Archive for February, 2009

We at Barbelle know that sometimes, before you can take care of your physical self, you need to take care of your emotional well-being. With that in mind, we offer you these words of comfort in our collective time of strife:

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Sunday Night Namaste

Could your Sunday night use a dose of “namaste?”  If the bookend of your weekend is anything like mine–a whirlwind of organzing, cramming, printing, grocery shopping, and stress eating–you should check out Well Woman yoga for 45 minutes of blissful relaxation.  Just show up a litle before 9:15 PM at the Well Woman office on the first floor of Reid (the class is in 119 Reid).  The instructor is a Barnard student who brings eclectic music, thought provoking readings, and best of all, a flexible (no pun intended) practice agenda.  She caters the class to whatever the group desires that evening.  Seriously, one week I asked her if there were poses for dealing with frustrating ex boyfriends–and she delivered!!  Did I mention that the class is free? So, next time your Sunday night feewell-womanls out of control, take a deep inhale and indulge yourself in Well Woman Yoga.

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Yesterday afternoon, while passing through Barnard Hall, I stopped to check out the table set up to promote Celebration of Black Womanhood Week. I noticed a free yoga class on their list of events, and emailed one of the coordinators, Taylor Johnson, BC ’09, to find out more:

Celebration of Black Womanhood Week is a time-honored tradition at
Barnard. This year the theme is Promoting Positive Connections: It all
adds up. Make it count. Each day of the week we have focused on a
different component of positive lifestyles. On Friday we would love for
people to join us as we focus on taking care of yourself. There will be a
free yoga class offered at 1pm in Weber Lounge, followed by DIY manicures
in the Zora Neale Hurston Lounge. Come to de-stress and beautify!!!!

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When I was in fifth grade, I joined my town’s swim team and learned that I was a natural breast-stroker.  Unlike many of my teammates who had to run drills with kickboards to get it just right, the rhythm of the breaststroke was something that made sense to me innately.  Having never before excelled at anything athletic, I reveled in my newfound talent.  I didn’t mind the laps of free style or back stroke, because I knew if I pushed through those I could rejoice in my breastroke.

Unfortunately, with the introduction of the butterfly my delight with swim team practice ended. There was nothing innate about my ability to do the butterfly.  I didn’t understand how to lift my arms, the technique of the dolphin kick, or when I was supposed to breathe amidst all that splashing.  Practice after practice, I would break the stroke down, kicking the legs then stroking the arms separately, eventually, and unsuccessfully, trying to bring them together.  Not too many weeks later, I quit the town swim team.

Since swim team, quitting has been the unfortunate thread running through my athletic career.  I quit karate when I reached a level that demanded serious and more frequent practices.  I quit cross-country after an embarrassing finish at my first meet.  I quit volleyball because pre-season was too demanding.  I even quit ballet, an activity I had always dreamed of pursuing, because I decided the commute to class was too far.

I am not proud of my athletic record, nor do I completely understand it.  In most other spheres of my life—academic, extracurricular, work-related, social—quitting is not an option. I have realized, as most Barnard students do, that the good grade, the rewarding internship, the study abroad adventure, even the successful relationship, require perseverance through challenges.  So why, when I hit the pool or the gym or the ballet bar, does my dedicated mantra fly out the window? (more…)

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Last Year's Bike-A-Thon Logo

Keep your heads up and your heels down for the upcoming stationary Bike-A-Thon! Mark your calendars now – the 6th Annual Stationary Bike-A-Thon and Community Fitness Fair will be next Thursday, March 5th. The show goes on rain or shine because the Bike-A-Thon takes place indoors! From 11 AM – 11 PM, you are invited to come to LeFrak Gymnasium (on the first floor of Barnard Hall) to ride with fellow students, faculty, and friends to raise money that will go directly to Columbia Community Service, Inc.

The party will be going all day, with pumpin’ music and awesome movies (last year they showed the entire first season of Grey’s Anatomy, and this year I’ve heard rumors that Zoolander is coming back)! So bring your stamina, your friends, and your friends’ money and help those in need while having an awesome time. Plus, if you raise at least $15 you get a super cool t-shirt!

Hope to see you ALL there!

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According to an NPD Group market research report,  800,000 people purchased Wii Fit in January of 2009 alone. This incredible demand illustrates a new shift in the gaming industry to fuel the public’s interest in health and fitness. On top of the money generated from sales, 2 million dollars were put into the University of North Carolina’s Public Health Program to study the health effects of Wii Fit and other activity-centered games such as Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, and Garage Band.

As a fitness junkie, I initially appraised these consumer-fitness items as being all marketing with little fitness behind them. So, naturally, I had to test out the system myself. I am not a health or fitness expert by any means, but I decided to give you readers my unprofessional opinion of this new brand of virtual fitness. Although the program is a nice diversion from your standard treadmill, it is not necessarily any easier than a traditional fitness regime. The strength exercises, such as lunges and side bends, are just as painful and difficult as when they are done without the game. The benefit of Wii Fit is that you have a program encouraging you to use proper technique and to stick to it. But, this program can easily be turned off or muted, or you can switch your television to your favorite program, so I am not sure if Wii Fit is that great of an investment.

Wii Fit offers four different types of fitness: yoga, aerobics, strength training, and balance games. My personal favorite was the ski slalom on the balance games section, as I enjoyed spending about 20 minutes of my day leaning to the left and the right while being visually stimulated. In all seriousness, I felt that each facet of the game was rather juvenile and seemed to isolate moves that any person could do without the aid of an expensive piece of video gaming equipment. Additionally, I got bored with the program quite fast, and feel that other people, especially those with a passing interest in fitness, may eventually feel the same. After all, despite the fancy packaging, the game is essentially a piece of plastic that you exercise on.

Nevertheless, the Wii Fit and other similar games have been found to be beneficial to your health. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, Wii active games such as Wii Bowling and Wii Boxing do require the use of more energy than inactive games, although they were not of high enough intensity to make an impact in the recommended daily amount of exercise in children. Additionally, a study by the Liverpool John Moores University in England found that the regular use of the Wii Sports console helped to burn about 1,830 calories per week, which is equal to about four Big Macs. These fitness findings make the Wii Sports program a healthy alternative to other, more sedentary games and are a step towards fitness for those individuals that rarely see the inside of a gym.

Last July, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) announced the findings from a study from the University of Wisconsin, where the Wii Sports package was found to increase heart rate, maximum oxygen intake, as well as perceived exertion. Wii Boxing in particular burned approximately 216 calories per 30 minutes of play. These findings indicate the potential health benefits that surround involvement and participation in Wii Sporting.

The ACE is beginning a study on the effects of Wii Fit presently, and those results will likely indicate whether or not the new fitness system has as much of an impact on calorie burning and health in general.

Despite the research about health benefits, it remains unknown whether the video-game intrigue will be enough to keep gamers playing the games they buy. I suppose time will tell whether Wii Fit lives up to it’s name, or if it should change its name to Wii Fad.

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If you are what you eat, then the contents of your mini fridge certainly reveal something about you. Here are some suggestions for foods that will fit in your mini fridge and fuel late night study sessions!

Apples. This post is titled “Your Daily Apple” so of course apples are a must to include. Did you know apples are more effective at waking you up then coffee? In addition their juicy goodness will appease any sweet cravings.

Raw Vegetables. When you get the midnight munchies, try noshing on some crudite. According to the American Heart Association, vegetables contain fiber that will keep your hunger at bay for hours!

Hummus. If raw vegetables seem bland by themselves try dipping them in hummus. Chickpeas are a great source of vegetarian protein. To add some spice to your life, purchase the roasted garlic variety.

Almond Butter- Bored of peanut butter? Try almond butter! As Jane E. Brody of the New York Times notes, Almond butter contains healthy mono-saturated fats that keep you full for hours. For a decadent (and antioxidant rich) snack, spread almond butter on a square of dark chocolate.

Yogurt– According to the website www.mypyramid.gov, yogurt provides a healthy amount of calcium necessary to build strong bones. Many brands, however, contain as much fat and sugar as a candy bar! My personal favorite is Greek yogurt, which has a thicker consistency and less sugar than regular yogurt. Here is an idea for a quick, filling breakfast or a yummy snack: Top one container of Fage (zero or two percent) with one sliced banana, chopped dried figs, wheat germ, and a drizzle of honey. Delish!

Seltzer Water– Instead of reaching for that tempting can of cola, try sipping on some seltzer. If you do not like the taste of plain seltzer, add a small amount of pomegranate juice for an added antioxidant benefit. Tara Parker-Pope, of the New York Times, even lists pomegranates as one of the top eleven foods people should eat in her blog. Garnish with a lime wedge and you have got a zesty concoction!

Any other suggestions for must-have fridge items? Please share in the comments section!

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