Finals Week Stress Relief

picTrying to stay sane during finals may be one of the hardest tasks you will need to undergo within your college career. With all of the cramming of everything you’ve learned all semester in all of your classes in such a short amount of time can really take a toll on a person’s normality. One thing you should remember to do during these stressful last weeks is to make sure to make time to work out. There are so many different types of exercising and working out that have been proven time and time again to reduce stress.

Something as simple as breathing exercises can help you relax and become less stressed. Slow, deep, regular breathing is a sign of relaxation within itself. The deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the hearth rate and by lowering blood pressure.

Yoga is also proven to reduce anxiety and manage stress. When we get stressed out, our body creates a hormone called cortisol. We need cortisol in real emergencies, such as breaking a bone and other severe incidents, but when we are creating it due to stress, there is excess cortisol and this is what can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, bone density loss, and can also completely mess with your immune system. Yoga helps by the deep breathing that it entails. The specific breathing patterns called pranayama, helps get rid of access cortisol and therefore helps out become less stressed. I previously wrote a blog on my experience of yoga and how challenging it really can be. Check it out and leave me a comment of what you think!

Aerobic exercise not only brings benefits to your body, but also your metabolism, hearth, spirits, and stress levels. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis and reduce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Any time if exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce these negative hormones and you can help you see the benefits.

Weight lifting is the same way as other exercises. The heavy strain that you put on your muscles produces endorphins in a fast period of time. The bigger the muscle group that you are working out and the more muscles at once, the more endorphins you are going to produce during and after the workout. Three great exercises are bench press, squats and leg press.

And remember to make time to relax, drink some tea, hang out with your friends or do something you really enjoy doing. You are going to go absolutely insane if you are studying for weeks straight. Sometimes exactly what you need is a laugh or something to help you get in the correct state of mind to continue your fun-filled studies.

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Are you drinking sports drinks for the right reasons?

picUnless you are exercising intensely for over sixty minutes, sports drinks are nothing that you should be consuming. Exercising for less than sixty minutes doesn’t deplete our carbohydrate or electrolyte storages enough to require supplements such as Gatorade or Powerade. Instead simply drinking water will be plenty good for you.

The amount of calories, sugars, carbs and sodium in sports drinks are very high.

Gatorade:

Calories: 80

Carbs: 21g

Sodium: 160mg

Sugars: 21g

Powerade:

Calories: 100

Carbs: 25g

Sodium: 100mg

Sugars: 20g

People assume that since Gatorade is a “sports drink” that it is healthy for you. In reality putting this amount of unneeded sugars and everything else in your body can be the exact opposite of what you want after a light to medium workout. There has been research done that proves that these sports drinks are as unhealthy as soda!

Calories, sugars and sodium are all three big things that most of us could afford to cut back on as it is and drinking water rather than sports drinks is a very good way to do so. The average American consumes almost double the amount of sodium that is recommended for daily consumption.

There are more watered down forms of Gatorade (G2) and Powerade (Powerade Zero) that are much healthier for you if you need a sports drink, but are looking for a healthier option.

Other healthier options would include:

  • Adding a fresh lemon or lime into you water
  • Natural flavored water
  • Mixing natural juice with water
  • Adding berries, basil or mint to your water
  • Coconut water
  • And a bunch of other healthier recipes here 

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Why you can’t Skip Leg Day

pic for blogIf you’re anything like me, then the one day of the week that you resent is leg day. It is an essential day in the workout routine for many more reasons then people, including me before researching this, know. Personally, I knew of some of the benefits, but really researching this topic has made me realize even more how important it is to make sure you incorporate leg day into your workouts. Lets go over the obvious ones first.

You don’t want to look like the guy who has a huge upper body and chicken legs. Seriously, you don’t want to be that guy or girl. Having a well-balanced body not only looks great, but also has many benefits that we’ll go over.

You get better abs by lifting legs. You use a lot more core than you think while doing leg workouts. There are people who never have to do specific abs workouts and can still have abs better than most because doing large compound lifts such as; squats, dead lifts, and Olympic lifts engage huge numbers of core muscles that can’t even be touched with doing abs workouts.

Your upper body gets stronger. By working your lower body, you are increasing your balance, your bench press, explosiveness and upper body as a whole. You can’t have a tree without a trunk, and people don’t realize how important it is for you to have a base with your workouts.  A tree without its trunk would topple over and the same goes for you. When trying to stand and do too heavy of curls you can topple over and this makes you more injury prone. Also, when you are benching you should plant your feet and drive with your legs and if you don’t have enough leg strength you can strain your quadriceps.

You burn large amount of calories. Because you are working such big muscles your heart rate raises higher than most other lifts and that causes you to burn a high amount of calories. You also most likely will sweat a good amount, and therefore increase the lean muscle mass in your legs, which will increase your metabolism.

Many back problems start with your lower body. Having uneven or non-existent lower body muscles is the root for a lot of posture and back problems. Weak glutes put more work on the lower back and hamstrings, leading to tight hip flexors that pull on the lumbar spine creating an anterior pelvic tilt, protruding the abdomen. The Williams Center has personal trainers who specialize on finding where your muscles are lacking and can help you fix problems like these.

Even though leg day may not be the most fun or ideal day of the week, it is one that we all have to power though. If you don’t believe me, do a simple Google search of why you shouldn’t skip legs day. The reasons are endless. If you need some simple exercises to start out with here are a few.

-Yesterday you said tomorrow

Eric Hess

So You Want to Run a 5K?

picMaybe you’ve run multiple 5k’s and want to improve your time. Maybe you ran your first 5k and now you are addicted. Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life and want to try your first 5k. No matter what your story is, training for a 5k is always beneficial. Personally, I have ran more 5k’s than I could count and I have trained for almost each of them, whether it be with a team or on my own. And I’ll be the first one to tell you, that the most painful and worst 5k’s were the ones where I had no previous training.

Each person is a different skill level and that makes it hard to say where you start training. If you need help finding a training program to help you achieve your goals, this would be a good place to start. But finding the training program isn’t the hard part. The hard part, in my opinion, is sticking to the training plan and eating the part.

If you’re serious about wanting to do a 5k and do it well these are the tips I’d have for you:

Get a pair of running shoes. Before you start training, I would get a good pair of running shoes. Check out this website to see what type of shoe you should be wearing. A lot of running injuries result from wearing shoes that aren’t meant for your type of foot. The last thing you want to do is get a running injury before you even get the chance to do your run.

Get a running buddy. Now this may not be for everyone, but if you like having someone to help push you and talk to on your runs, then I would highly suggest finding someone who will do just that.

Get new music or running gear. Having new stuff helps you get the motivation to take the hardest, first step out of the door. The new music will help you keep going once you get out there. Try and make a running playlist that has more upbeat music that will keep you going at a good pace and keep your focused. Having music playing will also help you from hearing how hard you’re breathing and will keep your mind off of how tired you actually are.

Make friends that are running the 5k with you. If you surround yourself with people that also are going to train, it will make finding a running partner that much easier. Not to mention that when you two hang out you probably won’t be going out for unhealthy food and beer. The hardest part of staying in shape for races for me is eating healthy. If you have friends that want to eat healthy too you guys will be good influences on each other. Hopefully.

Post Running Routine. If there were anything that I truly learned from running, it would be the importance of caring for your body after running. The general rule of thumb is to stretch each muscle for about 45 seconds, deepening the stretch as you go. Here are five great stretches for runners. Another thing I found out the hard way would be to ice. If it hurts, ice it. 15 minutes on 15 minutes off. I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you that it will work for everything, but in my cases most of my injuries would have been prevented if I stretched properly and iced more often when I felt pain. After you’re putting mile after mile on your legs, your muscles develop scar tissue and tension that need to be taken care of. If you’re starting to feel pain and don’t know what to do, here is a good website.

I hope that I have had a positive impact on someone to try a 5k or better their time in a 5k.

Also, if you are from the Whitewater area, I would highly recommend this run, September 21st. Whitewater does a wonderful job organizing this and has multiple options for races including the half marathon, 5k walk/run, and fit kid shuffle. I partook in the 5k last year and will be doing in again this year. I hope to see some of you there.

-Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

Eric Hess