Hold that Pose!

What words come to mind when you think of muscle building or strength training? Weights, a medicine ball, fancy weight machines, and dumbbells? But, why all of the materialist items? Do we really need all of that to build strength?

Pic 1 for Hold that Pose  Now, what words come to mind when you think of flexibility? Stretching obviously, and perhaps Yoga? So why is it that we associate only stretching with yoga immediately? Because the truth is, with Yoga and other resistance training exercises comes strength training that you can’t get from weight lifting. So if you’re short of weights or don’t have access to a weight lifting machine, good news: one of the best pieces of equipment you can have for strength training is your own body and here’s why:

  • While weights are a great way to build a specific group of muscles, we isolate that group of muscles while neglecting others. As bodybuilding.com states, “We forget about the smaller but very important intrinsic muscles that hold the body together in optimal alignment. When we neglect these muscles, the body’s way of letting you know about it is through bouts of dull pain or aches in your shoulders, knees or lower back that were not there before” (Clark et al., 2008).
  • Holding yoga poses and other resistance training exercises opposed to weight lifting, breaks down to a matter of eccentric contraction in the muscles vs. concentric contraction.

Pic 2 for Hold that Pose

Yoga relies on eccentric contraction, where the muscle stretches as it contracts. This gives the muscle a sleek and lengthy look.

Weight training relies on the opposing principle of concentric contraction. The muscle gets smaller as it contracts. This gives the muscle a compact, bulging appearance.

-Why does it matter to know the difference? Muscle strengthening may be most effective by doing eccentric contractions.

  • Yoga increases muscle endurance, since it is a matter of holding a given pose oppose to short compulsions of a repeated pose.

So next time you shut down a yoga class because you think you won’t benefit from it, revaluate all of the positive outcomes that comes with Yoga and Resistance training. Not only does it work as a double whammy, stretching and building muscle, but it focuses on muscles we usually neglect when weight lifting. As Nicholas DiNubile, says “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to building a stronger, more impressive physique.” Whether you’re trying out a yoga class for the first time or holding planks or wall sits in your room, broaden your horizon of muscles to focus on instead of isolating one group and neglecting others.

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

Why Choose Meditation

With the turn of the New Year everyone has his or her new resolutions and goals. Most people aim to lose weight, eat better, or workout everyday. The truth is though, if this isn’t something you normally already do, keeping those resolutions can be extremely difficult. Aiming for small changes may not seem like a huge resolution, but it can be potentially more beneficial in the long run if you actually keep to it. Something that gets overlooked a lot is the power of meditation.

Pic for Blog-Why Choose MeditationThe definition of meditation from the Webster Dictionary is, “To spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation.” This may not seem like a hard task, but with our increasingly busy lives we often forget to take time out and gather our thoughts.  Meditation not only benefits you with relaxation but there are also many health benefits that go along with regular meditation.

According to the Art of Living website, some physical benefits that meditation could bring you include; Lowering you blood pressure, reducing anxiety attacks, decreases tension pain, improves mood and behavior, improves immune system, and increases you energy levels. Considering that meditation is not a physically demanding activity, all can enjoy these benefits if they commit the time.

Along with physical benefits the Art of Living also put together a list of mental benefits that meditation offers. That list includes; decrease of anxiety, emotional stability, creativity increases, intuition developments, peace of mind, and sharpens the mind.

Along with those benefits meditation can lead you to become more self-aware and make better health choices. When you reflect on yourself everyday you can discover who you are and what your values are. One testimony that the Huffington post wrote about was a man suffering from anger issues. Through the power of meditation, he was able to recognize his anger and detach himself from it. This allowed him to clear his mind and calm himself instead of acting violent towards someone.

Meditation isn’t something that people talk about often, and even more rarely make their New Years resolution.  But, if you’re looking to make a small change with large benefits, meditation may be the perfect outlet. This is an activity that everyone can do and not feel overwhelmed with.

To set the perfect meditation mood, start with finding a quiet area. Since it is winter, indoors might be the best option for now. Draw your curtains, light some candles, and dim the lights. Setting the perfect meditation mood will make your overall experience that much better and keep you dedicated to it. Remember, for all the best benefits constant practice is necessary.

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

– Mary Marren

Dear Freshman

PicNotebooks, check. Shower caddy, check. Mini fridge, check. Backpack, check. You’re all ready for your first day of your college career as far as your check list goes, but if you’re anything like I was last year when I was a freshman there’s much more that you’re concerned about than if your futon is going to fit under your loft bed. You might be worried about classes, meeting people, and what the dorm life will be like. Through all of the first day jitters, you’re most likely too busy to worry about being healthy or thinking “how can I stay healthy while on campus?” So as a welcome to campus gift from me to you, I’ll do you a favor and do all of the thinking and question answering for you. By doing so I will reflect on my freshmen year and list some health related mistakes I’ve made and what I should have done instead.

What I did: Decided to wait out doing an intramural sport until next year in case it would be too much on my plate with classes and other clubs.

What I should have done: Tried it out! See how it worked with my class schedule, and if I rather do a sport than the other clubs I was in. Seeing as I ended up not staying in the clubs I picked over intermural sports anyways, giving it a shot would have been worth it. Not only do you have a steady way to be active, but you meet people and get to have a lot of fun! Get info on each sport and sign up deadlines, here!

What I did: Thought that Ramen was actually a good idea for dorm living.

  • Ramen is famous for being a staple to a college kid’s diet because it’s affordable, and filling. However, instant ramen noodles contain Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) which is used to preserve cheap, processed foods, which makes digestion a drawn out process. Not only does it make breaking down the food difficult but it contains a lot of sodium, 875 mg to be specific, 35% of your daily value.

What I should have done: Not thought that Ramen was actually a good idea for dorm living.

  • Instead get some minute brown rice and flavor it with salt and pepper, soy sauce, or whatever you’d like!

What I did: Freshmen -15

  • After a few days of eating at the dining halls, trying UNO’s deep dish pizza, and basically anything you’d categorize as “college food” I was already missing my exotic array of fruits and vegetables, and health food that I spoiled myself with at home. I stuck to my picky standards and couldn’t find anything good and healthy to eat on campus. So I actually experienced my own twist on the freshmen fifteen, which was the freshmen negative fifteen. Although at least it wasn’t fifteen plus pounds I wasn’t looking to lose weight due to the lack of food I thought was acceptable.

What I should have done: Open my eyes to all of the options at the dining halls, and get creative making my own food in my dorm. Which I eventually did, because there really are great options at the dining halls, and I actually looked forward to making my own salad and seeing what the vegetarian options were that day (Esker’s wild rice and broccoli was my favorite). Also, like I said I got creative and found ways to eat like I would at home in my dorm, like by making instant oatmeal with almonds, honey, and cinnamon. Still unsure about what to pick while at either of the dining halls, UNO’s, P-Street, or any other venue? You can see what’s on the menu and the portion sizes along with calories of each menu items, right here! Also, for other tips on nutrition and eating healthfully here’s some advice from the experts at the University Health and Counseling Services.

 

What I did: Discovered how fabulous group fitness classes are too late!

What I should have done: Tried them out sooner! I have to give props to Warhawk fitness’s group fitness classes, because of these class’s existence I am the yoga enthusiast I am today. During my second semester me and my friends made it a regular routine to go to yoga Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my only regret is not going as much my first semester. So for goodness sakes, get into it! You don’t need to depend on having a buddy with you to do it (although it is a blast to go with a friend, but when everyone’s too busy I’ll rock it out by myself) and it is not an intimidating environment AT ALL. Seriously! No reigning international yoga sports champion is rollin’ up to a group fitness class at Whitewater, trust me. We are all falling over and collapsing together. I talk up yoga a lot just because it’s my favorite, but Warhawk fitness offers insanity, core complete, turbo kick, cycling and more! Check out the fall 2014 schedule here!

College can either be A.) The unhealthiest years of your life, complete with the freshmen 15…every year. Or it can be B.) Your healthiest and happiest years, with maybe the freshmen 15… in muscle! With all of the options to stay healthy on campus, option B is certainly achievable. With these tips in mind, the worst of your worries will be how to get through those awkward icebreakers. Have fun, stay healthy and enjoy your first year of college!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero ♡