What is gym etiquette? This includes sharing equipment in between sets. If someone is just sitting resting on a bench or assisted weight machine do not be afraid to ask if you can rotate in with them. This not only gives them a chance to rest, but it may also help you stay on track. Giving your muscles enough time to rest in between sets to helps prevent fatigue. The amount of time you should rest is typically around 60 seconds, but it should all be gauged on how you feel and how long the person you are working in with may be taking. Working in with another person can also be done with free weights by putting them down on the ground as a gesture that someone else may pick them up. There are a limited number of free weights that are the same weight so it is helpful to share.

The only piece of equipment that it is not advised to rotate in with others is a barbell that is stacked with weights that are personalized for you. Be sure you remove the added weights from the barbell after you have completed your workout to prevent anyone from potentially getting hurt. When removing weight it is important to put it back where you found it because it cannot be assumed that everyone can lift the same amount of weight that you can. If you decide to leave dumbbells on the floor between sets, it is safest to crisscross them to prevent them from moving.

Other tips include wiping down the equipment after you have used it, especially if you tend to sweat a lot, and making a note not the hog the water fountain. For other tips and tricks check out Mastering Gym Etiquette for Dummies and FitSugar.

 

 

Tagged In: gym, gym etiquette, Health, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Physical Exercise, UNH rec center

Hot Chocolate for the Soul

Friday, January 18, 2013
By: Kim Mayo

After getting home from class or work on a dark, chilly night why not warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate? Hot chocolate can be a great treat to curb any sweet cravings plus you can add your own personal twist to it.

The typical “instant” mixes can contain corn syrup, hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, artificial flavorings, and many more ingredients that our grandparents have never heard of! The amount of these ingredients and others depends on the type of mix. Some companies, such as Swiss Miss have a line called Sensible Sweets that include diet and sugar free instant mixes. These are in fact sensible alternatives and good options for a late night snack.

If you are interested in getting away from the packaged hot chocolate try a basic recipe suggested by SELF Healthier Hot Chocolate: 

  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar (or less! It is up to you)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or more if you like it chocolaty)
  • A pinch of salt

Combine all these ingredients and keep them in an air-tight container. Next time you crave hot chocolate boil some water, add ¼ cup of mix into a mug, pour the water in, stir, and enjoy!

Some alternatives include…

  • Using warm milk instead of boiled water to make a creamier beverage
  • To make it dairy-free remove the powdered milk and use almond or soy milk and blend together with the chocolaty mix
  • Feel free to use sweetened cocoa powder if you like a drink that is chocolate rich!
  • To cut back on the sugar, a more natural low calorie sweetener can be used such as True-via or other Stevia-based products

Kick up the flavor by…

  • Adding a splash of vanilla extract to enhance the chocolaty goodness!
  • Cinnamon can be added to the original mix to give a different flavor
  • Spice things up a bit by adding 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper! This may help fight any inflammation in the body

Try this recipe and feel free to continue looking up ways to add more spunk to a favorite winter drink!

Tagged In: corn syrup, healthier hot chocolate, Healthy UNH, Hot Chocolate, hydrogenated, Kim Mayo, Nutrition

Don’t Burn Your Money By Tanning

Monday, January 14, 2013
By: Kim Mayo

It is typically right around now when we look into the mirror and ask, “Who is that pale person staring back at me?”  In Durham there are several locations that offer tanning and promote specials that claim to save you money, but will you really be saving money in the long run?

Dr. Harley Haynes, vice chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a Harvard Medical School professor stated, "There is no evidence at all that you can use UV radiation to cause tanning without increasing the risk of cancer." Having a nice bronze tint makes people feel healthy and good about themselves, but it is not necessarily the safest option. Each person has a different chance of getting cancer because it is based off genetics and the environment the person is subjected to. As a young adult we can acknowledge the fact that we are no longer invincible and our actions now may have an impact on us someday down the road. 

On June 28, 2012 the Obamacare “Tanning Tax” was officially put into place in hopes to discourage Americans from using indoor tanning facilities due to health risks. Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer, along with the deadliest. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, when people begin tanning before the age of 35 there is a 75% increase of cancer risks. Although the tax has been implemented, many tanning salon owners have reported that their clients continue to return and that their businesses are doing perfectly fine. Although the tax is only an additional 10% onto their bronzing bill, Congress expected to collect more money for their efforts.  

Try getting your fix of sun in a different way. Long New England winters can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which has symptoms similar to depression such as: increased sleep, social withdrawal, sluggish movements, inability to concentrate, and increased appetite. If you have had SAD symptoms in the past or want to ensure you avoid feeling this way UNH Health Services offers Light Therapy. Click here to learn more about SAD and Light Therapy Prevention at UNH.

Tagged In: health costs, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Light Therapy, melanoma, Seasonal Affective Disorder, skin cancer, tanning, Tanning Tax, UV radiation

It’s Snow Much Fun!

Monday, December 17, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

With the warm weather and colorful leaves starting to dwindle it can only mean one thing…winter is coming! Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm about freezing temperatures, but when snow finally comes new outdoors activities are possible! Skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, and snowshoeing are just a couple. UNH is in a perfect location for winter sports because Durham is only 1 hour – 1.5 hours away to the closest ski mountain! College Woods and other UNH affiliated land, such as Kingman Farm, are great places to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skiing is a low-impact total body activity, as well as, the ultimate cardio workout. Simultaneously having to push and pull muscles of all regions provides benefits that other aerobic exercise can’t. The UNH Ski & Board club provides transportation to Sunday River and Loon Mountain on designated Saturdays from January through early March. Join the club by signing up at the front desk of the Hamel Rec Center. Be sure to provide: your UNH ID, proof of medical insurance, complete health history form (available at desk), and a signed Code of Conduct form (available at desk). Members must pay $50 for the year. Don’t have your own equipment?  Rentals are available at the Rec Center!

Ski passes for New England can be purchased for a variety of mountains. For the past several years, I have bought the pass to Sunday River, Loon, and Sugarloaf! All 3 of these mountains are fantastic for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. They all receive a good amount of snow throughout the season; fingers crossed we will get more snow this winter than last winter! Find a friend who can teach you and head north!

Tagged In: cold, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Outdoor activity, Physical Exercise, skiing, UNH Ski & Board club

Protein Problems?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

Ever since the term “pink slime” was brought to our attention meat is seemingly less appealing. Red meat in particular over chicken or other poultry. Personally I don’t consider myself to be a vegetarian, but if I am offered a veggie burger or a hamburger I will always chose the non-meat option. Since I do not eat much meat I need to make sure that I am getting protein from other sources! 

What are other good sources of protein? Eggs, nuts, and dairy are just a couple! Seeds and nuts are the easiest to eat on the go and are perfect for a snack option. Yes, this includes peanut butter as well. Try to limit the amount of protein you consume through seeds and nut butters because they are often high in fat. Although these fats are considered to be healthy, it is smart to eat them in moderation. 

Dairy products, yogurt and cottage cheese especially, are high in protein. Chobani Greek Yogurt has a variety of flavors and packs 14-15g of protein into each serving! There are both non-fat and low-fat options. Cottage cheese can be made into a delicious protein-packed treat by adding fruit to it or even putting in on top of a salad. Pineapple with cottage cheese is filling and can help curb your craving for something sweet. 

An expert quoted in the Men’s Health article 8 Foods That Pack On Muscle stated, “Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources to achieve the same muscle-building benefits." One egg has about 6 grams of protein! Another perk to eating eggs is the Vitamin B12, which is very important for fat breakdown and muscle contractions. Vegetarians and vegans need to make sure they are consuming enough Vitamin B12 because this deficiency overtime can have irreversible effects. To find out more about this essential vitamin check out: The Vegan Society.

Log onto http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/highproteinfood.htm
to find a list of high protein foods and how many grams of protein there are in a serving!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, pink slime, protein, vegetarian

Staying Calm After Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

New Hampshire was extremely fortunate not to receive the full force of Hurricane Sandy; however, students here come from all over the country. If you happen to be from one of the hard hit areas, such as New Jersey or New York, do not hesitate to talk to a friend or a support system about it. Keeping one’s mental health as high as possible during a time of devastation can be very difficult, but reaching out to a friend or to family members back home can help your emotions stay elevated. Although you may not have been directly affected since you are away from home, take the opportunity to be someone’s support system that has to deal with wreckage.

According to Simon Rego, director, of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, "Sandy, like all natural disasters, is considered a criterion 'A1' stressor in the diagnoses of Acute Stress Disorder in the first month after the event and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), at least a month after the event."

Acute Stress Disorder can result in an individual losing emotional responsiveness and/or may have difficulty concentrating. To learn more about this disorder click out this article on PsychCentral. If you have noticed a friend displaying some of these symptoms try to talk to them about it if you feel comfortable or suggest that they get professional help. Not only is the stress of the storm detrimental to some students on campus, but this is also the time of the semester where work starts to pick up again.

It is possible to be distressed by this situation even if you didn’t experience the storm personally, but seeing images and hearing victims’ stories can be disturbing. It is important to make note that storms like Hurricane Sandy are rare and that not every storm will produce the same upset. To help distract yourself, try to get back into a regular schedule and do your best to stay busy. If you are away from home try to remain available to your family and see if there is anything you can do from a distance.

There are lots of places on campus you can seek help.  The Counseling Center, Health Services, your RA or Hall Director are good places to start!

The UNH community is very supporting and would love to reach out a helping hand to anyone who needs it. During this time of recovery be sure to take care of your own mental and physical wellbeing. Yoga, meditation and other relaxation methods may be very beneficial!

Tagged In: disasters, Healthy UNH, hurricane, Kim Mayo, Mental Health, phychology, staying calm, Stress

How to Handle a Disappointing Grade

Monday, November 5, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

Now that we are officially a month into the semester, the first wave of exams has come and gone. Having more than one test in a week is tough, especially when it comes to managing your time.  Getting a low or failing grade on a test is not the end of your college career, but it should be used as motivation to do better the next time around. As a student one can blame a bad exam grade on the teacher, any distractions, that one class you missed, or just overall bad timing. Little things in life pop up and make us rethink our priorities, such as going out on Thursday night when you have a paper due the next day or deciding to hang out with friends instead of going to the library to study. These interruptions happen on a daily basis, so it is your job as a student to “plan your studying”.

In the scenario where you receive a lower grade than you had hoped for or expected, it can be very discouraging. Some tips for dealing with this disappointment are:

  • Not to linger on it or impact your other work
  • Go out and do something active
  • Make an appointment with your professor
  • Find a friend or a tutor to help you understand the material
  • Carefully review the exam to see what you can do differently next time 

Keep in mind that you are not the only student to struggle with courses or to perform poorly on an exam. Check out Student Success Strategies to see how other college students learned from receiving an unsatisfactory mark. Reading real experiences that other students have dealt with sometimes helps to make one feel better about their own situation.

From the prospective of a professor, there are actually ways that students can thrive off a bad grade and how it can help them the next time. U.S. News article “3 Tips to Overcome a Bad Grade in College” is a great resource to better understand how a professor would approach the situation. Accusing the instructor of intentionally giving you a bad grade is NEVER the right way to handle a situation; however, asking the instructor to further explain why you received such a grade is a more beneficial method. 

Don’t let one exam change your outlook on a specific class or college in general. We are at UNH to learn, grow, and to learn personal responsibility. Now is a great time to figure out when your next exam is and to come up with a strategy on how you want to study differently than before!

Tagged In: dealing with disappointment, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, low grades, Mental Health, positive thinking

SPIN Working Alongside Women’s Ice Hockey Team

Monday, October 22, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

The peer education group SPIN (Students Promoting Information on Nutrition) has started working with the Women’s Ice Hockey Team to help improve their knowledge on nutrition. This is the first program of its kind where nutrition students are educating their student peer athletes! They hope to continue working with other sport teams in the future, as of now, the women’s gymnastics team has also showed an interest. The peer educators’ goals are to debunk common health myths and to teach the team how to eat in order to reach peak performance.

The SPIN students involved in this program are very interested in sports nutrition and aspire to make it part of their career. At the first session, the team was given chocolate milk and trail mix as an example of a healthy snack. It was explained that chocolate is a great recovery food, such as after practice or a game, because it has the perfect 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Ice hockey is all about quick bursts of energy and sprinting, as opposed to a long distance race, so carbohydrates are the players’ main source of fuel. A typical college student’s diet should be 45-55% carbohydrates, 10-20% proteins, and 10-20% fats. In contrast, the diet of an athlete should consist 50-60% carbohydrates, 10-20% protein, and 20-30% fat! Carbs, carbs, carbs! This may come as a shock to athletes, women in particular, because our society tends to believe that carbohydrates are the source of weight problems. The amount of fats that an athlete should consume is also elevated which may come as a surprise, but it is important to eat the healthy fats and not those from fried foods.

The students received questions ranging from- if dairy caused weight gain, to what frozen foods were the best options. The peer educators look forward to their next meeting with the team where they plan on addressing gluten-free diets, vegetarianism, and smart ways to eat dairy.

For more information about sports nutrition check out AthletesAcceleration.com. This link is also great to look at to learn what you should eat before and after a gym workout! Your diet can really have an impact on your exercise because your food is what fuels you throughout your workout!

Every Monday night from 6-8pm SPIN hosts a table in the Hamel Rec.  Center entrance, promoting a health snack or tip. Some of their upcoming tables include topics such as Folate, Vitamin C, and Fiber. Free snacks are provided during each table!

Click here to learn more about SPIN. 

Every major is welcome to join the organization; however, no more applications are being accepted for the Fall 2012 semester. New applications will be reviewed for the Spring semester!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Nutrition, SPIN, Women's Hockey team

The Nutrition Behind Whiter Teeth

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

There are so many advertisements today about how to get brighter, whiter teeth, and who doesn’t want perfect pearly whites? From Crest 3D White mouthwash to the generic brands of whitening strips, the amount of money made off theses products is overwhelming. For 20 treatments of Crest 3D White Professional Effects white strips, it costs approximately $54! As a college student it may be difficult to find the extra money to get your teeth brighter, but luckily there are ways to prevent your teeth from stains and other erosion that may occur in your mouth!

According to Tips for Sparkling White Teeth, the darker the food or beverage the greater staining potential it has on your teeth. Black coffee is one of the biggest offenders, but when a splash milk is added to help lighten the color, less harm may be done. Coffee’s partner in crime is balsamic vinegar because of its extremely dark pigmentation; however, there is another quick fix! Items such as lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens help to create a protective barrier over your teeth. On a similar note, when eating tomato sauce try to combat the acidity with eating a salad before to create the natural barrier.

Eating food that you have to bite into, such as apples and carrots, are great for your chomps because they act as detergents and naturally clean them. The biting, crunching, and chewing allow these foods to brush up against your teeth and work their magic! Acid gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to teeth because we are told that it wears away at our tooth enamel, but it does have oral friendly benefits as well. The acid from the fruit aids in killing some of the plaque residing on your teeth, as well as, increasing saliva production. 

As for alcohol, red wine in particular, after drinking a glass it is better to swish water around in your mouth instead of brushing. Why you ask? The acid from the wine wears away at the tooth enamel, eventually revealing the yellow underneath and opening up the pores in your teeth. By brushing, it is possible to allow the pigmentation in and further damage the enamel, so swish away! 

For more foods to naturally enhance your smile or just for more information check out 7 Tips for Whiter Teeth and Food for White Teeth. Remember that eating smart is definitely something to smile about!

Tagged In: dental, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Nutrition, whiter teeth

Emergency Care Breaking Your Bank?

Friday, September 28, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

When a hectic and health threatening situation arises, the first thought that comes to mind is dialing 911, but when do we think about the cost of that necessary ambulance ride? You would never want to put a price on someone’s life; however, the emergency room can actually charge a pretty penny for simple procedures. In college, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and luckily a majority of us students have health insurance either through the university or parents. On average, a trip to the Emergency Room for respiratory issues or digestive discomfort may cost anywhere from $300-$1,000 claimed by Wellmark Insurance1! The cost of what you actually pay depends on your insurance coverage, the hospital you are treated at, and what procedures are done. Most of the time with health coverage, we only have to pay $20-30 out of our own pocket if the visit is for something minor. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place that was less expensive than the Emergency Room? 

Over the past several years Urgent Care Centers have been on the rise when it comes to immediate care. The American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine defines urgent care medicine as outpatient aid for those in need of immediate treatment or suffer from acute to minor injuries and illness. These centers are a great alternative when your primary care physician is away, the doctor’s office is closed, and when you don’t want to deal with the emergency room wait. Since health professionals who work at these centers are on the “front lines” of the diagnosis, they have a wide knowledge of all several medical fields and are sometimes referred to as a “doc in a box” according to Health magazine. Urgent care centers typically cost 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of an emergency room visit, Dr. Ritucci expressed to Health magazine in Saving on Care: Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care Facilities. One more positive aspect of urgent care is that the centers accept a range of insurances and discounts may be offered!

You can find an Urgent Care Center around you by checking out HealthCare.com. There you can specify the state and town you are trying to locate an urgent care facility near! In Durham there are several hospitals and urgent care centers in the surrounding towns that are available to everyone. If you ever need to make the decision to go to an Urgent Care Center over the ER make sure that the patient is not in a life threatening condition. From now on don’t let a broken bone cause you to break your bank!

Tagged In: emergency room, Health care costs, Healthy UNH, healthycare.com, Kim Mayo, urgent care facilities

“Acing” Fitness

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

Whenever I drive through campus, those bright green tennis courts always seem to catch my eye.  There are 12 courts in total and 6 are always reserved for UNH students at anytime, while the other 6 are available to be rented out by the public if they would like. The best part about tennis is that you only need one other person and only minimal equipment is required! Tennis rackets can be as inexpensive as $25 and a package of 3 balls is no more than $5. The sport is fairly easy to pick up and it is a blast to play!

Tennis is a lifelong sport because it is low impact and it can be as fast paced or relaxed, as the players would like it to be. There are a variety of health benefits that are achieved from playing tennis. The frequent sprinting and speed changes help to kick-start your heart and keep your cardiovascular system in check. This sport requires a considerable amount of brainpower because it is all about strategy and ball placement. Since tennis requires creativity and muscle repetition, stronger and even new brain neurons may be created! When we repeat a motion over and over, our brain becomes more in tune with the rest of the body. The neural connections associated with the repeated action, such as the forehand or backhand swing, help the action become stronger. So practice really does make perfect! Such connections can even improve one’s memory, learning, and social skills! To learn about more health benefits to playing tennis check out Discovery Fit & Health.

Never played tennis before? Click on this link to find out anything from how to pick out a racket to steps on how to serve: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Play-Tennis/?ALLSTEPS

To get an in depth explanation of all the rules read the International Tennis Federation handbook.  YouTube is also a great resource for tutorials on how to hit a backhand or a slice. 

Try to get out there this fall and enjoy an afternoon on the UNH tennis courts!
The Tennis Team will be hosting a clinic this Friday, September 28, from 4-6pm open to parents and students!

Tagged In: Brain Neurons, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, Tennis

UNH Health Services Now Offering Guided Meditation

Monday, September 10, 2012
By: Kim Mayo

Many students only think about going to the Health Services when they are sick enough to miss class, myself included, but this year Health Services wants to really promote personal well-being. The other day, the Director of Education & Promotion, Kathleen Grace-Bishop, came to speak to a student group that I am involved in. She spoke about what Health Services has to offer, and I was completely blown away. She emphasized that they have recently hired two new massage therapists to keep up with the student demand, and now individual meditation lessons are offered. I was aware that massages were given at Health Services, but the concept of guided meditation really made me think. What exactly is meditation?

This once fad has now been proven to have numerous health benefits for all ages.

Meditation helps to clear the mind and allows you to become in tune with yourself and your surroundings. An article from the NY Times How Mediation May Change The Brain explains how specific areas related to memory, anxiety, learning, and stress are triggered during this period of silence. No evidence exists stating any negative results from meditation, so it is worth a shot!

The beginning of each semester is very hectic when it comes to moving in, reorganizing, and getting your mind back into “school mode”, so what better way to calm down than with meditation? Individual appointments can be made by calling (603) 862-3823 and starting September 10, guided meditation will be hosted in MUB, Room 304 from 12-1pm. For more information about this topic check out the page on the Healthy Services website!

Tagged In: anxiety, brain, calm, Health Services, Healthy UNH, Kim Mayo, massage, Meditation, Stress