Fitness in College

Just another Longwood Blogs site

Finals around the corner

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 7:51 pm on Sunday, April 1, 2012

With only a handful of weeks left this semester, finals are rapidly approaching. And we all know what that means- stress, stress and more stress. But what’s a great way to work off stress? Eating lots of chocolate or fries? Drinking massive quantities of alcohol with friends? While in small doses those aren’t bad choices, neither of those is the answer. Going to the gym or outside for a run is, however.

The weather has been beautiful here and there isn’t a reason why we can’t all go outside and enjoy it for an hour, as I’ve mentioned before. Being in the sun usually makes people relax in the first place but with the addition of a little exercise the smiles will grow even bigger. I’m not saying we all need to grab our running shoes and jog around campus-even though that’s not a bad idea- I’m saying we need to grab a football or Frisbee or grab some friends and head to the sand pit for volleyball.

Working out to reduce stress needs to be a long-term goal though. It will work right now but for it to be really noticeable will take some time. For example, our bodies might not react with that workout to relieve the stress from studying the first time we go for it. So think of it this way, if we start now by finals our bodies will be wanting that 10 minute run or quick soccer game to relax and its win-win.

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/phys-ed-why-exercise-makes-you-less-anxious/#

 

Sunshine and Summertime

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 9:39 pm on Sunday, March 25, 2012

 

 

Personally, I am really getting tired of hearing excuses around campus. I have overheard many conversations along the lines of “I can’t go with you [to the gym] gym tonight, finals are coming up soon.” Right, they are…in a month. And even so, that’s no reason to not take thirty minutes out of our days to head to the gym. Even jogging, it only takes 15 minutes to run a mile. A few days ago, I was at the gym and saw a girl there in one of those metal knee braces and a cast on her foot/ankle. She was lifting weights using the arm machines. If she can get to the gym in her spare time to work out, why can’t the rest of campus?

It’s getting really warm outside- finally. I know we’re all tired of the yo-yo weather (so are our poor immune systems). But with the warm weather comes oodles of fun outdoor activities we can all participate in. I know that working out in the gym is almost never fun, so lets pretend we don’t have a gym at our disposal right now. If it’s bright and sunny, gather friends and head to Iler field. It’s begging you to come play Ulimate Frisbee or a couple games of soccer with everyone. There are plenty of games and activities to play outside. Plus, they have the added benefit of exercise.

I know that days seem shorter and shorter even though the opposite is true. But homework can wait for an hour while we play an outdoor game with friends, or even still head to the gym. Don’t get on Facebook or Twitter for those extra few minutes you have, especially if it’s bright and sunny outside. Or warm and perfect after dark. Don’t forget sunscreen during the days though.

 

 

 

More on eating right.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 11:33 pm on Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not only is it hard to find time to get to the gym at college, apparently its also hard to find well cooked food in the dining halls. Being physically fit isn’t just about exercising 3-5 times a week, so why is it that dining halls are almost always lacking in the health department? While the school does do a good job in putting a good selection of healthy foods out, they aren’t properly cooked. Steaming veggies is by far the tastiest, best way to bring out their flavors and still keep their nutrients. However, that does not mean steam the life and color out of them. Its understandable that it might get harder during rush times, but I still don’t think that’s an excuse for the poor effort being put into the cooking. As a paying customer, I’d like to see an improvement. But in the meanwhile, I’ll stick to salads at D-Hall and try my own hand at cooking at home.

Eating right is really, really hard to do. Most of us would rather have pizza and fries for dinner over veggies and a lean protein. At least, when it come to the dining hall. However, there are other options. If you don’t have a kitchen, then there really isn’t much to be done. If you do have access to a kitchen and cookware, making a healthy dinner is as easy as 1-2-3.  For around $20 or less you can cook a hearty meal for two. I know a lot of college students don’t have income, but if they use that $20 they do have to make one homemade meal per week instead of ordering a pizza or buying alcohol, they are already headed in the right direction.

There is another problem: alcohol consumption among college students. According to the CDC, more than 40% of college students have engaged in binge (5 or more drinks in a row for a man, 4 or more for a woman) drinking within the last two weeks. No doubt that after drinking, or during, those students are also eating junk food that’s lying around at a party. What they might not realize is how many calories are in one drink. Or they might, but choose to ignore it for a night of fun, which is okay every now and again, but this happens every weekend in some cases. If exercise is done throughout the week, weight gain might not occur but its still likely and just exercising isn’t going to help anyone get fit. Here is a calculator to tell how many calories in the drinks consumed: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/collegestudents/calculator/alcoholcalc.aspx

 

For those of us who need a little help figuring out what to eat, my plate is always a good place to start: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

 

A healthy meal for under $20: Grilled or boiled chicken breast, steamed carrots and green beans (both fresh) and brown rice.

 

Eating Right

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 11:18 pm on Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eating healthy should not just be a diet for a couple months while trying to lose weight. Eating healthy should be a normal part of your lifestyle. Our bodies require good nutrition to run properly throughout the day. If we eat too little during the day, we become tired and sometimes irritable. If we eat too much, we gain weight and become lazy. Without proper nutrition, the body cannot function as it well.

Without eating right, you lose a lot of energy. I know for me, if I don’t eat breakfast it sets a bad pace for the day. I become more sluggish and less likely to get more work done that day or pay attention in classes. I’m sure we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Along with a boost of energy, eating breakfast means we’re less likely to eat heavier meals later on as well as snack less. Therefore, breakfast plus lighter meals later equals less weight gain. Healthy lunches and dinners also keep energy high and help keep our weight in check. As I’m writing this, I’m watching the Food Network. There is a new show on called “Fat Chef.” On this episode, there is a man who is 384 pounds. He talked about his eating habits, mentioning that he doesn’t eat breakfast or lunch. He is an example of how not eating in the morning, as well as lunch, slows down your metabolism and packs on the pounds. When he does eat, he eats fast foods late at night, consuming around 6,000 calories a day. He is on the extreme ends, but eating proper food at appropriate times of the day keep your metabolism up and calorie intake down. None of us want to get to where he is at, and those are two ways to keep us from that.

With all this weather change lately, I know that I’m not the only one sick. Rapid temperature changes (like snow on Sunday and 70 degrees on Thursday) can cause a lot of colds, which spread through classes. Eating healthy meals can boost your immune system, to help fight those germs. The vitamins keep our bodies strong and defend us against runny noses and itchy throats. We’ve all learned about the food pyramid but knowing and practicing are two different things, and just because we know that we aren’t supposed to eat a lot of fats doesn’t mean we’ll follow that. We need to though, to keep our immune system in check.

I feel that eating right in the dining hall is challenging. Most days the only thing I can find to eat is a salad, and that doesn’t contain all the nutrients I need for the day. However, when they can succeed in cooking vegetables, there are always multiple options such as broccoli, carrots and peas. There is also always some form of protein to choose from, usually chicken or beef. The dining hall has foods that we need to stay healthy. The temptation to just get pizza, fries, and ice cream can be fought. If you aren’t one to eat salads or the vegetables and meat in D-Hall, there is always the option of getting a sandwich from the Panini station, just remember to get wheat breads as opposed to white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 8:57 pm on Saturday, February 18, 2012

I’m sure a lot of college students have a mindset along the lines of “I’m young. That will never happen to me.” Well, they’re wrong. There has been more and more research regarding how college students are in varies stages of unhealthy lifestyles. Just because we are young does not mean that what we eat and how we spend our time doesn’t affect us. I

How many of us think about what we eat before we actually eat it? That late night McDonalds run, those overflowing bowls of ice cream in D-Hall, or even the munchies in our dorms late at night. There’s this quote I’ve been seeing everywhere lately that really struck home to me- “What you eat in private, you wear in public.” Especially pertaining to the late night dorms snacks, this quote really explains why college students are steadily growing more obese. However, what we eat in public we also wear. And we wear our food everywhere, both public and private. Sometimes it is hard for me to maintain my self-control after a long day or with emotional eating. I think to myself though about how many calories that this particular food has or how long it would take to burn that food off.

To lose one pound I must burn 3,500 calories. That sounds like a huge number. But if I break it down that’s 500 calories a day for the seven-day week. In 30 minutes of jogging I can burn anywhere from 200-300 calories. If I walk at 3.5 speed on an 8-10 incline for 45 minutes, I can burn 400-500 calories. If I break it down even more, that’s only one episode of my latest T.V. show obsession- “Legend of the Seeker.” I realize not everybody has a device they can watch Netflix on while at the gym, but most of us do have something to listen to music on. Create a playlist that will keep you going, grab a magazine or a book and get a move on! Better yet, why not knock out two birds with one stone? Grab those notes and get studying for your test while walking on the treadmill or hop on the elliptical. Those chemicals released will help you remember those facts and stay in a stress free mindset while doing it.

Making time for the gym can’t always happen though. So another way to stay away from obesity is to count calories. On average, woman should be eating 1,700 calories per day. If we cut that back to 1,200 calories per day then we are already -500 and working towards that -3,500 goal at the end of the week. For me, the average daily calorie intake is 2,400 so knock that down to around 1,900. There are websites that can help determine actual numbers, to prevent illness and injuries.

 

Our youth will leave us. Our stress levels, cholesterol levels will skyrocket and our energy levels will decrease as time goes on if we don’t start taking care of ourselves now. Going to them gym and eating right are surefire ways to do that. Don’t become another statistic about how us college students are getting fat and lazy, instead prove research wrong with me.

 

 

*Live Strong is a great website to use in finding caloric intake info:

http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/

 

**  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614113310.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get stressed about your stress

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 11:25 pm on Thursday, February 9, 2012

As college students, we all deal with stress. And its not only during final exam week, it is all year long. There is always an exam, a quiz or a paper due. Not to mention, those weeks where it seems like your professors all got together to plan ways to ruin your life by making everything due on the same day. Everybody deals with stress in their own way, although not always in the best of ways. So why not get rid of stress in one of the better ways? Get active and workout.

 

Exercising releases endorphins, which make people happy. Being happy is obviously better than feeling the need to rip your hair out or scream at your computer. Even if all you have time for is a fifteen-minute jog, it will still lower your stress levels. It will also get that fluff out of your head from studying all day, getting your thoughts flowing again and your brain “unclogged.”

 

Exercising is a healthy way to deal with stress, but you don’t have to spend an hour on the treadmill or any other machine. Some of the best exercises are way shorter than that. I know that when I’m studying or writing a paper, I don’t want to take a lot of time away from that but if I don’t I get stressed on finishing the assignment. I know I need to workout though, so I found ways around that. As I’ve mentioned before, interval training is the way to go when you’re on a time limit.

 

While it can be hard to get away from that too-long research paper, once you get to the gym to relieve that stress its easy to get into the workout. I have tried one interval run on the treadmill and found it to be successful. I was able to go back to my paper in a much better mood than when I left and I had an easier time completing the paper.

 

Here is that workout:

0:00- 2:00 minutes: walk at 2.5 mph

2:00- 2:30 minutes: run at 6mph

2:30- 3:30 minutes: walk at 3.5mph

3:30- 4:30 minutes: run at 6mph

4:30- 5:00 minutes: walk at 3.5mph

5:00- 6:30 minutes: run at 6mph

6:30- 7:00 minutes: walk at 3.5mph

7:00- 9:00 minutes: run at 6mph

9:00- 10:00 minutes: walk at 3.0mph

*Too add some intensity, this workout can be done on an incline. This only takes 10 minutes and will get your brain back on track, as well as your stress management.

 

 

 

http://www.mindtools.com/stress/Defenses/Exercise.htm

 

 

 

 

About Courtney (First Post)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Courtney Goodnight at 12:06 am on Monday, January 30, 2012

As we all know, Americans have some issues with health and obesity. People like to say that they have time and they can work out later. It is important for us to workout now, there’s no need to wait. Exercise needs to be a part of our lives, starting as kids. I am a junior in college and just now starting to work on getting into shape. I have noticed many other students at this school use the excuses mentioned about. As much as we all like to have fun, why don’t we do exercise for fun on occasion? Dancing, playing ultimate Frisbee, and playing football are all examples of how college students can get active without feeling like they’re actually exercising.

One of the most common excuses on college campuses for not exercising is “I don’t have enough time.” I am definitely guilty of saying this myself. However, I have been reading a lot lately and learned that the opposite is true. There are many workouts that take 30 minutes or less, including some cardio interval workouts. There are 10,080 minutes in one week. If you work out 30 minutes to 60 minutes three to five times a week, that’s only a maximum of 300 minutes a week.

Now, I know students are involved in a lot of activities and then there’s class, and work for some, but even at a minimum of 150 minutes out of 10,080 minutes. When I think about it that way, it’s hard for me to make an excuse to not get in a quick workout. As I read more about the benefits of exercise, I want to share them with as many people as I can. I’m still struggling with getting in as many workouts as a I should per week, but it’s getting easier and I’m liking it more and more.