Healthy UNH Blogger: Sarah Sceery, All Entries

Keeping your shoes up-to-date

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

As an athlete in high school, at the first sign of injury or pain, I was always asked, “how old are your shoes?” Many times, they were too old. However, as the years of college have moved on, new running shoes are not something I often think of, until recently. I was running on the treadmill and all of a sudden had pains in the arches of my feet. I tried to run through it, but after a few minutes had to stop. After taking a look at my shoes, I realized it was time for an upgrade.

Whether you wear running shoes or walking shoes, keeping your exercise shoes current is extremely important to prevent injury. When shoes become worn out, they lose stability and shock absorbency. A shoe that is too old can cause various injuries, feet or leg pain such as shin splints, soreness, and painful blisters. Often when shoes lose stability or begin to wear, the first layer to go is the midsole, which you don’t actually see. This is one of the reasons people often don’t know that their shoes are no longer doing what they should be! As the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends, running shoes should last between 350-550 miles. That may seem like a lot of miles for some, but if you think about it, if you run about 3 miles, 4 times per week, that is 12 miles/week. That is already a little over 300 miles in 6 months! Replacement of shoes can also vary within the mileage range based on:

  • racing and running requirements
  • surfaces such as trails, pavement, or indoors
  • style of running
  • body weight    

When it comes time to purchase new shoes, it is important to find a good shoe store where you are allowed to test the shoes. Many shops will have a treadmill set up or even let you take the shoes for a test run. Although shoes may be expensive, it is important to find the right shoe for your foot and running style in order to prevent injury and keep you a happy runner!

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

How Stressed Are You?

Monday, May 2, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

“Stress” is a word heard often, especially around a college campus. Common stressors include school, family, relationships, work, money…the list goes on. At times, because people may be too busy, or too stressed, they don’t even realize the extent of stress and anxiety on their overall mental health. Stress is on the rise, not only for college students but all Americas as well. According to an American Psychological Survey in 2008, 30% of Americans rated their average stress levels as “extreme” or having “a great deal of stress.” Furthermore, results from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reported that 52.2% of Americans report their overall well-being as “struggling.” Because of the negative impacts and effects of stress on the body, these results can be frightening.

However, Mental Health America encourages individuals in their live your life well campaign, to evaluate stress levels and use coping measures.  The website offers a short 5 minute stress screener. The questions relate directly to eating, sleeping, and personal habits. Even though it was a short quiz, the screener helped me to actually stop for a moment and contemplate my stress levels and well-being. It made me think about how stress could possibly be affecting me and others.  Based on your results, or if you’re just looking for some new coping methods the website offers tools to enhance the way you live your life and strength your mental health. There are 10 great and easy tools which include:

  • Stay positive
  • Get physically active
  • Eat well
  • Create joy and satisfaction

So even though you may feel like you don’t have much time for anything, take a few minutes to evaluate your stress levels and find out ways to keep your mind healthy. 

Don't forget- Healthy UNH's Frazzle Free Finals events are coming up May 10th-12th!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, mental wellness, Sarah Sceery, Stress, UNH

Massages at Health Services

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

With a busy lifestyle, who really has time to take a whole day at the spa - even though you wish you could? And who can afford to spend a small fortune on a spa trip? UNH Health Services can help! They offer a wonderful alternative to a spa day by offering 50 minute massages. Both traditional and hot stone massages are available by licensed massage therapists at Health Services right here on campus. Massages are available to ALL UNH Students, faculty, and staff members. The best part about the program? It’s extremely affordable. A traditional massage costs only $35 for students and $45 for faculty and staff members. That is only a fraction of the cost charged somewhere else and although $35 may seem costly for a college student, you can assure that your time and money will be well spent!

The massages are specific to you, benefiting areas of your body that may need the most attention. Potential benefits of a massage include muscle tension and stress relief, increased blood circulation, alleviation of pain, and an increased overall well being. As a busy college student, my roommate spends quite a bit of time hunched over her Spanish books and computer in the library. She recently got a traditional massage and couldn’t have felt better! The therapist worked directly on specific parts of her body where she holds her tension and stress. It gave her body total rejuvenation…as finals and end of the year course loads begin to pile up…this could be you!

Appointments can be made online or through calling health services at 603-862-3823. 

Tagged In: Health, Health Services, Healthy UNH, mental wellness, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Have You Had Your OJ Today?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

New research on the favorite morning beverage demonstrated that 100% orange juice can have many more benefits than you may have thought. A recent study completed by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) demonstrated that 100% orange juice can be linked to important roles in your diet. The study concluded that adults and children who consume orange juice:have a better overall diet quality and higher intake of key nutrients and show lower body mass index (BMI) measures.

Co-authors of the study stated that the survey showed clear results that better diets were linked to orange juice consumption. Additionally, there was a higher intake of important nutrients including Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, and Potassium. I found this point to be especially interesting and important because these are some vitamins that can be generally under-consumed, but provide a great deal of benefits. While several benefits of Vitamin C include improved absorption of iron and serving as an antioxidant, Potassium is an important vitamin for balancing electrolytes, maintaining body fluids, and as part of the bodies energy process. On the second half of the study, the linkage to lower BMI measurements is especially important with the increasing rates of overweight and obesity. In conjunction with the Dietary Guidelines for American 2010, typically people tend to believe that fruit juice is not associated with body weight, but these results craft perspective.

The data from this study was collected from 2003-2006, but most recently discussed at an Experimental Biology Conference this April. In addition to the two main benefits, several other benefits of drinking one hundred percent orange juice were justified at the event including reduced risk of certain cancers, less sugar consumption in children compared to those who drink soft drinks and flavored milk, and increased cardiovascular benefits (with no negative impact on weight) in men. The next time you’re in the grocery store, don’t forget to check out the juice aisle!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

T-School offers Lunch "on the go"

Thursday, April 7, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

Ever heard of Stacey’s Express? For many students and faculty the answer may be no, and if so…it’s worth checking out.

Stacey’s Express is an express style lunch service that is offered through UNH’s Thompson School Food Service Management Program. Students in the program prepare a variety of lunch food items including an entrée, soup, pizza, salad, and sandwiches. The best part about the quick lunch option…it’s cheap and healthy! With the variety of food styles it is easy to find an appeal option that will fit your tastes. The lunches are nutritious and this semester focuses specifically on “volumetric recipes.”

Based on PH.D Barbra Rolls Volumetric Recipe book, meals are designed to make you feel full with fewer calories. Dr. Rolls is a nutrition researcher who has studied many areas on hunger and obesity. The volumetric idea is to design plans that offer a variety of food choices that are healthy, rather than limiting foods. The idea on the plan and book are ultimately designed at weight loss, but the volumetric meals at Stacey’s Express can be great for anyone!

Lunch is served every Thursday in Cole Hall from 11:30-12:30. A full menu can be found on the T-Hall website.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH, UNH Program

Tricks of the Trade—Affordable Fruits in the Winter

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

During these cold winter months, it isn’t uncommon to find that the price of strawberries or blueberries in the store may seem a little higher, or not quite affordable with your dwindling college budget. Yet, those fruits are still important for antioxidants, getting your vitamins, and keeping your body healthy. There are several options that might work for you to avoid choosing those less nutritious foods just because they fit into the budget.

  • If you can afford to buy fresh, set a grocery list. Limit yourself to one or two types of fruit for the week. You can choose different options each week to maintain variety.
  • Pick fruits that you know will last. For example, a cantaloupe or melon can be cut up and stored in the refrigerator to last the whole week.  Or, try a grapefruit. Eat one half for breakfast and save the other half for a day or even two days later.
  • Try frozen, dried, or canned fruit. Although it may not seem as appealing as fresh fruit these options still have most of the nutrients you need and a more affordable cost. Frozen fruits can be much more affordable as well as last much longer. Recently, during a grocery store visit, strawberries were spotted between $3.99 and $4.99; a frozen bag of berries on the other hand ranges from $2.99 to $4.99 and will last in the freezer for a longer period of time. Try using frozen fruits in yogurt, cereal, or even on waffles.
  • As any savvy shopper knows…look for the sales. Most produce items that are out of season will not be on sale…so try to go seasonal to keep within your budget. This website all about fruits and veggies gives a great list about which foods are in-season.

In order to stay healthy and obtain between 2-4 servings of fruit per day, keep these budget-conscious tips in mind the next time you head to the grocery store.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Post Work-Out Protein

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

You just finished an intense work out at the gym and you feel great…now what? The common thought, especially if you are exercising to stay in shape or lose weight, might involve food. That thought is one that should come after every work out as eating post work-out is an essential part of exercising. USA Today published an article focusing on the importance of protein in a post work-out snack, while focusing on Olympic winter athletes.

But the truth is, we aren’t all Olympic athletes and we do all need to eat a balanced snack or meal after exercising to increase the benefits. As Nancy Clark, a certified sports dietitian (from right around the corner in Boston) discusses in the article, protein is just as important as carbohydrates when deciding what to eat. Carbohydrates replace your glucose and energy stores, which are exhausted during exercise.  Protein on the other hand, helps for recovery and to rebuild your muscles. Therefore, it’s best to find a balance between both. Clark recommends a yogurt and fruit shake in the article and some of my favorites include, peanut butter crackers, cliff bars, or trail mix. Keep in mind the sooner the snack the better for enhancing your work-out and keeping your body in top shape.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Mind

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables…who would think those have anything to do with keeping a healthy mind? A great deal of research shows that deficiency in vitamins and essential nutrients can have harmful effects on the body, yet often they are not associated with mental health. Interestingly, there is research proven to support the fact that diets deficient in vitamins such as C, D and B vitamins, as well as protein can cause symptoms of depression or other mental health illnesses.

In an article on Nutrition and Mental Health, the author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones describes that a lacking diet can have a negative effect on general mood and mental energy.  In addition to vitamins, Dr. Annemarie Colbin also suggests that individuals not consuming enough protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have the potential for increased negative moods. Surprisingly, the article suggested that protein was the best choice for keeping energy up, controversy to the job often associated with carbohydrates. However, what the article is highlighting is specific forms of protein and carbohydrates that may help to increase energy and keep emotion upbeat.

Not only is a high intake of carbohydrates through sugars/sweets unhealthy for your body in other ways, but it can also lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. On the other hand, and also supported by research in the Nutrition Journal, whole grain carbohydrates or proteins from Omgea-3’s such as fish can reduce such symptoms. Therefore, to keep your energy up, keep a balanced and healthy diet. Be sure to include a wide variety of nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains such as rice and pasta, proteins (animal or plant), and healthy fats. Try to keep the sugar consumption down especially if the winter blues have you feeling a little down!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Mental Health, mental wellness, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

This Isn't Your Average 4th of July Hotdog Eating Contest...

Friday, March 4, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

With even the basic nutritional knowledge, the thought of an eating contest might make you feel a little queasy. The idea of eating as many hotdogs as you can in a matter of minutes could almost give you a heart attack just thinking about it. Yet, right here on UNH campus there is one eating contest that actually takes a different approach. Annually, the Pan-Hellenic Sorority, Alpha Phi, holds their philanthropy event called “Eat Your Heart Out.” The event is designed with healthy foods in mind. The competition is a healthy eating contest between Greeks or any member in the UNH community. Things can get a little messy but it’s for a great cause, and puts on quite the show. Dishes include everything from bananas to carrots and even the dreaded rice cakes. Contestants go through a series of rounds for the chance to win great prizes for…stuffing their face with healthy foods.

Even thought the idea of eating as much food as you can in a minute…isn’t exactly good for you, it does make the fun idea a little better when what your eating is good for you! The event is focused on promoting heart healthy foods and all profits go towards the organizations philanthropy, cardiac care. The action takes place this year on March 22nd at 7:00pm in the Granite State Room. The cost of the event is $5 and tickets can be purchased in the MUB ticket office in advance or on the 22nd

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Healthy UNH, Sarah Sceery, UNH, UNH Program

Counting Calories

Friday, February 25, 2011
By: 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.  

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Warming Up in the Cold

Friday, February 18, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

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!

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

What's Homework, Again?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

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.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Mental Health, mental wellness, Sarah Sceery, Stress, UNH

Live to Ride

Monday, January 24, 2011
By: 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

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

After Hours Emergencies

Thursday, January 13, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

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. 

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Tag that as "stress"

Friday, January 7, 2011
By: Sarah Sceery

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
Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, mental wellness, Sarah Sceery, Stress, UNH

Anyone have a tissue? Or a treadmill instead? Exercising to boost the immune system!

Monday, December 20, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

It’s that time of year again where it seems that everyone is getting sick. A recent study done by Appalachian State University found that on average patients are sick for 13 days during the winter months and 8 days during the fall season. However, the study also found that people who exercised or participated in physical activity were sick half of those days. The article discusses the potential positive impact of physical activity on the immune system. It was determined that people who exercised 5 times per week or “felt fit” boosted their immune system, and had better protection from getting sick than other individuals.

This idea of physical activity boosting the immune system is also supported by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  There has been evidence that moderate physical activity can increase the resistance of individuals to some diseases (in addition to the many other health benefits of exercise!) This includes moderate levels of exercise 3-5 days per week. Physical activity could include cardiovascular and/or strength and muscle training. However, the body’s response to exercise depends on intensity and duration for each individual person.  Therefore, in more extreme individuals, too much exercise or stress on the body could lead to adverse effects and increased risk of infections. This could be a problem for people who are training at a high intensity for multiple hours a day without rest or recovery. 

In general though with most individuals, what it comes down to is the idea that moderate physical activity can be beneficial for your body’s immune system and keeping you healthy. Physical activity has many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for the body. Additionally, it can help in preventing diseases as well as those pesky cold and flu bugs. As the weather gets colder, try not to lose your fitness routine and make a point to include physical activity in your day!

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

'Tis the Season...for healthy eating

Thursday, December 16, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

Eating healthy during the holidays can often be a challenge. There is so much delicious food and often times too many options to choose from…that you just have to try everything. I usually have a hard time deciding between cookies, brownies, and apple pie. Even aside from dessert, many times people over eat main course meals as well. This is a common problem for almost everybody during the holidays but there are ways to help!

A new trick to try this year when baking and preparing for the holidays is to add fiber and nutrients to your recipes. One helpful solution to make treats a little healthier is to replace white flour with a form of whole wheat flour. The absorption of the flour is a little different so the recipe may have to be altered a small amount, but your end product will still come out tasting delicious. Another idea is to replace some of the chocolate or candy mix-ins with dried fruits or nuts. Although you may replace the chocolate, you won’t replace the “sweet” and you will be adding protein and fiber! Two recipe ideas to try are: pecan cinnamon wafer cookies and cranberry-orange pistachio bars - both offer great alternatives to the typical holiday treat.

When it comes to other holiday eating tips, Healthy UNH collaborated with UNH’s Registered Dietitians, Rochelle L’Italien from UNH Dining and Suzanne Sonneborn from Health Services. Together they provided a series called “Tis the Season…Make Mindless Eating Work for You!”. The interactive series was designed for UNH faculty, staff, and students to learn how to make holiday eating successful. For those who are curious or looking for helpful hints, this might be just right for you! Check out the website to watch the presentation and pick up some tips about mindless eating before you head home for the holidays.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

How expensive that emergency really is...

Friday, December 3, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

An emergency room visit is something that nobody wants to encounter. That hospital visit is usually not for a positive reason and in some cases can (figuratively) cost people an arm and a leg! For patients who are insured, the cost of an emergency visit is significantly less than those who are uninsured. Based on information taken from the New Hampshire Health Cost  below is a list of possible costs for UNH faculty/staff in the case of a minor ER visit (outpatient):

 

Insured Patient (Insurance and Insured cost combined)

Uninsured Patient (With an uninsured discount)

Wentworth Douglass Hospital

$381

$435

Elliot Hospital

$245

$338

Concord Hospital

$406

$457

Even with a small discount, the cost of an uninsured patient is significantly more than what insurance companies would have to pay. Additionally, the cost of an insured patient is covered by the patient and the insurer so the entire total is not out of pocket. Furthermore, the prices increases for emergency room visits that are considered medium cases (still outpatient):

 

Insured Patient (Insurance and Insured cost combined)

Uninsured Patient (With an uninsured discount)

Wentworth Douglass Hospital

$735

$845

Elliot Hospital

$850

$989

Concord Hospital

$1315

$1794

As demonstrated in the tables, costs can vary depending on hospital and also treatment. However, the cost of an emergency room, whether it is insured or out-of-pocket is still extremely high. The listed costs give guidelines on how expensive one visit actually is. Emergency care is an important part of health cost due to the fact that in most cases of severe injuries emergency room visits are necessary. It is important for individuals to be aware of potential costs for such visits.

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Yoga for Everyone

Monday, November 22, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

In the busy lifestyles of Americans and around the world, Yoga and Pilates have been an up and coming craze. Yoga mats and DVDs can be found in stores everywhere and many people are participating. Even a platoon of military service members are joining the trend. A recent article from the United States Army discusses one platoon that recently included yoga in their weekly activities. But what is this idea all about and what are the benefits?

Yoga is an exercise that provides a connection between mind and body. There are many physical benefits, but it also serves as a relaxation tool. The soldiers are encouraged to participate in the yoga class once a week, to “workout with mind-soothing relaxation.”  The idea of yoga is to provide a counterbalance to stress and strengthen relaxation responses in your daily life. For the soldiers, this means a benefit to their weekly fitness activities and a reduction of the possibility of injuries. Yet, for busy college students and working professionals…yoga can be just as beneficial. Different yoga practices focus on breathing, relaxation, and strengthening the nervous system. Levels range from beginner through advanced, Bikram yoga. Depending on individuals, each different level can offer benefits. However, types that focus on slow, steady movement are best for stress relief. Considering the advancement of the class is especially important for beginners. I’ve had one personal experience where I tried hot yoga and it found that it was not what I had expected. The class was much more advanced than a friend and I had anticipated, and resulted in us being very sore for several days. Another fact to consider is cost. There are many yoga studios located in different areas and it is important to be aware of the costs and options they offer. In order to get the most out of your yoga experience, taking a class or video from a professional is important.

Here a UNH, a great option to consider is the classes offered at the UNH Campus Rec.  A variety of yoga classes are offered throughout the semester at an affordable cost to students and faculty. They also offer periodic $5 drop-in classes. If you’re looking for a free but reliable option, Health Services offers classes every Wednesday and Friday for students in the MUB.  Even if it seems that you don’t have the time to do anything, managing your stress is important. Make the time to try out a class and most likely it will be a great way to elevate some of your stress!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, mental wellness, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, Stress Management, UNH

It's Not All About the Cardio

Friday, November 12, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

There is a common misconception of many individuals that physical activity means solely cardiovascular activity. These forms of activity could be classified as running, jogging, biking, swimming, hiking etc…and they ARE very important. However, muscular strength and endurance training plays an equally important role in physical activity. Muscle training can be categorized into two categories, Strength and Endurance. Strength training is the amount of weight lifted in one repetition of exercise while endurance is a longer duration of lower weight. Both types of training are important for the body and together they provide overall benefits.  Benefits and reasons why muscle training is essential include: improvement in physical work, sport, and, recreation; look and feel better, maintain a healthy body weight, prevent osteoporosis, and improve posture and eliminate back pain. These factors can be positive for people of all ages and gender…therefore making weight training a critical part of physical activity!

Furthermore, the type and frequency of training matters. The US Department of Health and Human Services developed guidelines in the Physical Activity Pyramid. Based on the idea of the food pyramid, it represents the amount of different types of physical activities in which individuals should participate. On average, individuals should participate in a variety of strength and endurance exercises 2-3X/week.  This can vary depending on areas of the body trained and level of advancement.  In order to maintain muscle fitness, the activities do not always have to be lifting weights.  For example, the following videos demonstrate the fact that there are several ways to exercise one muscle group:

 Two different ways to do a bicep curl:

Both machines, dumbbells, and resistance bands (which can also be used) are found in almost all gyms. There are small differences in the types of equipment, so it is important to find the one that works best for you. Although the UNH gym does not have the exact machine used in the video, it does have a bicep curl machine and a variety of different dumbbells. Next time you’re in the gym or thinking about working out…take a look for these types of equipment and don’t forget- it’s not ALL about the cardio.


   

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Functional Fluid

Monday, November 1, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

Are you aware that you are supposed to drink water even before you feel thirsty? Unknown to many, thirst is actually a sign of dehydration, something which can cause a lot of harm to your body. Water makes up more than 70% of the human body. It is essential for muscles, to aid in maintaining body temperature, the digestive system, skin, and much more. By dehydrating your body, it could lead to negative effects such as impaired blood flow, mental fatigue, and reduced ability to transport nutrients and waste. For athletes and anyone who is physically active, dehydration can have impaired and limiting effects on performance. The question then becomes…how much water do I really need?

According to the 2004 Food and Nutritional board, 2.7 liters (91oz)/day for women and 3.7 liters (125oz)/day for men should be a target. However, these are only guidelines and can vary based on climate, individuals, and exercise levels.  With an online tool, you can actually determine your general individualized hydration needs based on a basic survey. Additionally, it is also important to consider the sources and losses of water and fluids in the body. Water loss occurs through sweat, urination, and even breathing. Everyone has different sweat rates and it is important for everyone to maintain adequate hydration. For more physically active or individuals who have higher sweat rates, the daily water recommendations increase. But general hydration exercise guidelines can be followed by most individuals. In order to keep your body hydrated, the water source doesn’t always have to be pure drinking water. Water can also come from teas, juices, soups, and many fruits and vegetables. It is important to consider the sources in your overall diet. Whether you’re performing physical activity or not, dehydration is harmful to everyone. Water is essential for a balanced diet and to keep the body functional…so drink up!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

A co-what? A deductible who?

Friday, October 22, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

The world of health care includes a lot of different payments, fees, and word jumble. Many health plans are so complex that people don’t even know what costs they are paying. This is an important fact to consider for everyone. It is essential when choosing your first health plan to know what the terms mean. However, for those who are evaluating a current health plan or looking for new options, these costs can make a difference. When looking at overall health care costs, it is important to know what each of the key terms mean and what they do. The four most commonly used terms that are essential to know are:

  • Co-pay
  • Deductible
  • Premium
  • Co-insurance

The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives a great definition of these critical terms as well as other important terms to know and consider when evaluating or choosing a coverage plan. While all plans include a premium, which is the fee paid (monthly, quarterly, yearly etc.) for coverage of medical benefits for a certain period; many have different options for the other fees. A deductible, which is commonly a fixed amount, is the portion of an insurance claim that is not covered by the insurance provider. Similarly, a co-insurance is sometimes another factor of a plan that is the amount you would have to pay after the previous three. For example, after the premium, co-pay, and deductible are paid, if a medical insurer covers 80% of medical costs, you would pay 20% of whatever medical costs you had.

 Co-pay is usually what you pay for an office visit to something such as a doctor’s office. For example, a UNH faculty or staff member under the University Systems health care plan at UNH would typically pay a $10 co-pay for an office visit in New Hampshire. On the other hand, a student under the UNH health insurance plan would usually pay a $25 co-pay for an office visit. This difference in cost demonstrates the fact that depending on the individual, the provider, and the health care company, most co-pays and other costs will vary. As a result, this makes the idea of understanding costs essential to evaluating a health plan. Considering what the different costs are can have a major impact on how much you pay for a health plan. It is important to know the difference in these terms when evaluating a plan and your own health costs. Many plans are different and it can make a major difference in what you pay at the end of the day. 

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Rest Yourself

Monday, October 11, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

Tests, quizzes, group projects, work, financial issues, social life, and fitting in the gym…..when does it all end? If any of these situations sounds familiar (which most of them probably do for every college student), then you have a great deal of stress factors. The unfortunate thing is that stress doesn’t end once you leave college, only the specific causes do. This may seem like negative news, but it doesn’t have to be. Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Your body actually needs some levels of stress in order to function optimally. However, the problem arises when people do not know how to manage their stress.

Managing stress is especially important for college students when there are many more stress factors added into your life. College life is known to be stressful and is mixed with anxiety, anticipation, and many different emotions.  Too much stress can lead to a negative impact on your overall health. It can influence your immune system and cause sickness and fatigue, or take away from other things that make you healthy such as eating right and exercising. Additionally, stress can have a negative impact on your academics…and isn’t that why you’re in this stressful situation in the first place? There are studies that prove a variety of stress factors can impact your GPA.

In order to stay on top of things, it is essential to find the right ways to combat these types of stressful situations, in college and after. There are many different forms of stress management, but one especially important method is rest. Whether it is the rest you get at night, during a nap, or even the break you take, it is essential to take a rest. Work places give you breaks for a reason; take that time to get your mind away from work. In school, you are responsible for you own study schedule-give yourself breaks. If you have a long night or day in the library, break it up. Every few hours get up for a few minutes; take your mind out of the books. If it’s nice outside, spend just a few minutes in the sun to feel happier or if you don’t want to head outside, even just take a couple minutes to walk around the library. Another idea during a rest is to take a coffee, tea, or snack break, get some healthy food in you to take your mind off your studying or stress and fuel you for what’s left of your study session.  Be sure to take breaks when you need them, but also be sure not to let them turn into distractions or procrastination because that will just lead to more stress!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, mental wellness, Sarah Sceery, Stress Management, UNH

Fall for the Fall

Friday, October 1, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

As the temperatures start to drop out of the 70’s, many people begin to get into “winter” mode and forget about all the great things the fall has to offer, especially in New England.  This season is a great time to take advantage of some outside physical activities.  Around UNH, you can find some great running routes or take a stroll through college woods. All the leaves are beginning to change colors and a walk in college woods is not only great for your health, but maybe a nice stress reliever too!

However, if you really want to take advantage of your surroundings, try going for a hike. With the cool weather and beautiful scenery, there are trails and mountains all over New Hampshire for hiking pros (such as parts of Mount Washington) or for hiking amateurs. Last year I went to Mt. Major, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee and it was a great physical challenge. There were different trails going up and it took about an hour and a half to reach the summit. Hiking up the mountain was a really great work out for my muscles and once I reached the top the whole experience paid off.   Hiking is a great way to get active with a group of friends. It could be a quick hike near Durham, or a day-long event somewhere up north. It’s an activity that works all different muscles in the body, and you can control the time and the intensity depending on how hard you work getting up the mountain. 

Before the cold and the snow come creeping in, make some time for outside exercise. Try to include a group of friends and make it a challenge between everyone. As your hiking, don’t forget to take a break and realize what’s around you! For trail information and places to go, check out this website for trails throughout New Hampshire.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Hiking, Physical Activity, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Breakfast is essential

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

As a child, it’s common for most people to hear from parents or doctors, “Eat your breakfast.” But as we get older and lifestyles change, a lot of people fall out of the trend of making sure they eat breakfast. As college students, life changes with dorm life or when you’re living on your own.  As the September is in full swing, classes are getting busier and activities are picking up. However, it is SO important for your overall health and body weight to eat what could be considered the most important meal of the day. 

Busy schedules and skipping breakfast doesn’t just work for college students. Eating a well-balanced, healthy breakfast is essential to everybody! An article from the Journal of American College of Nutrition shows  overall breakfast sets your balance for the rest of the day. In addition, it’s not only eating A breakfast but eating A healthy well-balanced meal.  It is important to have a breakfast that consists of protein, grains (such as whole grain breads or cereals) and fruits. A combination of these types of foods helps to keep your energy level up throughout the day. If you were to only eat a bagel for breakfast, you would probably experience an energy crash later on in the day (which would be worse for your hard classes or busy schedule than if you took a few minutes in the morning to include more substance).  If you only eat a breakfast sausage, you’re helping to increase your protein and energy levels but not providing the other nutrients your body needs.

In addition, people often skip breakfast in an attempt to manage their weight. But…in reality your actually causing a negative effect in doing so. By skipping breakfast, it can often lead to more snacking later on in the day, increasing food intake. Some good ideas for quick and healthy breakfast options on the go include: fruit, yogurt, & granola; a whole grain bagel with peanut butter and a piece of fruit; a trail mix made of whole grain cereals, nuts, and dried fruit; or even some instant breakfast options. Just remember, for a great start to the day, DON’T SKIP IT!

For information about breakfast, please visit the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 

Tagged In: Breakfast, Health, Healthy UNH, Nutrition, Sarah Sceery, UNH

Student Health Fee

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
By: Sarah Sceery

As an out-of-state student, whenever that time for the tuition bill comes around, I often find myself bewildered as to how much money we pay. Where is all this money going? What are we paying for? There is one category that many students may not even pay attention to: Mandatory Fees. So what are these Mandatory Fees and what do they do for us?

One of these fees that is actually fairly important is the Health Fee. For 2010/2011 the fee is $288.50 per semester or $577.00 per year. This may seem like a lot of money for a college student but it’s actually not if you realize what you can get for it! This money goes toward coverage at UNH Health Services and the Office of Health and Education Promotion. Contrary to what some may believe, health services isn’t just a place to go when you’re sick. They offer counseling services, helpful wellness information, testing, events, and even massages! With the fee, students are able to get many of the benefits at little to no cost.  The fee covers: Appointments (with physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners) - which at a normal doctors office you have to at least pay a co-pay. It also covers the cost of appointments for counseling, wellness educators, and nutrition counseling. In addition, most X-Ray costs are covered, some prescriptions, some lab tests, and presentations or classes that are offered.  As a comparison, for a foot X-Ray at Health Services (if you had UNH Health Insurance) you would pay about $7. If you were to pay for the same thing out of pocket (with no insurance) at Portsmouth Regional Hospital it would cost: $455 and at Wentworth Douglass Hospital: $488! Those numbers demonstrate just a small part of how expensive health costs are outside of UNH.

These options are just a few of the resources offered at Health Services. Although the fee may seem high, UNH is less than UMASS at $654 per year and a little over URI at $480 per year. It’s important to take advantage of the resources you still have a student because after school…those fees and services become a lot more expensive!

 

Tagged In: Cost, Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Services, Healthy UNH, Sarah Sceery, UNH