October 2011

Start Texting to Start Flexing

Friday, October 28, 2011

Author: 
Katrina Heisler
Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Ambro

Trying to lose weight or find the motivation to get to the gym? There’s an app for that. Gone are the days of technology holding back the couch potatoes, technology has now made it easy enough to have a personal trainer in the palm of your hand. There are hundreds on weight loss apps on the market for your smart phone that can help you track how much you’re eating, how many calories you burned on your run, fitness tips, and even personalized workout plans. Who needs a trainer or even a gym when all you have to do it turn on your phone? Men’s Health Magazine compiled nine of the top fitness apps available to help you pick which ones are worth using for your weight loss program. 

Don’t stray too far from your phone, USA Today released an article that even text messaging could help with your weight loss!  Temple University recruited college students to test whether a Facebook tool sending reminders with diet and fitness advice could help them lose weight. The students in the Facebook-Plus group were sent text messages of encouragement and suggestions, as well as having the opportunity to receive feedback on their nutrition and exercise regimens. These students lost on average 5.3 pounds while the students who were not part of the group lost only a half pound.  Researchers at Temple “really wanted to mimic a face-to-face treatment with text messaging” which is what often makes sessions with nutritionist and trainers so successful for those struggling to lose weight. Perhaps this will become a popular weight loss tool in the future, but for now remember, your phone is your friend!

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Go the 5k Distance

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of graur razvan ionut

This Saturday, October 29th, UNH Campus Recreation will be holding a 5k (3 miles) road race for the homecoming festivities.  The run will start off at 9am and welcomes runners up to the challenge. This race is a certified USA Track & Field course that will loop through the UNH campus and Durham. This road race will test the runner’s strength, determination, and endurance. 

Many of the runners participating at this Saturday’s race have experience with long distance running, and will be able to pace themselves to finish the race. But how did they get there? If you are not a runner, how can you work up to participating in a road race?

The first step is to plan a goal for yourself.  The goal must be measurable, achievable, and timely.  Kathleen Doheny from WebMD says that a training program for a 5k race should start 15 weeks before the actual race.  You will want to plan out your schedule of training for each week. One suggestion is to use checks and cross out tasks to make yourself feel more accomplished.  It is important that you start out at a consistent pace, by transitions from walking, to jogging, and finally to running.  Another key component to running a road race is motivation.  Whether you have a “running buddy” or a mental booster, motivation will feed your determination to run. 

WebMD provides a 15 week program that is labeled “Sofa to 5k”. Each week is planned out for you, so you automatically know what you need to do to get ready for the 5k race. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, individuals should walk or cross train (XT). Cross training are activities such as swimming or weight training. On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, individuals should jog or run for the allotted amount of time or distance.

Week

M-W-F

Tues-Thurs

Saturday

Sunday

1

walk or XT

run 10-15 min

off

1 mile

2

walk or XT

run 15 min

off

1 mile

3

walk or XT

run 15-20 min

off

1.5 mile

4

walk or XT

run 15-20 min

off

1 mile

5

walk or XT

run 20-25 min

off

2 miles

6

walk or XT

run 20-25 min

off

1 mile

7

walk or XT

run 25-30 min

off

2.5 miles

8

walk or XT

run 25-30 min

off

1.5 miles

9

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

3 miles

10

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

1.5 miles

11

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

3.5 miles

12

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

1.5 miles

13

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

4 miles

14

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

2 miles

15

walk or XT

run 30 min

off

5K Race

 

Following this schedule can help prepare you for the next road race in your area. Remember that physical training is not the sole member in this battle.  Maintaining a nutritiously balanced diet is important help keep the body healthy and strong. Also, before starting any new fitness regime, it is always important to check in with your health care provider. 

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Chocolate and your Heart

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Suet Eman

With Halloween right around the corner, the craving for chocolate may be a healthy one.  Researchers are now conducting studies between women and the effects of chocolate consumption.  They have found links between chocolate consumption and lowered blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and in a  recent study, a lowered risk of stroke in women.  Susanna Larsson, an Associate Professor in the division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has been studying the diets of women in Sweden. She has noticed health changes have been linked to chocolate.  The potential health benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, have been widely attributed to its flavonoids. Flavonoids are the antioxidant compounds found in cocoa that may boost the cardiovascular system.  In other studies, researchers have shown that flavonoids can enhance blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.  They may also inhibit clumping of platelets and reduce inflammation, both of which contribute to cardiovascular health.  It is also recommended that when choosing a treat with chocolate, it is healthier to go with dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.  With dark chocolate, there is at least 70% cocoa; and dark chocolate has more antioxidants and less sugar than milk chocolate.  Larsson says, “Chocolate consumption in moderation, and preferably dark chocolate, along with high consumption of other antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of stroke”.

Some times when things seem too good to be true, that means they usually are.  Larsson is concerned about how people will comprehend the study information. She is afraid that after receiving information, women would begin to overload on chocolate. 

We all should remember that moderation is the key. Chocolates are classified as treats, and therefore they should not be incorporated into your daily diet. There are health benefits by consuming dark chocolate. But chocolate should be eaten in moderation, and should not be replaced with other food to get the antioxidants your body needs. 

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Brand Name Frenzy

Friday, October 21, 2011

Author: 
Rebecca Lastra
Friday, October 21, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of scottchan

Throughout our lives, we have been trained that purchasing any product with a respectable name attached to it deems it more effective than any generic product. Primarily through media and word of mouth, we have defined that labeled brands are better products and they usually cost significantly more. Sometimes it is worth the extra couple of bucks, but other times it is completely irrelevant. One product that most Americans get hung up on, is if they should buy a generic or brand named drug. An article written by Melissa Stoppler, M.D., states that there is no significant difference between generic and brand named drugs; they are chemically identical. The FDA mandates that generic drugs be as safe and effective as their brand name drug counterpart.

What causes most of the concern around generic drugs is the fact that they are less expensive. This leads consumers to believe that they are less effective and may take longer to see results. Stoppler addresses the issue and explains that a brand named drug is more expensive primarily because the company has to research, market, and advertise the product. Once they conclude that the drug they have created can safely be consumed, they apply for a patent on the product; meaning no one else can sell the same product as long as their patent is in effect. Stoppler states, “As the patent nears expiration, manufacturers can apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug.” Without the preliminary costs and research, the generic drug company can sell the exact same medication at a cheaper cost.

 Generic drugs can ultimately save consumers oodles of money in the long run. So if you find yourself buying brand named drugs, stop and think. Does your prescription come in a generic form?  Address it with your primary care provider next time you’re in for an appointment!

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Nutritional Knowledge

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Do you obsess about your body image? Is your day constantly preoccupied thinking about the food you may or may not have eaten? Are you an athlete and are you wondering what foods would best suit your athletic and academic schedule? Have you recently been to the doctor and been told that you have high cholesterol? Have you decided to become a vegan and are wondering how to go about eating the foods you wish to eat but still manage to get all of your daily nutrients? If any of these questions pertain to you, or you have a nutritional query entirely your own, the people to talk to are right here on campus! As a UNH student most if not all of you have paid the mandatory Health Fee, which means you are eligible for Nutrition Counseling, located in the second floor UNH Health Services building. Students are able to make an appointment by calling (603) 862-3823 or setting an appointment up online.

Personally, I have friends who know hypertension runs in their family, so they make an extra effort to make correct choices when it comes to food. Where would they find out how to do so, at Health Services Nutrition Counseling. For others, they may simply wish to know whether their current consumption rate is healthy for their lifestyle. One thing I know, most, if not all of us, can agree on that being at school can be stressful. Many of us find solace in culinary experiences, however those experiences can go from being good habits to bad ones easier than we may expect. However don’t take my word for it. Visit the UNH Nutrition Counselor, Maria, for a one-on-one meeting which won’t last longer than an hour and will help you get on your way to a more knowledgeable and healthier you!

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Stretching Your Benefits

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of photostock

Being a student who goes to the gym daily, I notice habits others have that can truly harm their physical health. Many students are often strapped for time and make their gym session an “in-and-out” type deal. It is good students are exercising, but many do not stretch. They may be unaware of the benefits that stretching provides.  Stretching should be done before and after a moderate or intense workout is completed.  The average time for both is roughly 10-15 minutes.  If you cannot sacrifice twenty minutes while at the gym, then what was the point of even going?  Arnold Nelson, Associate Professor at Louisiana State University, states, “ At the very least, people should aim to stretch all major muscle groups at least once, a few times a week, such as after exercising.  Getting up from your desk and stretching out throughout the day is also recommended to release muscle tension.  Plus, it just feels good."  The benefits of a pre-workout stretch help with blood flow and posture.  The increase in blood flow will assist you during your workout, producing more motivation and strength to perform various activities. Also, your posture during your workouts will be corrected and fitted to your activities.  The benefits of an after-work out stretch will assist in muscle tension. Think of your muscles like giant rubber bands that need to be broken in.  After using them, you want to stretch them out so that the same motions will flow easier next time.

The benefits of stretching are crucial in maintaining a physically active lifestyle.  Improving your balance can be achieved simply by stretching before and after your workouts.  Even if you are at home watching television, you can simply get on the floor and stretch, while still watching your favorite show! Your balance is very crucial to maintain throughout life.  As you age, you will find that your bones become more fragile, meaning that your muscles will lose the support they used to have.  Stretching can help prevent your bones and muscles from weakening.  Every day before I go to the gym, I usually go outside and stretch.  As a busy college student, I understand that some students may not have time to stretch while going to the gym, but 15 minutes out of your day should not be a problem.  If you are unable to stretch during the day, I would suggest saving some time right before you go to bed.

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Coffee Confusion

Friday, October 7, 2011

Author: 
Rebecca Lastra
Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of africa

Ever since I was young, I had the common assumption that “coffee stunts your growth” drilled into my head. As I got older, I watched my parents drink multiple cups of coffee before heading off to work and I eventually found myself relying on the drink either in the morning or pulling an all-nighter to study for an exam. With that being said, there has been a constant debate for decades if coffee is actually harmful to your health and Health Magazine tries to get to the bottom of it.

An article recently published by Health Magazine offers two opposing views on the amount of coffee people should be drinking. Dr. Rob van Dam, a nutrition professor at Harvard School of Public Health, claims that unless you have any sort of medical condition such as hypertension or get an inadequate amount of sleep, there is no reason to cut back on drinking coffee. He also points out that there may be added health benefits by drinking the java. Scientific based evidence suggests that drinking coffee may lower the risk of becoming diabetic and developing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. James D. Lane offers an opposing view that people should most certainly cut back on their consumption of coffee. Lane argues that the research on coffee’s benefits are not extensive enough to base such lofty claims on and the caffeine can actually make conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure worse.

Health Magazine then weighs in on the issue and gives the advice that “If you don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, a coffee habit probably doesn’t hurt—and may even help your health.”

Coffee is most commonly used to jumpstart a person’s day and I know multiple people who argue they can’t function without a cup of it in the morning. However, I think it’s important to point out that coffee is not essential to feel a surge of energy in the morning or to serve as an afternoon pick-me-up during a busy day. Adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are a great alternative to not only feel more revived, but to also lower the risk of disease.

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Flu Season, stay on top of it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

School has started and we are all getting into the flow of things - going to class, hitting the gym, and frequenting the food halls with our friends. While this is all fine and dandy, there is something looming around the corner… Flu Season! Don’t be too afraid. There are three easy ways to combat this issue as set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. First and foremost, get a flu vaccination! UNH Health Services will be providing a Flu Clinic on Wednesday, October 5 in the MUB Granite State room. It is easy and relatively cheap. You go in there, pay either $20 or $25 and then get yourself vaccinated! Now, $20 may seem expensive for a poor college student, but look at it this way: it is one and done. It takes less than half an hour and lasts you the entire flu season. If you don't get the vaccine, and you get the flu, not only will you spend a week or more feeling ill, you will spend more money on over the counter drugs (i.e Halls – 1.99; Mucinex – 31.99; Theraflu - 6.49; Robitussin – 6.49) and chicken soup. Getting sick is expensive! Be smart. Get the flu vaccination. Second, the CDC suggests you wash your hands, cover your nose/mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoid contact with sick people.  Lastly, the CDC suggests that if you DO get sick, take prescription antiviral drugs. They will assist in the healing process.

How do I know if I have the flu, you ask? You know your body better than anyone else. If you notice you have headaches, your body aches, you're sneezing, sniffling, coughing, you have a sore throat - you may have contracted the virus. If you notice these things ACT QUICK! The sooner you tend to the illness the better.

 

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Depression: Off the Playing Field

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Master isolated images

This past summer a hockey player for the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL, Rick Rypien, passed away where he resides in Coleman, Alberta.  His former team, the Vancouver Canucks reported that Rypien had been suffering from severe depression.  On the ice he was a heavy-hitting, skilled, two-way hockey player.  Though, off the ice his mental health was a rollercoaster ride.  The Jet's Assistant General Manager Craig Heisinger, stated that Rypien was a simple guy that had some issues to deal with.  His family and friends claimed that there was no alcohol or drug abuse occurring, but rather depression issues.  Depression can truly take over the mental and physical being of a human.  The body takes so many tolls when the mind is depressed.  Rypien was involved in a major league sport.  The amount of duties and responsibilities he had were insurmountable.  Between traveling, training, and family and friend obligations, Rypien had a plate-full.

Depression is a complex disease. So, if we are faced with it, what can we do? How can we keep a postive mind and a relaxing environment around ourselves? Depression is a disorder that takes time to heal.  It is important to find things that comfort you. Do not dwell on others and their actions, but rather who you are and what you are doing.  In high school I played soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, and baseball in the spring.  I know the difficulties that come with trying to juggle activities.  As a result, I would spend a lot of free time relaxing and doing things I wanted to do like going for a run, going out with my family, hanging out with friends, and believe it or not, yoga.  Yoga is an awesome way to prevent depression and stress.  It completely clears your mind and eliminates all the conflicts and stressors that are current to you.  Though, it does not have to be something as organized as yoga, it could just be a walk around the neighborhood, or a drive in the car.  Leaving time for you is an essential key in staying happy and healthy.

Wellness techniques are a great way to help cope with depression. But don't forget about all of the resources around on campus as well. The Counseling Center and Health Services both are excellant places on campus to talk with professionals and receive care.

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