January 2011

Do You Need an Advocate?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Author: 
Erica Cross
Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Graur Codrin

Everyone deserves a voice. The Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, SHARPP, is open to anyone in the UNH community (students, faculty, and staff) to help you find your voice. Going through domestic or sexual violence is terrifying.  SHARRP’s advocates work with you to connect you to the right resources to help you get back on your feet.

The SHARPP program is located in Verrette House, across the street from Stoke Hall. It is open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. During these hours, staff members and trained advocates are available to meet with you, no appointment needed. If you need support immediately, SHARPP offers a support hotline that is open 24/7, where a trained advocate will answer your call and work with you to get you the help that you need. The number for the support hotline is (603) 862-7233.

SHARPP is also offering a new online service, called Ask an Advocate. This service allows you to send an email, which a trained advocate will respond to within 24 hours. Anyone who has a question about themselves, a friend, a student, a colleague, or a family member is encouraged to use this service. Visit their website to learn more about the Ask an Advocate service.

Sexual violence or relationship abuse can happen to anyone; male or female, gay or straight, young or old. Finding yourself in an abusive situation is one of the most terrifying things that a person can go through. Seeking help from a SHARPP advocate means that you won’t need to go through this process alone. An advocate can accompany you to the hospital or to the police station, or even sit with you during the legislative process if you choose to take legal action. No one wants to go through a situation where they are a victim, but UNH offers services to help you through in case you ever find yourself needing them. To learn more about  what SHARPP offers, please visit their website.

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Live to Ride

Monday, January 24, 2011

Author: 
Sarah Sceery
Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sceery

Just because the winter months are here and we have lots of snow doesn’t mean your exercise routine has to come to a halt. According to Fit Day, winter sports, especially snowboarding, can have a great impact on your health. Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, being on the mountain and outdoors can enhance your mood. Additionally, as the article describes, snowboarding can have multiple positive physical effects.

Aerobic Exercise - Snowboarding has the potential to burn a great deal of calories as well as increase your cardiovascular endurance.

Muscular Fitness - The sport forces individuals to use a large amount of muscles in the body, especially muscles your body does not normally use. This is great for a total body work out, but as a warning to beginners and a reminder to veterans…after the first day of the season you may feel like you worked muscles you didn’t even know you had!

Flexibility and Balance - The coordination of riding helps to improve overall flexibility and balance in the body and the muscles.

Snowboarding is not the only winter sport to offer these physical benefits. Activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing are all great ways to keep in shape and enjoy the winter months. Although these activities can be at different levels, as with any sport it is important to remember safety. The article offers a few helpful hints for beginner snowboarders about lessons and to always wear a helmet. Remember to dress appropriately for your activity and the weather outside! Keep in mind that some of these sports can take a lot of learning. With safety in mind this winter, don’t let your body fall into hibernation. These winter sports offer unique and total body work outs, so hit the outdoors for some great physical activity!

UNH faculty and staff - are you interested in learning how to cross country ski or snowshoe this winter? To learn more, visit the Healthy UNH Homepage

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Breathe Your Way to Stress Relief

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Author: 
Katrina Heisler
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Graur Codrin

Breathing exercises have long been considered a sacred and respected tool utilized by many cultures to achieve mental and physical balance within the body. More recently, physicians, therapists and trainers alike have encouraged deep breathing to help ease tension, cleanse the body, boost energy, and relieve stress. Essentially you can “exercise” anywhere at any time to provide relief and relaxation. Breathing exercises last from 5-10 minutes and just require two tools; your body and your mind. Most exercises can be done while sitting, so they are ideal for a stressful day at your desk or a frustrating drive in rush hour. 

Deep breathing is all about clearing the mind and focusing on breath. Focusing on your breath eases tension and calms the mind. It also stretches the lungs and muscles that are often stiff. The majority of us take shallow and rapid breaths, which can result in weak, stiff muscles along with poor posture. Sit up straight when you are practicing and turn off all external stimuli (i.e. the TV, radio). Think about what you are nervous, anxious, and upset about.  As you exhale, imagine all stressors being expelled from your body. As you deeply breathe in, your lungs re-expand and a burst of oxygen rushes through your body and to your brain providing fresh energy.

Below is an example of an easy breathing exercise that takes five minutes, so I encourage you to try it out several times. UNH Health Services also has meditation and breathing exercise tools online and at Health Services. Who would’ve thought something so mindless, that we do unconsciously to survive, could have such a powerful impact on our well-being? It's amazing what happens when we just breathe.

Breathing Exercise:

  1. Sit up straight. Exhale.
  2. Inhale, and at the same time, relax the belly muscles. Feel as though the belly is filling with air.
  3. After filling the belly, keep inhaling. Fill up the middle of your chest. Feel your chest and rib cage expand.
  4. Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible.
  5. As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath.
  6. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
  7. Relax your face and mind.
  8. Let everything go.
  9. Practice about 5 minutes.

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After Hours Emergencies

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Author: 
Sarah Sceery
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

It’s 6pm on a Tuesday night and you slip on ice walking home from the library. There is a possibility that when you fell, you may have broken something, but health services is closed….what do you do? Luckily for students, UNH Health Services has an agreement with Wentworth Douglass Hospital that many people do not know about. This plan is part of the student health fee and is accessible for UNH students. The agreement permits students to receive care at the Wentworth Douglass Hospital if health services is closed.

The costs are covered for most minor injuries but as Health Services states, “unfortunately, one cannot know prior to evaluation how serious the problem is and there is a possibility the visit may not be covered under the agreement,” therefore indicating that the visit may still be expensive. If the condition is minor, the services at the hospital will be covered with a small co-pay fee. This could include minor to moderate injuries and illnesses such as: sore throat, earache, burns, sprains, and strains. However, one important factor for students to be aware is that the ambulance ride is not covered. Depending on the location of the hospital and services needed, ambulance fees can get pretty pricey. Although no general information was found on New Hampshire (only Medicare ambulance fees) an example of costs could range from the lower $400s up into the $1,000s. Based on a town in Virginia, fees range from $425-$525 plus an additional mileage rate. However, in the State of Arizona, fees could range from $448.40 all the way up to $1291.87!

In the case of this agreement, students would be responsible for the entire bill…which based on emergency room visits and ambulance fees, could be a substantial amount of money. Although the agreement has limitations, it is still important for students to be aware of the options in case of an emergency. 

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From Minutes to Years, Exercise Helps

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Author: 
Katrina Heisler
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Federico Stevanin

We all know exercise is good for you, but did you know you can start reaping the benefits within just minutes? Fitness Magazine published an article pointing out the pros of exercising from the minute you start to years after. Immediately, your body is going to start changing as you exercise, but as you continue your regimen your benefits build up. Check out the article yourself to get some great tips or continue to read on for some of the not so obvious advantages.

From the time you press START, your lungs are getting stronger, you are burning fat and increasing your motivation. Your lungs have to work extra hard to get enough oxygen to the muscles being used in the rest of your body, thus strengthening them as well. Fat is being used as your body’s main source of energy, helping to reduce flab, and signals are sent to your brain releasing endorphins that up your motivation to go the extra mile. Within an hour, you have lowered stress hormones (such as cortisol), which can lead to a suppressed immune system if too high, and you have increased your metabolism. “For ever 100 calories you burn while exercising, you burn an extra 15 calories after” according to Fitness, and you keep burning up to 38 hours after!

The day after you hit the gym you are building lean muscle mass as muscles begin repairing the microscopic tears you caused during your workout. It might be a good idea to sneak in a sweat session before your next doctor’s appointment or UNH Healthy Returns because exercising also decreases your blood pressure, increasing your heart health. Exercising can lower your blood pressure for up to 16 hours as well as lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. Along with helping your muscles and heart, post exercise benefits your brain too! You are more focused and alert due to the increased oxygen flow to your brain so hit the books after the gym, “it’s a great time to memorize a speech or tackle a project”.

Within a week of regular exercise you’re still feeling the benefits. Exercise increases your insulin resistance, lowering your blood glucose levels and decreasing your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes. You can also drop one pound a week! 3,500 calories equals a pound, so burning an extra 500 a day, or even 250, if you cut another 250 from your diet can help you lower the number on the scale. In a few more weeks your body will show even more improvements as you get stronger and stronger. Start off lifting five pounds and find them getting less and less heavy? You’re building endurance and strength with each workout so increase the weight when you think it is getting too easy. You should be fatigued after 12-15 repetitions. If that’s too easy you can probably add a couple of pounds. As you are gaining muscle you are losing fat, especially abdominal flab, which has been linked to increased health consequences. Not only are your muscles getting stronger, so is your brain. Exercise has also been believed to activate “growth-stimulating proteins in the brain that may help form new cells." In the long run, exercise can increase your endurance, make you more efficient at fighting fat, reduce your risk for cancer, add years to your life, and improve how you feel. Just four months of exercise can improve mood and work just as well as some anti-depressant medications can. It can also decrease the need for blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. Working out strengthens the telomeres on your DNA, slowing the overall aging process.

Still need a reason to exercise?! With all these amazing benefits, working out should become a priority in everyone’s lives. If it’s not a priority for you, make it one!

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Tag that as "stress"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Author: 
Sarah Sceery
Friday, January 7, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook

Has Facebook gotten the best of you? Like many others in the world of social media today, people spend excessive amounts of time online…and I’m more than willing to admit that I’m one of them. An article published by the UMASS student newspaper, highlighted an important study completed by mtvU and the Jed Foundation based on social media and the impact on students mental health. The study found that “90% of college students sampled said they visited at least one social networking website in the past week”…never mind the past few hours. Another 70% also stated that they have had some form of texting argument…something else many people have fallen victim to in the world of technology.

Online communication and Facebook have become the most common form of communication among young people and is becoming increasingly popular among adults as well. There are many benefits to this type of technology and social networking including, communication and accessibility. However, there are also negative connotations associated with this form of communication; one being the increased time spent on the internet and the increased effect on stress. As the study stated, “1/3rd of students were online for more than six hours in a day.” Granted, in the world of technology today, almost everything is online including, work for classes, reports, research etc. However, as a student myself, I can guarantee that much of those six hours were contributed to distractions and procrastination. When I’m doing work or typically during the day, I go on Facebook as a distraction. In doing so, like many students, I’m putting off my work…only to lead to more stress in the long run.

Although it can be a good thing for other reasons and may serve as a reprieve from doing work for some, social media can actually have an increased effect on stress levels, by taking away from priorities. For most students and adults who feel they spend too much time online or are easily distracted, here are a few helpful hints for to stay connected but limit your distractions:

  • If you’re work does not involve a computer, don’t sit at a desk where you have access to the computer or internet (it doesn’t matter how comfortable the Dimond Library computer cluster chairs are)
  • Make lists- list out your priorities for the day, week, or even the month. Lists can help you to stay on track and can be your best friend in helping you get through stressful situations (plus it’s a great feeling to cross things off the list when they’re completed)
  • Set limits for yourself- decide times when you can take a break and times when you should only focus on your work

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