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Meeting Student-Athletes' Nutritional Needs

Eating right while in college can be difficult. Junk food like pizza, burgers, and fried snacks are readily available on or near campus. Since cooking in dorms is generally prohibited, this leaves few healthy alternatives. The only vegetables in the vicinity may be found in the school’s cafeteria.

Failing to supply the body with the necessary nutrition can lead to all sorts of physical- and mental-health problems. Surviving on fast food may result in illness, fatigue, and other symptoms. College life is stressful enough without putting additional strain on the mind and body.

The situation can be worse for college athletes, who may be under even more pressure than other students. All that stress, along with the physical demands of sports, can be challenging. To stay healthy, and maximize their performance, student-athletes must be deliberate about nutrition.

Eat a Balanced Diet
You have heard it since you were a kid: “Eat your vegetables.” This is especially important for athletes. A variety of veggies, including the super-nutritious leafy ones, should be eaten every day. Fruits, whole grains, and protein are also essential. Avoid fried foods and white bread, and opt for fish instead of red meat a few times a week.

Sugar, salt, and saturated fats sap strength and energy. They also add body fat. These consequences are not only unhealthy; they can diminish an athlete’s performance on the field or court. A long-term effect of consuming large amounts of these substances may be increased vulnerability to illness and disease.

Don’t Forget Breakfast
Nutritionists emphasize the value of eating breakfast. They call it the most important meal of the day, because it replenishes the body after many hours of not eating. The hectic lives of college students require this fuel.

Breakfast is especially critical for those who play sports, as they often have morning practices or workouts. Such exertion on an empty stomach places a lot of strain on the body, which does not respond as well without food energy.

The key is to eat something in the morning, even if you oversleep and are in a hurry. At least grab a bagel and piece of fruit. Always having such ready-to-eat, nutritious items in your dorm room can save you from missing breakfast (or going to a fast-food restaurant). Ideally, the morning meal should include protein (from meat, eggs, and beans) and whole grains, as well as fruit.

Get Enough Protein
Many believe that physically active people should eat a lot of meat and other protein-rich foods. While protein is vital, overdoing it can be counterproductive. Too much protein may result in increased body fat, a loss of calcium, and dehydration. These conditions are particularly undesirable for athletes, who require toned muscles, strong bones, and well-hydrated systems.

The richest sources of protein are fish, beef, pork, and poultry. Dairy is another option. Eggs, as well as the whey protein in milk, are highly recommended. Other foods containing protein are beans, soy, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The best advice is to get protein from a variety of foods.

Consume Carbohydrates
Those seeking to shed pounds know they need to cut back on carbohydrates, which cause weight gain. However, avoiding carbs can be dangerous because they supply the body with the energy it needs to function properly. Athletes who neglect carbohydrates quickly become tired, and lose strength and endurance.

Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles, in the form of glycogen. The body converts glycogen into glucose (sugar), which boosts energy. Experts say that, for most people, the amount of glycogen the body can hold is enough for a 90-minute workout. Those who play sports, which usually last longer than that, are advised to load up on carbs for several days before the big game. This is really crucial for long-distance runners and bicyclists, swimmers, cross-country skiers, endurance athletes, and others whose activities are not only lengthy but also entail extreme physical exertion.

Candy, soda pop, and other sweets contain a lot of carbohydrates. However, they are considered “bad” carbs because they lack the vitamins and minerals found in “good” (complex) carbs. Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas (as well as vegetables, fruits, and brown rice) are examples of foods with good carbs.

Experts advise most people to ensure that carbohydrates make up a little more than half of their total food consumption. Athletes may want to increase the percentage somewhat, without getting too carried away. Diets consisting of 70 percent carbs are recommended for endurance athletes and others whose sports involve long, strenuous exercise.

Eat foods rich in carbohydrates before, during, and after intense physical activities. A small, high-carb meal an hour before a game or workout is advised. Pack a whole-grain muffin, sports bar, or fruit juice to refuel during a sports activity. Replenish the body afterword with a high-carb snack.

Drink Plenty of Water
Athletes must keep hydrated. They should drink water, sports drinks, or fruit juice before, during, and after exercising. Moisture lost via perspiration needs to be replaced, or the body will overheat and eventually break down.

Two cups of water before an activity, and at least one-half cup every 15-20 minutes while exercising, are recommended. Some authorities suggest starting with water, then switching to sports drinks because they contain electrolytes.
Keep drinking through a game or match, even when you don’t feel particularly thirsty. Keep an eye on your urine. If it is darker than normal, that could indicate dehydration. Fatigue, dizziness, and upset stomach are other possible signs that you need more water.

Supplement Your Diet
Student-athletes put so much stress on their bodies that they might find it difficult to get sufficient nutrition from food. Dietary supplements can help. Start with a multivitamin that contains not only Vitamins A through D, but also thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. The body uses these substances to convert food into the energy that physically active people need. Look for a multivitamin that also features calcium, iron, and potassium. These nutrients are rapidly diminished while playing sports.

Many other kinds of supplements are also available. Omega-3 oils, found naturally in fish, help to regulate inflammation and blood-sugar levels. Athletes need to get enough magnesium, which strengthens muscles and regulates heart rhythm.

For student-athletes, there are multiple reasons to adopt healthy diets. Without the necessary nutrition, their ability to succeed in sports is hampered. More importantly, their overall health suffers. To maintain strength and energy, it is critical that physically active students take nutrition seriously.

All You Need to Know About The “Freshman 15” Syndrome

You might have heard of the “Freshman 15” syndrome. Most people are known to experience it during the first year of their college. Are you prepared for it?

What is the “Freshman 15” Syndrome?

Most people are observed to gain about fifteen pounds of weight during the first year of their college education owing to their eating habits. It may occur due to the sudden exposure to buffet-styled meals or the personal choice of trying out different junk and fattening cuisines. Nevertheless, the freshman 15 is one of the most dreaded aspects of getting into college.

Some people may experience an advanced version of “Freshman 15” – characterized by gaining more than fifteen pounds of weight. At this stage, the need to employ an effective remedy is highly stressed. On the other hand, those experiencing the lower side of this syndrome – gaining less than fifteen pounds of weight – are at a risk to progress to the advanced level unless an effective counter strategy is employed!

Why “Freshman 15”?

Different colleges have different meal options. Some may offer buffet-styled meals with multiple choices and virtually an endless reserve of food. This promotes binge eating on a frequent basis. You may overeat while making an attempt to try all delicacies – the combined effect of which is seen as fifteen pounds at the end of the year!

Another reason for this weight gain could be the nonexistence of a personal kitchen and/or caretaker. Since you cannot prepare your own food, you are left with no option but to depend on foods prepared by restaurants and/or other food outlets. The foods produced at such places are more often junk containing an alarmingly high amount of unnecessary fats and devoid of other important nutrients. Consequently, when you consume such foods, you tend to end up with fifteen additional pounds of weight you never volunteered for!

Battling the “Freshman 15” Syndrome!

There are a number of ways you can keep your diet under control and ensure you are getting the right foods in the right quantities. However, this usually requires you to make an additional effort. Unless you are willing to go out of your way in order to eat healthy, there is nothing in the world that can help you avoid the fifteen (or maybe twenty) pounds of additional weight!

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your health while on campus.

  • Analyze your food options critically: You need to bring out the detective in you and analyze everything that you consume. Evaluate whether it is good for your health or not before putting it in your mouth. Only then will you be able to avoid unhealthy options.
  • Regularize your meal times: Make sure you consume a healthy breakfast before entering your classes. Also, keep a specific time for your lunch and dinner. This will help you in battling hunger and therefore bad food choices.
  • Research: Conduct your own research on what is good for your health and what is not. If there is something falling in the shady area between health and illness, login to your computer and search about its nutritional value. You can do so for all foods that you consume. You will automatically find out which foods you should avoid and which ones contribute towards your health!
  • Seek Help! Most colleges have nutrition centers and nutritional experts that can help you regulate your food intake. Do not hesitate to approach them if you find yourself indecisive about your food choices. With their effort and your own dedication, you will be able to get your life onto a nutritious track. So you can keep off the weight and enjoy a fulfilling tenure on campus!

4 Things to Check Before Traveling to Study Abroad

The thrill of studying abroad can be exciting but you’ve got to be careful when coming out to any part of the world. There are many things that you have to check before traveling somewhere far outside your home country.

What Travel Warnings Are There?

Travel warnings can vary by each country. You must be on alert with regards to any restrictions or other considerations that you must use while studying abroad.

What Health Rules Are There?

There are many rules about your health that must be followed in different countries that you can study in. Some places have water that is dangerous to consume while diseases may be more prevalent in certain parts of the world than in others.

You may also have to go through some vaccinations while at a place you are studying in. This is to protect you from certain illnesses that may not be common where you normally are. For instance, you will need a Hepatitis A shot when traveling into the Czech Republic or a typhoid vaccination if you are going to Hong Kong.

What Can You Bring?

Every country has its own rules on what you can and cannot bring into their borders. This is done with regards to preserving the natural habitat and lifeforms that are within a country.

Be sure to see what you are not allowed to bring into a country. For instance, you will more than likely not be allowed to bring any pets or other living items into Australia with you because that country has extremely straight rules on what it can and cannot take in.

What Resources Are There?

Look for resources in your area so you can at least be covered and protected where you are studying. Your school might have an office in the area that you can get in touch with. Try and see if there’s a national embassy in your area as well. Such an office can provide you with a contact back to your home country while keeping your papers under control.

Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into as you study abroad. Look to see what resources are in your area so you can be fully protected and cared for wherever you are.

12 Rewarding Careers in Medicine

Medical careers are among the most financially lucrative professions. They also offer rewards in the form of job satisfaction, because health-care providers are in a position to help patients live healthier, fuller lives.

High school students interested in becoming medical professionals are advised to take multiple science and math classes. They include anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and algebra.

Most medical careers require bachelor’s degrees in some type of science, with a pre-med concentration. Students are advised to make sure they attend accredited four-year colleges or universities. Courses include biology, chemistry, English, math, physics, the humanities, and social sciences. On-the-job experience may be gained by volunteering at medical facilities during undergraduate school.

Students studying to become doctors also must obtain degrees from four-year medical schools. Internships, residencies, or fellowships also may be mandatory. State-issued licenses and board certification are required for many health-care jobs.

These 12 positions are among the rewarding careers in medicine that students may want to consider.

Anesthesiologists are doctors who sedate patients and monitor them during medical procedures. They are trained to administer the proper doses of drugs, to minimize a patient’s pain and discomfort. Postoperative care includes prescribing medication, and assessing patients to detect complications or reactions to drugs. Anesthesiologists help create and implement pain-management plans.

The first step to becoming an anesthesiologist is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. That must be followed by four years of medical school, which involves two years of classwork and two years of clinical training. In addition, a one-year fellowship and a three-year residency program are mandatory.

Audiologists help people suffering from hearing disorders and related balance and coordination difficulties. They conduct examinations and diagnostic tests, then provide the appropriate treatment.

A bachelor’s degree in a life science and a doctorate degree in audiology are mandatory to practice in this field. Training is provided while in medical school, and during internships following graduation.

Brain Surgeon
Operating on the nervous system, including the brain, to correct disorders or extract diseased tissues is the challenging task of a brain surgeon. These doctors, also called neurosurgeons, conduct complex operations like removing tumors and transplanting organs. They also make minor nerve repairs and perform elective surgery.

After undergraduate college and medical school, the next educational requirements are an internship and residency of three to eight years (depending upon the medical speciality).

Cardiology is a speciality in the field of internal medicine. Cardiologists are doctors who treat diseases, disorders, and injuries involving the heart and blood vessels. They examine patients and perform diagnostic tests to identify the nature of ailments. The next steps are determining, and conducting, the appropriate surgery or other medical procedure.

Educational requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a science like biology or chemistry, completion of a four-year program to become a doctor of medicine, and as many as eight more years of internships and residencies. This entails a significant investment of time and money, but cardiologists are among the highest-paid doctors.

General Practitioner
General practitioners, also called family doctors, are often the first medical professionals patients see when symptoms of illness appear. These doctors must be familiar with a wide range of ailments, diseases, and disorders. They also treat patients who have suffered injuries. General practioners conduct examinations, make diagnoses, provide a variety of treatments and therapy, and refer patients to specialists.

A bachelor’s degree and completion of medical school are required. Some medical schools have programs that take six or seven years to complete, combining a bachelor’s degree with a doctorate in medicine. GPs also must complete residency programs lasting three to seven years (depending upon whether a medical specialty is being pursued).

Obstetricians and gynecologists, also called ob/gyns, are doctors who provide medical care to women. They perform surgery and prescribe treatments for diseases and illnesses. The position entails attending to women’s reproductive health, from counseling them about pregnancy to delivering their babies.

A bachelor’s degree in science, completion of medical school, an internship, and a residency program are required. This education and training lasts 11 to 16 years, depending upon the speciality.

Neurologists are concerned with the health of the central, peripheral, and automomous nervous systems. They diagnose and treat disorders and diseases of the brain, head, spinal cord, and associated muscles and blood vessels. Some of these doctors specialize in performing surgery.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, including a pre-med program, students studying to be neurologists must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination and complete a one-year internship. That is followed by a residency program, which lasts three or four years.

Oral Surgeon
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who perform operations on various parts of the head and neck. Oral surgeons treat diseases, deformities, and injuries of the mouth, including teeth and gums. Maxillofacial procedures involve the head, face, jaw, neck, and sinuses.

Becoming an oral or maxillofacial surgeon requires two years of predental education in undergraduate college, completion of a four-year program at an accredited dental school, and four to six years of residency training.

Plastic Surgeon
Plastic surgeons perform operations to repair and alter various parts of the human body. Most conduct either cosmetic surgery, to change a person’s appearance; or reconstructive surgery, to correct damaged or malformed features. Specialties include burn treatment, microsurgery, laser surgery, pediatrics, tissue transfers, and body contouring.

A bachelor’s degree, a doctorate in medicine, and completion of a five- to seven-year residency program are mandatory. Surgeons may then undergo fellowship training to become more skilled in their specialties.

Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapists work under the supervision of doctors to treat patients who have breathing problems and cardiopulmonary ailments like asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis. They conduct tests to diagnose ailments, then provide therapy to relieve patients’ symptoms and restore their functions.

To practice respiratory therapy, the minimum education requirement is an associate’s degree. It is mandated by nearly all states and employers. This degree is provided by universities, community colleges, technical schools, and vocational institutions. To work at a hospital or in emergency medical services, a bachelor’s degree is usually needed. Master’s degrees may be necessary for those who wish to become administrators or independent respiratory therapists.

Trauma Surgeon
Trauma surgeons perform operations and other procedures to help people with severe injuries and illnesses. Many of these doctors work in hospital emergency rooms. Special training is needed to be able to cope with high-pressure situations.

A bachelor’s degree in science, following by four years of studies at an accredited medical school, are the preliminary educational requirements of this position. Residency training of three to five years, as well as a fellowship program lasting one or two years, also must be completed.

Urologists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases, disorders, injuries, and deformities of male reproductive organs, as well as both genders’ urinary tracts. A urologist is a surgeon who conducts operations, and performs various other treatments, on the bladder, kidneys, prostate, uterus, urethra, and adrenal glands.

Following undergraduate and medical school, a prospective urologist must complete a residency program of at least five years.

These are just a few of the numerous rewarding careers in medicine. Getting high grades, and performing well on tests, as an undergraduate student make it easier to get accepted by an accredited, four-year medical school. Competition for spaces in their programs can be intense.

Manual dexterity and attention to detail are crucial for doctors and other medical specialists. Physical stamina is needed to stand through lengthy operations. Doctors should have a good bedside manner with patients, providing reassurance while projecting confidence and strength. They must be good listeners who can show empathy and provide support. Good communication skills are need for dealing with medical and administrative staff, as well.

The stress can be severe. Surgeons are under a lot of pressure to not make any mistakes, as they literally hold patients’ lives in their hands. They must be able to perform efficiently under these conditions. The working hours can be long, and doctors may be on call to respond to emergencies.

Those who feel they can handle the pressure and requirements of a job in medicine have many choices of fields in which they can specialize.

7 Health Tips for College Students

Stress, a poor diet, and partying are common to many students’ lifestyles. However, they are not conducive to good health. College-bound students leaving home for the first time are faced with making their own decisions about many things that affect their well-being. Here are some health tips to consider.

1. Eat a Balanced Diet

It should come as no surprise that eating right is at the top of the list of healthy behaviors. The adage “you are what you eat” is true. Your physical and mental resiliency depend upon your body receiving adequate nutrition.

Consuming foods with large amounts of sugar, salt, and saturated fats can compromise your immune system and lead to illness. It also can sap the energy you need to meet all your responsibilities. Your body requires nourishment to deal with the stresses of college life. Eating poorly can lead to obesity, sickness, fatigue, anxiety, and other undesirable conditions.

Most colleges and universities do not allow students to cook food in the dorms. However, you can keep your room stocked with snacks like fruit and nuts. This might help curb the temptation to order pizza or get fast food when you feel hungry.

Make good choices in the school’s cafeteria or dining hall. You have heard it a million times: Eat a balanced diet. That includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein. Make sure you have something from each food group every day. Ideally, the volume of vegetables in your diet should exceed that of meat.

This does not mean you have to survive on tofu and leafy vegetables, though you might be surprised by what you can do with such ingredients. Inevitably, you will eat some pizza, burgers, and fried bar snacks. These foods are linked to opportunities to make friends and socialize, which are important elements of the college experience. Practice moderation when enjoying junk food.

Be creative and find ways to eat your favorite foods in more healthy ways. Order whole-wheat tortillas and pizza crusts when they are available. Include vegetables in your pizza ingredients. Ask for low-fat white, rather than yellow, cheese; and choose chicken instead of beef or pork. Opt for baked, rather than fried, food.

Breakfast is important. You need an energy boost after many hours of not giving your body any fuel. Eat a bowl of healthy cereal or granola, or at least grab some fruit (and perhaps a whole-grain bagel) on the way out the door.

Drink water frequently, even if you are not thirsty. You may find that you feel better and eat less. Take it easy on the caffeine. While a little of this stimulant can be beneficial, consuming too much is counterproductive and potentially dangerous. The same is true of sodas and other beverages containing large amounts of sugar.

Your body needs a variety of nutrients, so don’t eat exactly the same foods every day. If you are trying to lose weight, be mindful of portion sizes but eat plenty of veggies and get enough protein. Never go on a crash diet. The weight you lose will probably return soon, and in the meantime you will have compromised your health.

2. Exercise

There are some other ways to ward off illness, boost energy, and stay in shape. One of the best methods is getting some exercise every day. Walking from your room to classes is not enough. Take longer walks, jog, ride a bicycle, go to a gym, or play a sport.

Between studying and socializing, you may not think you have time to exercise. All it takes is about 20 minutes every day, which is not that hard to fit into your schedule.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Many people do not appreciate the importance of sleep. You need to get at least seven hours of sleep per day. If you don’t, it will be harder to stay alert and focus on your studies.

Sleep deprivation may cause fatigue, headaches, and depression. Your relationships, as well as your grades, could suffer. If you are not getting enough sleep at night, try to take an afternoon nap. Avoid caffeine and sugar for at least a few hours before going to bed.

4. Take Precautions

College classes are in session during the winter, when the most illnesses occur. As a student, you are in close contact with numerous people. It is crucial to protect yourself from viruses and other infectious diseases.

Wash your hands often, especially after touching door knobs and other objects with which many people come in contact. This will keep you from catching most contagions. Get a flu shot, or choose an herbal alternative, to keep yourself from catching a bug. Obtain appropriate vaccinations. Take Vitamin C and antioxidants.

5. Cope with Stress

College life is stressful. Living away from home, dealing with new people, is hard enough. Studying and taking tests create additional anxiety. The college life challenges your mental, as well as physical, health.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are critical to managing stress. Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. Switch from studying to playing a game or watching a video. Gain some perspective and relax. Spend some time outdoors every day. Find balance by connecting with nature.

Compartmentalize the things that cause you stress. Figure out what you need to do, a step at a time. Set priorities and short-term, attainable goals. Try to transcend the anxiety and look at things logically. Remember that your fellow students are having the same problems. Share your feelings with them, as well as with other friends and family members. Try meditation, yoga, or a hobby. Do not hesitate to speak with a counselor.

6. Avoid Risky Behaviors

Many college-bound students are excited about their new experience for the wrong reasons. They may be looking forward to partying and having sex. They are at an age when experimentation is normal, but it is vital to know how to stay safe.

Parties featuring beer or liquor are common on, or near, most campuses. You are likely to find yourself at such a party. If you are of legal age and choose to drink, know your limit to ensure that you remain aware and in control. Have a designated driver.

Illegal drugs also may be available. The obvious advice is to refrain from taking them. If you do decide to experiment, understand the effects of the drugs and the risks involved. Remember that what you are doing is against the law, and may result in bad decisions and unwanted consequences.

Another part of the college experience is dating. Some students meet their life-long partners in school. It is easier to find people with common interests in college than it was in high school. Students who make the decision to have sex should use protection, get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases, and go to doctors for exams and vaccinations.

7. Other Tips

If you smoke tobacco, figure out a way to quit. Your performance in school, as well as your health, may benefit from doing so. Find healthy alternatives to nicotine to provide the stimulation you crave.

Support your feet by wearing good shoes rather than sandals. You are likely to be doing a lot of walking, going to classes and moving around campus. Do not let aching or injured feet slow you down.

Give your back a break by minimizing the weight of your backpack. You don’t have to carry all your books, all the time. Do some stretching before heading out on a long walk or beginning your daily exercise regimen.

Communicate your needs to roommates. Coordinate times for studying and sleeping. Maintaining good relations with your roomies also enhances your mental health.

Resist excessive tanning because of the risk of getting skin cancer. If you do lay out, use sunscreen. Daily applications of aloe vera or other moisturizer help prevent skin from burning or getting too dry.

These tips can help you maintain mental and physical health during your college years. By eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and managing stress, you get the most out of the experience. Your relationships and grades will benefit.

5 Tips to Help You Cope with Deadline Stress

Throughout the academic year, students have to put in a lot of hours studying, researching and writing papers and essays. With deadlines always looming in the horizon, it is often natural for students to get stressed and panic. The tips given below will help you plan your time wisely and cope with stress successfully:

1. Plan and prioritize

If you organize and plan well in advance, you will be able to avoid stressful situations. Know what needs to be done, calculate how long each task will take and factor in all non-coursework related tasks that require your attention. Knowing how to set priorities is a part of good organization. Make schedules and timetables that will allow you to keep track of your time effectively.

2. Recognize stress

Recognizing the symptoms of stress will allow you to do something about it quickly. Unless you recognize that there is a problem and acknowledge it, you won’t be able to deal with it. Serious stress can lead to depression and can have many recognizable symptoms like blurred vision, increased irritability, anxiety, poor appetite, tiredness and difficulty in sleeping. If you notice signs of stress, talk to a friend or a family member. Talking about issues is often enough to relieve tension.

3. Sleep

A good night’s sleep has many benefits. Sleep allows the body to rest and recovers itself. Sleeping at least 8 hours each night will allow you to feel refreshed so you can work on your essay or your thesis with renewed energy. Most students stay up all night to cram for exams or to finish their essays as the deadlines gets closer but sleep is one of the best ways to avoid stress during an academic year.

4. Exercise

Another excellent way to prevent stress is exercise. Exercising provides a stimulating effect and when combined with a healthy diet, it ensures that the body and mind are better equipped to deal with stress. With time constraints, students are often tempted to avoid exercise but it can be a mistake. With good organization and planning it is possible to easily balance work with exercise as well as relaxation.

5. Learn to enjoy your work

One of the main reasons why students often get stressed is because they do not dedicate enough time to themselves. Having fun is just as important as turning in papers before the deadline. Studying doesn’t always have to be serious. Students can still be creative to make their time at university interesting and fun. While it can be a lot of fun to read and learn new things, it is equally important to socialize and meet new people. Put in some time each week to make new friends, discover their thoughts and opinions and build relationships since it will ultimately put you at ease.

While these tips will help you cope with stress in most cases, when you feel overwhelmed it is best to seek medical advice. Most universities today offer counseling and support that you can take advantage of.

Why You Need Cardio Workouts

Regular physical activity is one of the keys to staying healthy. Exercise is especially important for college students, who are often under a lot of pressure academically and socially.

To get the most out of exercising, it is necessary to elevate your heart rate and sustain it for at least 20 minutes. Activities that accomplish this goal are considered cardio workouts. They have been proven to relieve stress, as well as anxiety and other symptoms of depression. You might achieve greater confidence and emotional balance.

Cardio also aids efforts to lose weight and become more fit. These are goals shared by many college students, who typically eat a fair amount of junk food and perhaps drink a few beers. Cardio workouts can make you more resilient to illness, disease, and injury. Regular, intense exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Another benefit is growing muscles without adding fat. Increased strength and agility have been attributed to cardio. It is an effective way to keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check, as well.

The average adult should take part in activities that provide about one-half hour of cardio per day, according to U.S. government health officials. You may choose from among numerous types of workouts.

In Your Room
The weather could make exercising outdoors difficult, and perhaps you would rather avoid the cost or social dynamics of a gym. Fortunately, there are cardio exercises you can try in the privacy of your dorm room.

Some workouts do not even require any equipment. They include running in place, jumping jacks, core-power yoga, belly dancing, aerobics, and climbing stairs. Other exercises recommended by fitness trainers and others are squat jumps, leaping into the air from a crouched position; burpees, jumping from a squat to a plank position, then jumping back and standing; “mountain climbing,” working the knees forward and back while in a push-up position; bear crawls, moving from a squat to pushup position, then walking the hands back and standing; and kickboxing, punching and kicking a bag, other object, or the air.

Many types of home-exercise equipment are on the market. You have probably seen the late-night Bowflex commercials on television. Treadmills and stationary bicycles are among the most popular kinds of equipment. Others include elliptical trainers, weight machines, resistance bands, and free weights. Some manufacturers give the impression that their devices can magically transform your body. Understand that you will see results only if you are willing to commit the necessary time and effort.

In the Great Outdoors
Exercising outside provides the added benefit of fresh air and sunshine. Running is one of the most common cardio techniques. Maintaining adequate speed for long enough distances can produce the elevated heart rate you need. However, running can be hard on your feet and legs. Alternatives that place less strain on the body are jogging, power walking, and hiking. You might want to combine periods of walking and running during an outing.

Other outdoor workouts include bicycling, golf, tennis, and playing in the yard with the dog or the kids. However, it could be difficult to achieve enough exertion for such activities to qualify as cardio. If it snows frequently where you are going to school, consider buying or renting cross-country skis, snowshoes, or boots. Just hiking through heavy snow is an intense form of exercise. Shoveling snow is also sure to get the blood pumping.

At a Gym
You might be unable or unwilling to spend money on expensive home-exercise equipment. Elliptical trainers, rowing machines, and other devices are also available at gyms and fitness centers. Because these facilities offer a variety of equipment, you can try various models to see which ones are right for you.

Many students who go to gyms find that they benefit from the advice they receive from fitness experts, other customers, and fellow students. Gyms are social environments, where people have at least a few things in common. They are all trying to improve their health and get into better shape.

You may be able to find a gym, spa, or fitness center that has a running track, tennis court, basketball court, or swimming pool. Some businesses require annual membership fees, while others let you pay on a per-visit basis. Take advantage of recreational facilities on campus, especially if you are at a large university where multiple options are available.

Before deciding which kind of cardio workout to try, have a good understanding of your physical capabilities. Consider not only your fitness goals, but also your age, health issues, strength, and mobility. Your gender may be another factor. For instance, authorities say aerobics, jogging, running, and using a treadmill are particularly valuable for women.

It is recommended that you tell a doctor or other medical provider about your workout plans. Get a checkup and some professional advice. You want to make sure that your exercises do not cause pain or injury. Warm up and stretch before starting, and initially do short workouts. You can make them longer and more energetic as your strength and endurance build. Don’t overdo it, or you may find yourself in worse shape than before. It’s a good idea to vary workouts, to benefit different muscles and prevent excessive strain on any of them.

Determine your optimal heart rate during cardio. Subtract your age from 220. Seventy percent of the resulting figure is the number of heart beats per minute you should strive to attain. This is the rate at which calories and fat are believed to burn most effectively.

Deciding upon the best kind of cardio workouts for you is the first step. The hard part is devoting yourself to regular exercise. You will not experience the results you seek without putting in the work. If you make the effort, better health and a fitter body may be among the rewards. You also might feel less stressed, more confident, and even happier.

Most Highly Recommended Dietary Supplements

College life puts a lot of strain on young adults. It is vital that students get the fuel that their bodies and minds require to deal with the academic, social, and other pressures they face. A balanced diet, including vegetables and fruit, is critical. Exercise and sleep also are necessary to maintain physical and psychological health.

However, these good habits may not be enough. To ensure that you are consuming the necessary nutrients, you might want to consider taking vitamins and other dietary supplements. Numerous health-promoting substances are available, though it should be noted that the body absorbs food-based nutrients better than pills.

At a minimum, people are advised to take a daily multivitamin. The ingredients should include Vitamin C, which make you more resilient to illness by improving the immune system; and folic acid, which may lessen your vulnerability to hypertension and heart disease. Multivitamins also typically contain other essential substances like Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, folic acid, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin.

Look for a multivitamin with a heavy dose of Vitamin D3, which maintains bone density, aids the immune system, and promotes heart health. Student-athletes need this vitamin for strength and agility, and to reduce muscle pain. Vitamin D also can relieve hypertension, as well as depression symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. It is even considered helpful in preventing cancer.

Other nutrients in multivitamins have been shown to protect brain cells and the central nervous system. Multivitamins vary a great deal, so it is important to read the labels. Keep in mind that many nutritionists believe the government’s “minimum daily requirements” for some vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are insufficient. Some of the top-selling multivitamins either lack some needed nutrients or contain inadequate amounts of them. Higher-priced products tend to have greater concentrations of the key ingredients.

In addition to Vitamin C, students may want to consider other antioxidants to help ward off diseases and illnesses. These substances are said to maintain the strength of cells, leaving them less susceptible to cancer and other afflictions.

One of the most widely recommended antioxidants is Co-Enzyme Q-10, which reportedly prevents the sort of inflammation that causes heart disease and arthritis. Those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs need to keep in mind that statins reduce the amount of co-enzyme Q-10 that naturally occurs in the body.

Other antioxidant supplements include reservratrol, which also is found in wine; bioflavonoids such as quercetin, which are natural ingredients of certain plants; and green tea extract. Vitamins A is considered an antioxidant because it protects the eyes and lowers cholesterol. Vitamin E strengthens blood vessels, while folic acid and beta-carotene also have disease-prevention qualities.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, marine phytoplanktin, and flax seeds are a form of polyunsaturated fat. This is the good kind of fat, which has been proven to be vital to good health. Because most people do not get enough omega-3 acids from food, supplements are widely recommended.

Authorities say this so-called brain food strengthens cell membranes, and reduces triglyceride levels in the liver that can lead to diabetes. Other benefits include regulating immunity, reducing blood clotting, stabilizing blood sugar, and controlling the kind of inflammation that can lead to cancer or cardiovascular disease.

You need calcium to maintain bone density and strong teeth. While this substance can be obtained from a number of food sources, including dairy products, most people are believed to have calcium deficits. Taking Vitamin D and magnesium with calcium is advised, because they help the body absorb the nutrients. Magnesium also improves the functioning of muscles and nerves, and helps to maintain a regular heart rhythm. It is thought to aid in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Young people may not think they need to worry about such ailments, which are more often suffered by older people. However, establishing good habits early in life might result in a healthier future. Taking dietary supplements can fill in the nutritional gaps in the diets of college students, who too often try to survive on burgers, pizzas, and fast food.

In addition to the supplements recommended for everyone, some kinds of pills are especially important for certain people. For instance, nutritionists advise women to take iron supplements, while men need greater amounts of selenium. Students whose families have histories of eye disease might want to take multivitamins that contain lutein.

Some companies that sell supplements make unrealistic claims, and no one should believe that taking vitamins will cure any disease. However, dietary aids have been shown to strengthen cells and decrease the likelihood of contracting an illness. The medical and pharmaceutical industries, which want people to buy prescription drugs, have an interest in suppressing the demand for vitamins. Scientific studies of supplements funded by these industries and their supporters should be interpreted with a wary eye.

You need to do your own research, relying on unbiased information from reliable sources. As one herbal dispenser noted, “each individual is responsible for his or her own health.” Be should be sure to not exceed prescribed doses of any substance, as it can be counterproductive or cause other health problems.

Getting started on a regimen of supplements at an early age could pay large dividends not only during the college years, but also throughout your life.

A College Freshman Guide to Being Healthy

College life is a lot of fun, but for first year students a lot can happen. The change in environment and eating habits often results in ill-health for many college students. Being away from home for the first time, many students do not do a good job at first of taking responsibility for themselves.

Preparing for College

Before leaving home there are some things that you should do to help you cope with the first couple months of college life. Some of these will help you remain healthy and allow you to manage your new routine. Some of these are:

  • Going to your family doctor for a check up
  • If you have a health condition, get all the facts about your condition and treatment. You will need this information to share with the doctor or clinic at your college and if possible, get a referral to a doctor at your new location.
  • Make sure you get all your vaccines before going off to college. This will help to protect you from many avoidable conditions

Keeping Healthy While at College

Many freshmen either lose or gain a lot of weight. Gaining weight is especially easy as many of them start eating junk food. Not many freshmen want to bother with cooking or making an effort to eat nutritious foods. However, eating properly while at college is not very difficult. Ensuring that you eat properly just takes a little planning, which may involve doing the following:

  • Start your day with a good breakfast. Try not to go hungry during the day and make an effort to have at least three meals per day. Allowing yourself to go hungry normally results in overeating
  • Avoid buying and keeping junk food and unhealthy snacks around. If you have to buy junk food, avoid eating it late at night. For late night study sessions, fruits and vegetables are better choices for snacking.
  • Learn about portion sizes as this will minimize overeating.
  • Drink lots of water as keeping hydrated helps with concentration and will also help prevent overeating
  • Do not eat to relieve stress
  • Many young people at college drink, however, do this only occasionally if you decide to drink. You should definitely avoid drinking as a regular part of your everyday activities.
  • Take supplements if you are unable to eat properly

Other tips for remaining healthy while at college include:

  • Getting adequate sleep is a priority for everyone especially college students. This will help you perform better in class, and will also help keep your immune system working properly. Napping during the day if you have time is a great way to get more rest. You should aim for a minimum of six hours sleep each night.
  • Exercising and keeping fit should also be a part of your healthcare plan. Many colleges have gyms and it is a good idea to become a member. You can also do other things to stay physically active, including walking to classes and the library as much as possible.
  • Find ways to remain stress free. This can involve joining a social club or group and learning how to handle the pressure of exams.

It is also important to know where the medical center, hospital or other healthcare facilities are located. Also, tell your roommate or someone else in your dorm that you are close to if you have a chronic health condition. In dorms where many students share a bathroom, you should wear flip-flops in the shower. This way, you will avoid fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Following these basic tips will help you avoid the Freshman 15 (gaining weight) and enjoy your first year of college. Once you develop these habits of healthy living on campus, your remaining years there should be less stressful. You will find that after a few months, it will become easy to maintain good habits in terms of eating, sleeping and keeping active.

Finding Health in a Fast Food World

Late night study sessions, hopping from class to class- none of these things are foreign to college students. Fast food often becomes a routine part of college life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. Below you’ll find a few ways to get the most nutrition out of your fast food meals.

Breakfast on the Run

Opt for a mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep you full. Today, you can often find yogurt with nuts and berries. Oatmeal is another simple option that can be eaten while walking across campus. Coffee shops and restaurants often have an oatmeal option that you can top with fruit and nuts. Avoid those with added sugars. If you enjoy bagels, select a whole wheat option, which often provides more protein and fiber to keep you full. Add an egg for extra protein and nutrition.

Super Salads

Most fast food restaurants now have at least one salad option. Keep in mind that salad doesn’t always mean healthy. Avoid toppings like candied pecans or dried fruit, which are often full of added sugars and chemicals. Request dressings on the side if possible, and opt for something lighter like balsamic vinegar or a simple oil and vinegar. Choose salads full of a variety of vegetables. Fresh fruit like mandarin oranges or apple slices add a little bit of flavor and added nutrition as well.

Go Grilled

Many traditional burger and fries restaurants now offer a grilled chicken option. If you find yourself somewhere like Wendy’s or McDonald’s, opt for a grilled chicken sandwich over a fried chicken sandwich or hamburger.  If you opt for a salad that contains meat or fish, choose those that have been grilled, steamed or blackened. Avoid fried options, which are cooked in unhealthy oils and add more calories but less nutrition.

Simple Soups and Sandwiches

Many sandwich shops offer a simple vegetable soup. Grab a cup to go with half of a sandwich and you’ll have a filling and well-rounded meal. When selecting sandwiches, choose whole wheat bread and load the vegetables on. Choose mustard over mayonnaise. If it’s too hot for soup, most sandwich shops will also have a fruit or side salad you can opt for instead.

Ask for Options

If a meal comes with a fried side such as french fries or onion rings, ask if you have another option. You may be able to swap your side for something with more nutrition like fruit or a side salad. Sometimes there’s a small additional cost, but it’s worth it if you’re keeping your health in mind.

Skip the Soda

Drinking water will often save you money and unhealthy calories. Sodas, teas and juices can be full of added sugars and you may end up paying much more to add a drink to your meal. Instead, order a single item and carry a water bottle with you.

Don’t Deprive

If there’s a less healthy meal you enjoy, don’t leave it completely off limits. Instead, order it less and have a healthy choice more often. Alternatively, you can try to mix and match. For example, if you have a craving for a hamburger, order a hamburger but skip the fries or order a side salad instead. You could also consider ordering a kids meal to save both calories and money.