Healthy UNH Blogger: Katie Cardinal, All Entries

Aquacise at UNH

Friday, May 6, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Looking for a new, creative way to get into shape for bathing suit season? How about aquacising?  Water fitness classes are available to all UNH students. These classes provide basic aerobic exercise in shallow or deep water, and are low impact but with the same intensity as a land-based aerobic class. This is great for people with knee or ankle problems and is a sure bet way to get you ready for bathing suit season. Each class is set to music and starts with a warm-up, proceeds into an aerobic segment, and ends with a cool-down accompanied with stretching exercises. Classes are approximately 30 minutes in duration and are free to all UNH students and members of the Hamel Recreation Center and Pool Pass Holders. All others interested in the class pay a minor $5.00 fee per class.

Aquacise classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:10 – 12:45 pm; the Monday class in shallow water and the Wednesday class in deep water. Also available are the Bikini Boot Camp and the Liquid Challenge, which take place Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, respectively, both in shallow water.

For more information on water fitness classes at UNH, please click here.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH, UNH Program

HIIT Your Way to Fitness

Monday, April 25, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

I’ve recently reached a plateau in my workouts where I work out just as hard as I used to, but am no longer seeing the results. After getting quite discouraged and searching online for what to do, I discovered the best thing to do is to switch up my routine. To do so I’ve begun high intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT. Not only am I getting a workout of a lifetime, it’s making me more energized everyday and I’m actually beginning to see some results. So far it’s a win-win situation.

So what is HIIT you ask? HIIT is similar to interval training only it’s done at a higher level or faster pace and it involves a rest period between high intensity bouts. To perform high intensity interval training correctly, you begin with a 5-minute warm-up followed by intervals of high and low intensity activity. For my workout, I use minute-long intervals where I run/pedal as fast as I possibly can for one minute and run/pedal slowly for the next minute, and repeat. High intensity interval training usually doesn’t last very long – usually only 15-20 minutes in addition to the 5-minute warm-up and cool-down.

So why is HIIT great? The options are nearly endless when you’re considering HIIT. You can do HIIT on a stationary bike, a treadmill, the Stair Master, with weights, or my personal favorite, the arc trainer. Trainers believe HIIT is the best workout method for burning fat and retaining muscle, which is a great flaw of lengthy running routines. HIIT is also preferred by people who are on the go because you’re burning a large amount of calories in a short period of time. Including the warm-up and cool-down, the majority of HIIT routines do not exceed 30 minutes, which is great for people who don’t have a lot of time to workout.

What is important to remember about HIIT training is to do it only 3-4 days a week to give your body time to repair between workouts. Also important is to consider your current fitness level prior to beginning high intensity interval training. If you’re not in the best of shape, don’t start out full-tilt because you could end up injuring yourself. If you’re a beginner do a jog-walk routine and work your way up to a sprint-walk or even sprint-jog routine. Every 4-6 weeks try to mix up your routine to keep your body guessing and working hard. You never know, THIS could be your fat loss answer.

For more information on high intensity interval training, please click here.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH

Coping with Destruction Trauma

Monday, April 18, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Were you severely disturbed by the tsunami in Japan? How about the incredible aftershocks that continuously debilitate the land? If you’re one of the thousands, who cannot stop thinking about these poor people or perhaps were a part of those awful days, you may need help. Traumatic events such as the tsunami and 9/11 have caused severe stress to individuals throughout the world and something must be done before it gets out of control.

Here are 6 ways to cope with stress and trauma before it’s too late:

Talk about It: The best way to deal with stress is to talk about what’s stressing you out - what you felt that day, how you feel now, and how it’s impacting your life. Talk about where you’ve been and plan to move forward past the trauma. Joining a therapy group with others who have had similar trauma in their life may provide a comfortable setting for you to talk.

Rest, Exercise and Eat Healthy: Though you may just want to reach for that giant cookie and tub of ice cream, it’s one of the greatest disservices you can do for yourself. By taking care of yourself physically, you will help with your emotional and mental healing process following bouts of trauma and high stress.

Allow Yourself to Grieve: Many people, especially men, don’t allow themselves to grieve. Whether it’s because they’re too tough, don’t have the time, or just don’t want to feel weak, they need to allow time to grieve so they can get past the situation altogether.

Use the Resources Available to You: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to take advantages of support groups in your community. Even support chat groups online could be helpful for you to talk about the situation. When people work together to get better, they tend to build a sense of confidence and hope for the future, which helps greatly in the healthy process.

Manage Internal Stress and Anxiety: When you’re feeling worried or panicked, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath to calm yourself and to manage your anxiety. Keeping things in is never the answer, so be sure to let it out, breathe, and look to the future.

Ask Why: During trauma, especially natural disasters, people often question their faith in God or other spiritual beings and how they could allow such an incidence to occur. It IS ok to question your beliefs and to talk to spiritual leaders of counselors about how you’re feeling to make yourself feel better about the situation.

For more information and tips on dealing with trauma and stress, visit the Total Life Counseling website.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Mental Health, mental wellness, UNH

There is a Fracture - I need to Fix It

Saturday, April 13, 2013
By: Katie Cardinal

A popular animated web video has been circulating the medical profession depicting an orthopedic surgeon trying to convince an anesthesiologist that he needs to operate on a person because “there is a fracture; [he] need[s] to fix it.” What the orthopedic surgeon doesn’t tell the anesthesiologist is that the fracture is on the femur of a 97-year old woman who already died. Though the scenario is a little far-fetched, it depicts the constant struggle of medical professionals to determine when surgery is truly needed and whether or not doctors are just performing surgeries for the glory and the paycheck associated with operation.

Americans are currently spending more than $2.3 trillion annually on health care. Clearly something needs to be done. If you were a doctor, would you give a hip replacement to an elderly person with terminal cancer? How about giving a pricey treatment to someone you know cannot afford it? There is no clear-cut answer to these questions, but the government has been trying to make a difference.

To assist doctors in making their treatment decisions, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was put into place in March of 2010. The Act essentially aims to deliver health care that respects both patient and family preferences while also controlling rising health care costs. The Act gives new rights and benefits to American people by allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26, to end lifetime and most annual limits on care, to help more children get health coverage, and to give patients access to recommended preventive services without cost. The government and American people alike hope The Act helps to reduce health care costs across the board. Only time will truly tell if it works. 

Until that time we, as American citizens, need to work hard to keep our doctors honest as to which treatments are needed, which are optional, and which are just burning a hole in our pockets. Certainly it won’t be an easy task, considering the medical profession is the largest and biggest moneymaking industry in the world, but we must fight together. With time Americans will start spending less on medicine and more on what really matters in life: family, friends, and happiness.

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, UNH

To Buy Organic or Not To Buy Organic, That is the Question

Friday, April 8, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

There’s recently been a lot of commotion surrounding organic goods. You walk down the grocery aisle and nearly every single item has an organic counterpart that is about twice the price of the non-organic option. Despite your good intentions, you probably cannot afford to buy everything organic. The question is, then, which goods are worth buying organic and which are not so important? Here is a list of the top five goods that you don’t necessarily need to buy the organic version of:

AVOCADOS - Since avocados have a thick skin that you don’t eat, they’re among the top choices of what NOT to purchase organic. Before cutting into an avocado just remember to wash the peel and you should be all set. Foods such as watermelons and cantaloupes would also fall under this “thick skinned” category.

 EGGS – Though chicken eggs are among the most popular items to purchase organically, there is really no need. Chickens, as a rule, are not given growth hormones, meaning there is little difference between “normal” eggs and organic eggs. Research has also known that “normal” factory eggs have no fewer contaminants than organic eggs, so why waste the money?

FROZEN FOOD IN PLASTIC BAGS – Many people worry that chemicals will be leached into their fruits and vegetables from the bag. This, however, is nearly impossible. As long as you’re not planning on heating the contents of the bag, which increases the likelihood of chemicals being leached, you should be fine.

SPICES – Even though spices may be susceptible to absorbing chemical agents, you use such a small amount of spices in daily basis that they really should not harm your health in any way.

CLOTHING – Though purchasing organic clothing is much better for the environment, there is no real health benefit to the consumer. The cotton may be sprinkled with pesticides, but the likelihood that there will be enough pesticides to seep into your body is highly unlikely.

For more information on organic goods, please visit health.com.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Shin Splits

Friday, April 1, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Injury and fear of injury are two of the primary reasons individuals either stop their current workout regiment or never begin. Recently, I have been dealing with shin splints, which is not only making my vigorous daily workout nearly impossible, but also daily life. A shin splint, otherwise known as tibial stress syndrome, occurs when you feel a sharp throbbing or aching feeling in your shins either during or just after physical activity. Causes of such pain include flat feet, stress fractures in the lower leg bones, and irritated or swollen muscles in the shins caused by overuse.

The most obvious treatment for shin splints is to simply stop doing the activities that are causing them. In my case, that is much easier said than done. The pain of my shin splints heightens while at work and while at the gym - two things that I definitely cannot give up. Alternative methods to reduce the pain of shin splints include: 

  • Icing the shin the reduce pain and swelling 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days or until the pain is gone
  • Use of a neoprene sleeve for support and to warm the leg
  • Range of motion exercises to stretch the muscles
  • Physical therapy
  • Arch support shoes
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers

It may take several weeks to months in order for your shin splints to heal completely. You will know you’re cured when your injured leg is as flexible and feels as strong as your other leg, you can jog, sprint, and jump without pain, and your x-rays are normal or show stress fractures have healed.

If you’ve never had shin splits or you have before and want to prevent them from occurring again you should warm up before working out, making sure you’re stretching the muscles in your legs. At the onset of pain you should stop that activity as soon as possible and move to another non-painful activity. In the case of flat feet, you should always wear shoes with good support and padding and never run on hard surfaces, such as concrete, which impact the shins more traumatically.

To learn more about shin splints, click here.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Mind

Friday, March 25, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia found in people aged sixty-five and older. Today, upwards of 5.3 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s. One person is diagnosed every seventy seconds. Though many cases of Alzheimer’s are gene-related, the majority are not. Studies have recently shown dietary interventions may help protect against mental decline and potentially prevent brain-wasting diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Dietary interventions are as follows:

Dark Chocolate - Flavonoids in cocoa have been seen to increase blood flow to the brain, which may reduce the likelihood of dementia and protect against stroke.

Red Wine - Similarly to the dark chocolate, red wine is rich in flavonoids and polyphenolics, such as resveratrol, which have been seen increase blood flow to the brain and reduce the likelihood of dementia.

Clams - Elderly individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 have been seen to have a four-fold increased risk of Alzheimer’s.  Low vitamin B12 levels lead to increased blood levels of homocysteine, which increases the risk of not only dementia, but heart attack as well. Clams are a fantastic source of vitamin B12, containing 98.9 mcg of vitamin B12 in 100 grams of clams, which is 1648% of the RDA.

Asparagus - Individuals with low folate intake have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. In adding asparagus to your diet, you will fulfill nearly 68% of your daily folate needs.

Wild Salmon - Individuals who consume an average of three servings of oily fish per week have been seen to have a nearly fifty percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Eating oily fish such as wild salmon not only increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but also increase vitamin D and B12 in the body, which have been linked to reduced neurodegenerative disorders.

Walnuts  - A moderate, but not high intake of walnuts has been seen to improve motor and cognitive skills due to their combination of polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, and other bioactive substances.

Cherries - The same antioxidant compounds (anthocyanins) that give cherries their bright red color also contain anti-inflammatory properties that work like pain medications without the annoying side effects.

Turmeric - Curcumin in turmeric, which is often found in curry dishes, effectively removes plagues from the brain, which degrade brain cells and lead of Alzheimer’s.

Apples - Skins of apples are rich in quercetin, which has been found to protect the brain from damages associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Eating a diet consisting of these foods can aid in warding off Alzheimer’s and dementia. What is important to remember here, however, is to not consume high amounts of dark chocolate mixed with high fat cream, red wine in excess, or too many walnuts which may lead to other health complications. For more information on these nine brain power foods, click visit the Conscious Life website.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Mental Health, mental wellness, Nutrition, UNH

Cornucopia Food Pantry

Friday, March 18, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

The Cornucopia Food Pantry is a non-profit organization consisting of UNH staff, students, and community individuals who work together to provide food baskets for needy UNH students, staff, faculty, and their families. Located at the Waysmeet Center at the United Campus Ministry to UNH at 15 Mill Road, the Cornucopia Food Pantry works with local businesses and farmers to provide essential foods to families in need. The Cornucopia Food Pantry relies heavily on donations from community members to complete their food baskets and perpetuate their business.

Last year alone, the Cornucopia Food Pantry provided approximately 520 food gift baskets to families in need, which fed approximately 2,500 people. In addition to food baskets, Cornucopia also served approximately 1,200 people on a weekly and emergency basis, typically serving 15 to 20 families per week.

Cornucopia currently runs food basket drives every Thanksgiving, fall holiday season, and spring season. As economic times are getting tougher and jobs continue to be lost, Cornucopia’s efforts are becoming more and more important to community members. Cornucopia is always looking for more volunteers to help in their efforts.

For more information or to get involved with the Cornucopia Food Pantry, visit the website or contact the new Cornucopia Coordinator for 2011, Laura, at lgr8@cisunix.unh.edu.

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH, UNH Program

Smoothie Your Way to a Healthier Life

Monday, March 7, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Having a tough time consuming your recommended servings of fruit per day? Ever tried making a smoothie? Smoothies are a quick and easy way to fit in your daily recommended intake of fruits while enjoying a delicious sweet treat. All you need is a blender, some fruit, and some juice. The best part, you can hide other healthy foods in them too! My personal favorite smoothie is what I call the Tropical Island Smoothie. Here’s the recipe:

                 ¾ cup frozen mango

                ¼ cup frozen strawberry

                1 inch slice of banana

                ¼ cup pineapple

                1 cup of orange juice

Put all the fruit into a blender with approximately ¾ cup of the orange juice. Blend until it starts to get smooth and gradually add the last ¼ cup of orange juice until desired thickness. Occasionally I mix my orange juice with a little bit of water so the orange flavor isn’t overpowering over all of the other delicious fruit flavors.

Other great options to add into your smoothie to give it an extra healthy punch are vegetables! Adding just a few leaves of romaine lettuce, kale, or even some carrots or broccoli can add the benefits of vegetables while masking the taste with the fruit.

The rule of thumb with smoothies is to put in whatever fruits and vegetables you like and test it until you get your desired flavor. Some people use yogurts and sherbet, while others use frozen fruit or ice. Whatever your preference, remember that smoothies are a great way to get your recommended daily intake of fruits, and are great snacks or meals to keep you full longer.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Monday, February 28, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Are you tired of being cooped up inside all winter long? Do you needing some activity to take part in outside of your local gym? Well do something about it! There are a variety of winter activities right outside your doorstep that are extremely affordable and extremely fun. The best part - you can burn calories while doing so!

Ice skating is a wonderful winter activity that takes balance, persistence, and patience. The best part about ice skating is that you can do it as leisurely or as intense as you would like. Calorielab.com has an online tool to help you calculator the number of calories burned while participating in a particular activity.  For a 150 pound person, ice skating burns approximately 408 calories per hour. Once you get good you could even try skating over 9 mph or speed skating, which burns approximately 544 and 952 calories per hour, respectively.

Skiing is one of the most popular winter sports and is a great workout. Cross-country skiing burns approximately 476 calories per hour for a 150 pound person and downhill skiing burns approximately 408 calories per hour. Cross-country skiing at a faster pace or uphill can burn even more calories per hours, upwards of more than 1,000.

One greatly underrated winter activity is snowshoeing. Throughout the past few years I have really taken an interest in snowshoeing as it is a great workout and is quite relaxing. Similarly to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing burns approximately 476 calories per hour. Of course you can always increase the workout by climbing up hills and trying to run in the snow.

Finally, who would have thought that sledding and snowmobiling could be a workout? On average, sledding burns as many calories as downhill skiing at 408 calories per hour. 170 calories are burned per hour while snowmobiling.

The next time you’re bored inside when there’s a field of glistening snow outside – GET OUT THERE! Whether it’s sledding and snowshoeing or just having a simple snowball fight, the fresh air will make you feel free and the workout is definitely worth the time.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH

Active Minds at UNH

Monday, February 21, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Established in the UNH community in the spring of 2010, Active Minds is a relatively new student-run group on campus that aims to remove the social stigma that surrounds mental issues on campuses throughout North America. The goal of Active Minds is to provide information and resources to students regarding mental health issues in order to increase awareness and gain support. In discussing the occurrence and characteristics of mental illnesses, Active Minds hopes to encourage students to seek help as soon as needed and to create an open, comfortable environment for conversation about mental health issues on campuses.

Though Active Minds is not currently being funded by the University, they have been working closely with Healthy UNH to plan activities for the current spring 2011 semester. The organization plans to tackle the most common mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, first, and then move on to rare illnesses in the future. With the support of students, Active Minds hopes to expand their organization throughout campus, receive funding from the University to plan events, and eventually stop the stigma associated with mental illnesses on campus.

For more information on Active Minds at a national level, please visit their website. Any questions, concerns, or comments involving Active Minds at UNH can be directed to the President of Active Minds, Janet Mesh, who can be reached at jmq239@unh.edu.

 

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Mental Health, mental wellness, UNH

Friends Supporting Friends Information Session

Monday, February 14, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

SHARPP is the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program at UNH that provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Within the UNH community, SHARPP provides emotional support, academic interventions, advocacy, crisis intervention, medical and legal accompaniment, and resources and referrals to those in need. Most importantly, SHARPP is available to all UNH students regardless of age, gender, race, religious or political affiliation, health status, socioeconomic status, national origin, and physical, mental, or emotional ability.

Once a month, SHARPP holds a “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” in the MUB that focuses on friends of victims and survivors of sexual and relationship violence. More often than not, when an individual is being abused, they tell a friend. This often puts the friend into a hard position determining what advice they should give the person being abused, who they should tell, and how they can protect both their friend and themselves. The “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” is used to educate these “friends” about how to deal with the situation. Discussions with trained facilitators and other students will help the individuals learn specific ways they can support their friends while also caring for themselves.

The next three “Friends Supporting Friends Information Session” are on February 15th from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in MUB room 233, March 22nd, and April 26th. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dawn Zitney via email at dawn.zitney@unh.edu or by phone at (603) 862-1901. If you cannot attend a meeting and would like to meet with someone individually, please call the SHARPP office at (603) 862-3494 or SHARPP’s 24/7 helpline at (603)862-7266.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, mental wellness, UNH, UNH Program

Food Court Finds

Monday, February 7, 2011
By: Katie Cardinal

Face it - we’ve all been walking through the mall when we stumble upon the food court. The sweet aroma of pizza, Chinese food, and cinnamon buns is almost intoxicating. But how on earth are you supposed to fit into the skinny jeans you just bought if you’re filling your body with such high-fat, calorie-dense foods? Nicole DeCoursy recently published an article that outlined the 10 healthiest foods you can find at the mall food court. The foods are as follows:

 

  • Asian Grilled Salmon on Brown Rice from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
    • The brown rice is high in fiber and the salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Moroccan Chicken Salad from California Pizza Kitchen
    • The colorful salad provides a wide variety of antioxidants in addition to protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
  • Chicken on Flatbread with Hummus Artisan Snack Plate from Starbucks
    • This quick, on-the-go snack is colorful, high in protein, and low in calories.
  • Roasted Eggplant, Spinach, and Feta Multigrain Pizza from UNO Chicago Grill
    • This entire pizza (which actually serves three) is colorful and full of whole-wheat flour.
  • Mayan Chicken Harvest Rice Bowl with Brown Rice from Au Bon Pain
    • The brown rice is high in fiber and the chicken provides lean protein.
  • Broccoli Beef with White Rice from Panda Express
    • Though Panda Express does not offer a white rice alternative such as brown rice, this dish is low in sodium for most Chinese dishes and had a large portion of broccoli.
  • 6-Inch Veggie Delite with Swiss from Subway
    • This sandwich is satisfying and low in calories. Don’t feel bad adding cheese or light mayonnaise to balance off the array of vegetables.
  • Asian Sesame Chicken Salad from Panera Bread
    • This salad is high in protein due to the chicken, almonds, and sesame seeds. The downside to the salad is that there are no other vegetables other than lettuce and the reduced-sugar dressing contains high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Snack Size Fruit and Walnut Salad from McDonald’s
    • Reach for the snack size fruit and walnut salad when you’re hungry, but not quite hungry enough for a whole meal. The yogurt is low in fat and sweet to the taste.
  • Soft Serve Chocolate Frozen Yogurt from TCBY
    • Craving something sweet? This chocolate frozen yogurt is rich in calcium, low in calories, and contains healthy bacteria to help with digestion.

It is important to remember that many of these foods contain more than one serving. Be sure to ask each restaurant if you can look at their nutritional facts to see exactly what you’re getting. The Asian Grilled Salmon on Brown Rice from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, for instance, is enough for two, and the pizza from UNOs is enough for three. Don’t hesitate to share your meal with your shopping buddy to save on calories and on cash!

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Facial Reflexology for Stress Relief

Thursday, December 9, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

When you get angry or happy or sad, where do you show your emotions first? Your face, of course! Your face is one of the most expressive parts of your body to the outside world. From talking, chewing, and laughing to grinding teeth, smiling, and frowning, your face gets quite a workout on a daily basis. For this reason, facial muscles hold a lot of stress and tension simply due to living. But what if there was something to do in order to reduce the tension in your face and your overall stress level?

The technique of facial reflexology was created by Lone Sorenson, who combined the modern science of neurology with the ancient therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, South American Zone Therapy, and Vietnamese face maps and points. The idea behind facial reflexology revolves around the number of nerves and blood vessels in the face in addition to the face’s proximity to the brain. With face reflexology, stimulation of the points and zones via fingertip pressure trigger the release of endorphins and serotonin, leaving the face feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Such stimulation also sends impulses through the central nervous system and the meridians to the physical body and the major organs. In this way facial reflexology stimulates blood circulation and lymphatic drainage in addition to balancing hormones and leveling emotions. The technique clams the body and allows it to heal itself.

Facial reflexology has a variety of utilizations, including the treatment of specific conditions, to maintain health, and to simply relax the face. Facial reflexology has been used for the following conditions: allergies, anxiety and stress, arthritis, bells palsy, depression, digestive problems, insomnia, infertility, migraines, and stroke rehabilitation. Reflexology has also been used for children who have learning challenges, problems concentrating, difficulty remaining in their seat, having no friends, peers-caused emotional difficulties, weak memory and recall, and stress and anxiety.

Following the facial reflexology session an individual usually feels deeply relaxed with a healthier complexion and radiant face. In some cases an individual may experience headaches, chills, profuse sweating, or changes in bowel and urination due to the detoxification effects of facial reflexology. It is important to remember that all of the symptoms are only temporary and will return to normal. Individuals should get plenty of rest and consume plenty of water to support the body in its transition.

 

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, mental wellness, Stress, UNH

Working Out to Healthier Skin

Monday, November 29, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

We all know that physical activity has a direct impact on muscle tone and cardiovascular health, but did you know regular exercise can have a positive impact on skin health? That’s right, regular physical activity has been linked to healthier, younger looking skin in addition to reduced risk of acne and breakouts.

A recent article by Colette Bouchez on WebMD Online investigated the benefits of physical activity when it comes to skin health. Here’s a brief overview of her findings:

  • Exercise is used as a stress-reduction technique for individuals throughout the world. When you exercise, your adrenal glands produce fewer male-type hormones that cause acne flare-ups. In this way, exercise is used to reduce acne flare-ups, especially for individuals who already have acne.
  • Regular exercise increases sweating throughout the entire body, which can unclog pores and reduce the occurrence of breakouts.
  •  Exercise enhances the natural production of collagen, which plumps your skin and gives you a more youthful appearance.
  • Exercise stretches and strengthens skin, which reduces the appearance of cellulite.
  • Yoga stretches in addition to controlled and conscious breathing techniques have been seen to give the facial skin a face-lift appearance.
  • Aerobic exercise is seen to “cleanse’ the skin by removing toxins such as cigarette smoke and air pollution.
  • Exercise encourages muscles to become more pliable and hold less tension, which reduces expression lines and crow’s feet.
  • Exercise promotes better blood circulation, which gives the skin a rosy appearance. Keeping yourself hydrated before, during, and after exercise contributes to healthy skin appearance.

As you can see, the benefits of physical activity when it comes to skin care are almost endless. Not only does physical activity reduce your likelihood of acne and breakouts, but also reduces the appearance of cellulite, cleanses the skin of toxins, and gives your skin a plump, more youthful appearance. To read more on the benefits and reasoning behind working out for skin health, please visit WebMD.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH

You Say Potato...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

For years we’ve been taught that potatoes are bad for you. Their presence at the top of the Food Guide Pyramid is attributed to their starch content and somewhat high glycemic index. But what if the health benefits of potatoes outweighed their downfalls? Certainly potatoes shouldn’t be eaten daily to a sugar freak or diabetic, but they are quite healthy and actually beneficial to others if eaten in moderation. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of potatoes…

  • Potatoes contain all 22 amino acids to form complete proteins 
  • Potatoes are a high source of potassium (higher than bananas)
  • Potatoes are rich in minerals and Vitamin C and B
  • Potatoes contain 60 different kinds of phytochemicals in the skin and fles
  • Some potatoes contain high amounts of folic acid, quercetin and kukoamine
  • Potatoes are antioxidant dense

Potatoes are also ecologically friendly as they can be grown in a small area all year round and it only takes a few to make a meal. Many experts suggest that if they were to only choose one food for survival, it would be potatoes. What’s important to remember is to keep your potatoes healthy. Don’t fry the potatoes because that can add unwanted fats to the meal. Bake, boil, or sauté your potatoes for easy cooking and healthier eating.

So the next time you’re making a family meal, don’t shy away from potatoes for fear of their glycemic index. Mash them up, skin on, and serve them with your favorite vegetable and meat. Always remember to prepare your potatoes in the healthiest manner (avoid frying), include the skins, and to eat them in moderation. The nutritional components of the potato could help save your life.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Fat Talk Free Week: A Success Among UNH Students

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

Have you noticed the table at the MUB promoting Fat Talk Free Week? How about the shirts around campus reading, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Fat Talk”? Have you been wondering what all the hoopla is over ‘fat talk’? If so, you’ve come to the right place to learn!

Fat Talk Free Week was established by Delta Delta Delta to raise awareness of the dangers of ‘fat talk’ and the impact it has on self-esteem and confidence levels of women throughout the world.  “Does my butt look fat in these jeans?” “I need to lose a few pounds.” “You look great, have you lost weight?” These are all examples of ‘fat talk’ that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to body dissatisfaction. In stating these ‘fat talk’ phrases we, in a way, are judging ourselves and putting ourselves down. The goal of Fat Talk Free Week is to stop people, primarily women, from using these phrases in order to focus more on health and less on the thin ideal.

Today, more than 10 million women are battling eating disorders in our country, primarily due to the thin ideal put forth by society. In utilizing Fat Talk Free Week we, as a whole, are trying to stop individuals throughout the nation from judging and critiquing themselves by using ‘fat talk.’ As individuals begin to notice the ‘fat talk’ in their lives, they can stop it at the source. Rather than comparing ourselves to the abnormally skinny models we see in magazines and on the television, we can begin to accept our bodies and learn to love ourselves for who we are. Fat Talk Free Week was a huge success at UNH and could be the start of an anti-judging revolution.

For more information on Fat Talk Free Week please visit Reflections Body Image Program.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Community Health Centers

Friday, November 5, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

Do you have health insurance? Do you find yourself struggling to pay off medical bills? Where do you go if you’ve run out of money and desperately need a medication or medical procedure? Have no fear, Community Health Centers are here!

Community Health Centers are public, non-profit facilities that provide medical, dental, mental health and even chiropractic care as well as health education and specialty care to individuals regardless of age, sex, marital status, race, and income levels. Community Health Centers place a special emphasis on providing quality care to the underserved. Not only do they accept most insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare, but also offer a sliding scale payment plan for the uninsured, making care affordable for everyone. Whether you simply cannot afford health insurance or have reached the maximum payment you can pay with your current plan; Community Health Centers are here to help you.

So if you need medical care or medications and cannot afford the cost of health insurance or hospital bills, give a Community Health Center a visit. They have a variety of specialized departments, including nutrition, teen health, and woman’s health in addition to WIC programs and health education classes. Community Health Centers are known for providing prescription medications for individuals to stop them from purchasing such medications off the streets and for providing birth control contraceptives to women of all ages. The mission of Community Health Centers is to increase the health and well-being of patients without embarking monetary stress on their lives.

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, UNH

Hypnotizing the Stress Away

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

What do you think of when you hear the word hypnotism? Do you envision a person fluttering around stage like a butterfly? Or how about a person on stage that sees everyone in the audience as being naked? Comic hypnotists have shaped our opinions and ideas when it comes to hypnotism and the hypnotic state. What many don’t realize is that hypnotism can actually be used as a stress reduction technique.

This week in my Stressed Out class we had a guest speaker who is a local hypnotist that came in to our class to clear up some common misconceptions about hypnotism and to show our class how hypnotism can be used to reduce stress levels. Many people believe that hypnotism is an unconscious state where the individual loses control of his or her body and is at the beck and call of the hypnotist. This is not the truth. Sure, hypnotists use their techniques to have volunteers act out funny situations on stage, but hypnotism is actually a conscious state of brain function.

When using hypnotism for stress relief an individual should start concentrating on an image, such as a kaleidoscope of colors on an enlarged computer screen. The individual should then begin to relax the various parts of his or her body, focusing primarily on relaxing the muscles around the eyes and moving outwards to all parts of the body. If an individual wishes to change a habit, such as to stop smoking or eating healthier, he or she should focus on that idea while in the hypnotic state, so the conscious brain can communicate with the subconscious state to make your goals more attainable and first-hand. The idea behind hypnotism for stress relief is to simply relax the body for a few minutes and to clear the mind. When we experienced the hypnotic state during class, I used a distal finger thermometer to compare my initial pre-hypnosis temperature to my post-hypnosis temperature. What I found was that my temperature actually increased approximately two degrees fahrenheit, which suggests that I was in a more calm/tranquil state after the hypnotic event.

Following my hypnotic state, I felt like a completely new person. I was relaxed, worry-free, and ready to take on the world. I was absolutely amazed at how well the hypnotism worked on me and look forward to participating in more hypnotic states in the future. To try some simple hypnotic techniques on your own time, visit these online videos.  

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, mental wellness, Stress, UNH

Step it Up

Monday, October 18, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

Throughout the past three weeks I’ve been wearing a pedometer to count the number of steps I take on a given day. Being a fairly active person who walks to class rather than taking the bus and works as a server at a very busy restaurant in Newington, I assumed that I walked approximately two to four miles per day. What I found, however, absolutely astonished me. On school days, work days, and days where I both went to school and worked I walked approximately two to four, seven to twelve, and ten to fourteen miles, respectively. This means that on average I walked approximately forty-three miles per week – isn’t that crazy?

This little experiment got me thinking about ways to boost the number of steps you take on a daily basis. These are the tips I have for you:

1. Park further away in parking lots. Rather than weaving in and out of people walking and waiting for that ever-desired front parking spot, park in the back of the lot. It’s not a big deal for you, as it will only take a few seconds in extra time, but could really add on the steps on a daily basis!

 2. Take the stairs. Rather than always using the elevator or escalator available for convenience, try taking the stairs every now and then. It might not be very fun at the beginning, but the sight of the last step will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished a task.

3. Change the television channel manually. Rather than using the remote to change the channel with the simple finger click of the button, get up and change the channel manually. I’ve been without a remote for the past few months, and I must say, it does add a little walking time onto my daily routine.

4. Avoid the bus. While the bus is definitely a great alternative to driving on your own, try walking everywhere on campus. Not only will it save you time waiting at the bus stop, but will definitely add a substantial number of steps to your daily count

5. Walk the dog. A very large percentage of American citizens have dogs for pets. The question is, do they always walk their dog? If you’re a person who is guilty of not walking your dog on a daily basis, start a walking routine. You’ll be earning brownie points for your dog and increasing your daily steps.

 Benefits of walking include, but are not limited to:

  1. Improving circulation
  2. Enhancing muscle tone
  3. Helps breathing
  4. Helps with weight control
  5. Prevents and controls diabetes
  6. Combats depression
  7. Heart health
  8. Boosts the immune system
  9. Helps prevent osteoporosis
  10. Reduces stress

To learn more about the benefits of walking and more tips for increasing your daily walking routine, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Tagged In: Fitness, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity

Extreme Makeover: Nutrition Label Edition

Thursday, October 7, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

Approximately twenty years ago, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which required all packaged foods to display a detailed nutrition facts label. This label was to include serving sizes, energy content, and ingredients. Overtime, however, companies have come up with a variety of ways to “trick” consumers with the writing they present on their packaged goods. Due to this deception by food producers, the Center for Science in the Public Interest wants to give the nutrition label a makeover! The suggested changes are as follows:

 The use of symbols on the front of packages to give shoppers a quick snapshot of key nutrients.

  • Put calorie and serving size information at the top of the food label in larger font so it’s easy to read and stands out to consumers.
  • Change the all-caps type of ingredient lists to regular type and separate ingredients with bullets.
  • Separate the ingredients list into minor and major ingredient lists. Highlight all potential allergens and their information in red.
  • Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20% of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium, or cholesterol. Use other colors such as yellow and orange to signify low and medium content, respectively.
  • Label which sugars occur naturally in the product and which are added.
  • List caffeine content.
  • Display the percentage of whole grains contained in the product.

The “new” nutrition facts label looks quite different from the ordinary label we see today. The Center for Science in the Public Interest hope that the label will not only draw the attention of shoppers, but will also encourage people to start caring about what is in their food.

Tagged In: Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Nutrition, UNH

Generics: A Tough Pill to Swallow?

Monday, September 27, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

When you go to the pharmacy, which prescription do you choose? Do you go for the brand-name pill that’s been  around for years or the generic drug to save yourself a little money? What do you base your decision on? Do you  ever wonder if the generics are as reliable as the brand-name drugs?

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group recently published an article discussing the myths and facts about generic  drugs. The essence of the piece suggested that there were virtually no difference between brand-name and  generic drugs on the shelf. Contrary to popular belief, generics are held to the same FDA standards as brand-name  drugs when it comes to quality, strength, purity, and stability. Generic drugs work equally to brand-name drugs, meaning they are just as safe and there are no additional side effects or warnings to taking generic drugs. All drugs, regardless if they are brand-name or generic, are all manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities that are closely inspected and regulated by the FDA.

The only true differences between brand-name drugs and generics are the length of time they have been available to consumers and their price. Brand-name drugs have a seven-year patent after approval when generics equivalents cannot be sold. During this time a lot of the “kinks” are figured out in the brand-name drugs and many times they are discontinued from market before a generic equivalent is even produced. As far as price is concerned, generic drugs are substantially more affordable than brand-name drugs. This does not mean that generics are of less quality, but simply you are not paying for the brand-name and all the advertisements associated with the name. On average you will save anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per pill. Depending on the number of pills you take in a given year, generics could save you hundreds of dollars.

Experts suggest going with generics, especially if it is your first time taking the drug. You will get the same effect as brand-name prescriptions and save yourself a lot of money. 

Tagged In: Health, Health Care Consumerism, Health Cost, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, UNH

Changing the Pyramid

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
By: Katie Cardinal

For years, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Guide Pyramid focused on just that: food. It was a flat, one-dimensional view of the “perfect” diet that grouped all individuals, regardless of size or health status, into one category and focused primarily on counting calories and restricting serving sizes. When, however, the new Food Guide Pyramid was established in 2005, it took on a more complex, multidimensional look. As pictured above, the new Food Guide Pyramid focused on the utilization of vertical bands for each food group which taper toward the top of the pyramid. Not only do such bands suggest the portion of their diet that should be derived from each food group, but also that some foods within each group should be eaten more frequently (toward the base of the pyramid) or less frequently (toward the top of the pyramid).

Another major difference between the old and new Food Guide Pyramid is the presence of the person walking up the side of the pyramid. Such a graphic symbolizes the importance of physical activity and exercise in daily life.  The Pyramid suggests adults to participate in at least thirty minutes of exercise per day and children to participate in at least sixty minutes of physical activity per day to maintain current weight. In order to lose weight, an individual should not only reduce their caloric intake, but also increase their daily physical activity.

Another benefit to the new Food Guide Pyramid is its accessibility to the public and its ability to be customized. By visiting mypyramid.gov an individual can learn all about the Food Guide Pyramid, why it is constructed the way it is, and the exact number of servings of each food group and individual should consume, based on gender, height, weight, and goals. MyPyramid is a very helpful tool that is currently being used in schools throughout the nation to help children understand how to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Tagged In: Exercise, Food Pyramid, Health, Healthy UNH, Katie Cardinal, Physical Activity, UNH