How to Keep the Mind Active Over Break

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Ahhhhh! Exams are finally done, you’re headed home for the holidays, and you can finally say you’re stress-free (until next semester anyway). It seems like the best time in the world knowing you now have limited too zero responsibilities. But not so fast. Although this is the time to relax, you don’t let your mind ‘chill’ for too long and let all the great information you consumed all semester go in one ear, and out the other. It is very important that you keep yourself, and more importantly, your mind, healthy over break. Now there are many different ways to do this, but I’m going to go over just a few to keep you keep you one your toes this holiday.

Stay physically active: I know the number one thing on your mind is to just relax and do absolutely nothing all break, but don’t let your body and mind get into such a relax state that it is going to delay your comeback for next semester. Studies actually show that, more volume of brain power is given to the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex, which controls our thinking and memory, when you exercise regularly. So who knows, you may end up coming back to school with better memory than you left with if you stay physically active.

 

READ: Reading usually isn’t the fan favorite of activities when college students have time off. After a full semester of non-stop textbook reading, who wants to spend their free time reading a book? Well just let me just say that I have a suggestion for you. Reading doesn’t strictly mean that you need to sit down and read a one thousand-page novel. Find magazine articles, newspaper clips, or even read up on current events online that interest YOU. Any kind of reading is good reading to keep the brain strong.

 

Write a Blog?: Wait a minute… What are you looking at right now? Oh yeah, it’s a blog. This time you have off may be a great time for you to start your own blog posts. It can be about a plethora of different topics, whether it be your workouts, what you did over the holidays, or even how much your little siblings have been bugging you since you got home. Anything! Sit down, and find a topic you can talk about and almost make it your own little personal diary.

 

There are so many things to do this break: spend time with the family, catch up with some home-town friends, and just take a break from your strenuous workload you have at school. But don’t neglect the importance of keeping your “brain strength” in your time off. Pick one or more of these things to keep your mind in shape for the return of spring semester!

 

|Don’t forget about the little things in life. They tend to have a BIG impact|

 

  • Tyler Kloss

 

 

For more information: Check out these links!

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

 

https://www.imodeducation.com/5-ways-to-keep-your-mind-sharp-over-the-holidays/

 

How to Make the Best Fitness Playlist

fitness playlist image3We all love jamming out to our favorite songs while we work out. Every now and again comes that day when your music just is not matching your workout or motivating you to keep pushing on. When you work out frequently, it is easy for you to start to get bored of your usual songs playing over and over again. This is a clear sign that it is time for a change. Here are a few tips to freshen up your fitness playlist:

  • Start Strong

Make your first song one that will really pump you up for your workout. This can really help you kick off your workout and give you the energy to get started. A great first song can put you in the right mood for the gym.

  • Have Variety

Try to have a large pool of songs to listen too. This can keep your playlist interesting. A blend of different genres and artists can keep your engaged and entertained throughout your workout.

  • Find Your Rhythm

 

Choose to listen to songs that match the tempo of your workout. This means including songs for the warm-up, high-intensity, and cool-down aspects of your workout. This can help motivate you and keep you going in a great rhythm. Having your music and workout in sync can be very helpful and energizing.

  • Personalize

Pick songs that really speak to you. Songs that remind you of good times can help distract you from the difficulty of your workout. Also, knowing the lyrics can also give you something to focus on. Singing along in your head can help you keep your pace.

Having a fitness playlist (check this link for song ideas and more!) is a simple tool that can help improve your workout. Music is a great motivator when you need that extra burst of energy. Your playlist can be specific to you, and reflect how you feel and what you want to accomplish. When you get tired of your playlist try mixing it up with new songs. Remember that your playlist can be continuously changing just like you.

 

~All you can do is work to become a better you~

~Sadie Wrobel

 

A Commuter’s Emergency Kit for Winter Weather

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Happy Winter Everyone! With this cold weather it is the perfect time to cuddle up with a book and a heated blanket. But, when it comes time that you HAVE to leave the house, you need to make sure your car is prepared for the cold weather. My fiancé, who is an EMT, put together an emergency car kit for me just in case something was to go wrong during my long commutes. I am here to share his genius with anyone who drives during the cold months.

A Winter Emergency Kit contains some equipment that should be in your vehicle at all times. Such equipment includes;

  • Car Phone Charger – Similarly to how your car should always have more than a ¼ of a tank of gas in the winter, your phone should never fall below ¼ of a battery. In case of an emergency you need to be able to call for help.
  • Car Jump Starter/Jumper Cables – It would be the worst if your car’s battery died and you are left out in the cold. Be prepared: sometimes batteries drain for the cold temperatures.
  • Basic First Aid Kit – No one ever plans on getting hurt, but if you or someone else does you will be prepared to help! For advice on how to stock your first aid kit, visit Red Cross.
  • Flashlight and batteries – “Oh no, it’s dark outside! Good thing I can see with my handy dandy flashlight!”
  • Flare- While a flare might sound bizarre (we are not out at sea), it is an important universal signal for help.
  • Tire Changing Kit- Even if you do not know how to change a tire, someone who does know can assist even if they are not prepared. See the equipment you will need for changing a tire at the DMV website.

Once you have your basic necessities, add in your winter equipment. This portion of your kit ensures that you will stay warm, and be able to either get yourself out of a sticky situation, or be comfortable while you wait for help.

  • Kitty Litter/Wood shavings- Believe it out not, if your tires get stuck in the snow one bag of kitty litter can give you the traction to drive out. Wood shaving also does the trick and it is environmentally friendly.
  • Window Scraper- Invest in a nice window scraper! I have used mine to clean windows, clean out snow in my tire wells, and dig my tires out of snow. Life-Saver.
  • Shovel- You do not need a huge shovel, but it is essential to get out of big messes.
  • Tow chain and rope – Just in case the shovel doesn’t work… anyone with a truck can pull you out. I have used mine several times…
  • Extra Hats, Gloves, Coats, and Scarves- You never know if you may need a little something extra.
  • Blanket- If you need to wait for assistance, you might as well stay comfortable.
  • Water and Food- Once again this basic necessity can keep you comfortable and prepared if you must wait. Food such as raisins, nuts, and granola are good to have.

Thank you for reading, I hope this Winter Emergency Kit helps you to feel safe and prepared for winter’s unexpected experiences.

Until next time, be safe, stay warm, and carry on…

Kari Rebman

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What Should I (wh)Eat Today?

Where Should Grains Fall into Your Diet…

 

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With so many diets out there, knowing what to eat can be confusing. Even if you aren’t on any specific diet plan, you still want to monitor what goes into our precious bodies! One thing I personally get confused on is what to do about grains. So many diets nowadays call for either low grain or (if possible) no grains at all. So what is the answer… are you supposed to eat as much grains as possible, or avoid grains altogether?

This is really a tricky trick question. No, really, like a trick question. Because there are two basic types of grain categories: Whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains, such as wheat flour, contain nutrients and fiber. Essentially, no modifications done to the genetic makeup of the grain whatsoever, meaning the three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) are all still there. Refined grains are nutrient poor, because they lose those key qualities to them during the processing. Specifically, it loses the bran and germ part of itself. With the removal of the bran and germ, 25 percent of the grain’s protein and about seventeen key nutrients are lost.

 

Refined grains are also high in carbs that get digested and absorbed very quickly, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and subsequent hunger and cravings. They are linked to obesity and many metabolic diseases. Numerous studies show that people who eat the most whole grains have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and tend to live longer. (You can check out some those studies HERE, HERE, and HERE!)

 

So why do so many diets call for no/low grains? Well 1) so many grains out on the market are refined grains, so it is easier for some just to say forget them altogether. And 2) grains are high in carbohydrates, so they are unsuitable for people who are on a low-carb diet. Diabetics may not tolerate a lot of grains, because of the large amount of carbohydrate.

 

So, what do you do now? Eat grain… eat no grain… CONSUME GRAINS UNTIL YOU BECOME A PIECE OF WHEAT?! As with most things in nutrition, all of this depends entirely on the individual. If you like grains and feel good eating them, then there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to avoid them as long as you’re eating mostly whole grains. On the other hand, if you don’t like grains or if they make you feel bad, then there is no harm in avoiding them either. Grains are not essential, and there is no nutrient in there that you can’t get from other foods. At the end of the day, grains are good for some, but not others. If you like grains, eat them. If you don’t like them, or they make you feel bad, then avoid them. It’s as simple as that.

 

*Be Proud, But Never Satisfied*

 

~Luke Pallo