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Posts Tagged ‘Web Resources’

Like everyone in Manhattan, I can hardly contain my delight when the sun finally comes out, even if it’s only 30 degrees.I find myself wanting to take advantage of the nice weather and go for a run outside. While this option is always tempting, I find that my muscles never benefit as much as they do inside. I get cardio galore, but it’s such a chore to have to lift weights when I get back to my room, or worse yet, go over to the gym after an already intense run.

Park Bench Push Up
Park Bench Push Up

While I was running through Riverside Park today, I found myself wondering how I could use what was at my disposal to give myself a total-body workout. Of course, my mind went immediately to a workout I had seen while leafing through endless stacks of “Fitness” magazines during my time as an intern. I have borrowed their workout, cut some silly ones, and added a couple of my own tips based on personal experience.

Get Fit Outdoors

1)    Side Leap: Running on bricks getting boring? Stop for a minute to do some inner thigh/glute work. Starting with both legs together, bend your knees and hop to the right as far as possible. Don’t bring your feet together, but instead bend your right knee and hop to the left. Do 20 hops on each side.

2)    Park Bench Dip: I always feel this one in my triceps. Facing away from the bench, support yourself with your arms on the seat of the bench with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle in front of you, dip your arms so that your upper arms are almost parallel to the ground, then raise. Do 12-15 reps.

3)    Park Bench Push-Up: Facing the bench, put your hands on the seat. Fully extend your legs behind you and do 12-15 reps. Fitness recommends you do push ups again with your feet on the bench and your hands on the ground, but I’d just as soon do another set to avoid putting my hands on the gravelly ground!

4)    Side Shuffle: Along the same vein as the side leap. Shuffle three steps to the right, jump up and turn around, and shuffle back. Continue for a minute. Watch out – sounds easy, but is surprisingly difficult.

5)    Side Step: I felt silly doing this one in the park. Basically, find a step and alternate bringing one knee up to your chest, then the other. Repeat til you’re bored.

Side Step
Side Step

6)    Slalom Jump: Place 4-6 small rocks in a zigzag pattern, with about 1.5 feet in between each rock. Keeping both feet together, hop to the outside of each rock. Turn around at the end and continue for a minute.

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real-age-testimg_assist_custom1As a college student, I find I frequently treat myself with less kindness than I should. I stay up late, wake up too early, and occasionally find myself with a late night slice of pizza in hand on the steps of Low in the dead of winter. This made me wonder – even though I am technically only 22, has this misuse aged my body more than my biological years would betray?

c7a61f18-e9ae-4b84-80de-9503b124745fimg100To find the answer to my questions, I turned to RealAge.com, a useful and extremely popular tool invented by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen to calculate the body’s true age, based on your behaviors. As Oprah’s unofficial doctor, Dr. Oz has appeared on her show numerous times to promote RealAge and his series of books (co-written with Roizen) called YOU: The Owner’s Manual.

I used the easy-to-navigate website to determine my body’s true age in less than fifteen minutes. I answered all types of questions ranging from my genetics – heritable diseases, my parents ages and education – to how much time I spend in a car, what I eat, and how much I exercise. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised to find I have the “RealAge” of 16! According to the analysis provided after I took the test, my low real age was mostly due to my vegetarian diet and my exercise regime, but they found that I needed to sleep more (of course) and take more vitamins in order to bring my RealAge down.

Although I think this test would be more accurate if I were older – and thus had more years to subtract – I think that it is overall a great concept. As a student, I need to pay attention to my health because these are my formative years, and this easy test helped me break down the different areas of my life in which I can improve my behaviors to improve my health. 

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Cooking as a college student can get tedious, frustrating, time-consuming, and unhealthy. If you don’t think you can stomach another packet of Easy Mac or that the Ollie’s deliveryman might be starting to recognize your face and/or your order, fret no longer. The internet (the wonderful time-sucking tool that it is) can provide endless answers to cooks who have hit a dead end or those who have never gotten off the starting block. Although there are endless sites devoted to recipes, I find that blogs are much more helpful because you get a recipe as well as the chef’s personal touches and explanations of the recipe, how to substitute ingredients to suit your tastes and troubleshooting.

 

Chunky Celery Soup

Chunky Celery Soup

Today, I’m thinking in particular of a wonderful, expansive blog, 101cookbooks.com by photographer Heidi Swanson. She chronicles her forays into cooking in a straightforward manner, as well as providing beautiful photographs of her finished products. What’s more, many of her recipes are healthy, organic, and usually vegetarian. Yesterday, I tried out her delicious Chunky Celery Soup – easy and delicious, especially with a healthy serving of parmesan on top! Her seemingly endless wealth of knowledge and recipes are exciting and inspiring for even the most wayward cook. So, during the midterms period, don’t skimp on the healthy eating routine – instead, take the time to experiment and ultimately the rewards will keep pouring in.

 

 

Special thanks to Scott for tipping me off to this wonderful blog!

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With winter comes one of our favorite types of precipitation. Also, the New Year and the season of gift-giving. Many of us may not appreciate, however, the wonderful seasonal produce of winter. Partaking in these offerings is not only a great way to enjoy succulent, fresh produce and nourish ourselves with important vitamins and minerals, but it is also cost-effective, because seasonal produce costs less than does produce that is not in season, as an article published by the Medill School of Northwestern University explains.

Got vitamin C? A whole crop of winter citrus fruits do: grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines are in their prime. They are excellent sources of the vitamin, which our bodies use to create collagen, which comprises our tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

Carrots as well as sweet potatoes and winter squash provide us with vitamin A, which helps boost our immune systems.

Spinach and other dark and leafy greens contain fiber, which aids in digestions, as well as folate, which we use in new cell development.

The Food Network website features innovative recipes using the season’s offerings.

Whether we follow these recipes and make a great squash soup or eat an orange or two, enjoying these fresh fruits and vegetables will remind us why we love winter so much.

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fitness_logoLooking for a way to revamp your workout regime? Just started lifting, but you’re not sure you’re doing it right? This is where the internet comes in handy. As children of the twenty-first century, we have become accustomed to immediate gratification; if we have a question, we google it. Now, Fitness Magazine has come up with a way to help its readers improve their form, tailor their workouts, and learn some new moves. The Fitness workout video database allows users to create their own workouts without spending a dime.

Although I’m biased – I interned at Fitness last year – I find their new “video” feature absolutely incredible. After signing up (for free!) on their website, you can access their huge archive of workout videos. They have complete “workouts” for isolated parts of your body, but they also have a feature that allows you to create your own workout and piece it together based on the equipment, time, and space that you have.

howplusvid3My favorite workout thus far is the Ultimate Ab Workout. It is a graduated, four-week program that increases in difficulty and intensity as you go along. The workouts are manageable, and appropriately difficult. It starts out slow, but as the weeks go on, I have definitely started to see results in a way that I didn’t expect. I also strongly recommend the “create a video workout” feature: it really is all-encompassing and allows you to tailor your workout to your level

The Fitness videos are also carefully monitored by workout experts as the models perform the moves. They ensure that the program is done correctly, in order for viewers to be able to emulate the workout so that they do not injure themselves using improper form. So go to it – go make your own video and enjoy!

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I started using Twitter after my terrible hometown newspaper published an article hailing the site as “the cool new place for social networking.” I signed up and quickly found that, well, none of my friends were using it. Without the social element, I couldn’t really see the point and wrote off Twitter entirely… until I read this blog post by New York Times technology columnist David Pogue. He made the case that the power of Twitter is how it allows you to access information in real time (this video from commoncraft.com also gives a great explanation). So I decided to revisit my account.

I ran another search for friends, and no one else had joined in my few months absence. So, keeping Mr. Pogue’s advice in mind, I ran a search for the kind of information I was interested in receiving: “health.”

The results were endless and varied. Many health sections of many major news outlets twitter their newly posted articles or videos, while other health buffs tweet about their health experiences. That first day, I started following the New York Times Health section, as well as some other groups writing about issues I was interested in. I’ve very much enjoyed being able to browse the headlines as they are twittered, eliminating my compulsive checking of the Times every few hours. Other “tweeple” (twitter-people, or users) I’ve enjoyed less, and some I’ve even stopped following because I questioned the legitimacy of their advice and their credentials. As with everything on the web, just because they signed up for a Twitter account doesn’t mean their 10 step diet plan is healthy.

The other advantage of Twitter, like I claimed about news outlets’ online extensions, is interaction. Although many of the news outlets on Twitter do not reply or respond to replies, other health and fitness users do. I enjoy following Whole Foods Market because you can respond to their tweets with questions and actually expect to hear a response.

So, don’t really think of Twitter as a site for social networking (unless you actually do have friends who use it). Rather, think of it as a way to gather specific information and interact with others who share your interests.

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As a college student, you easily waste half your day in front of a computer screen. You google, check your email, your facebook, your blog, your twitter contacts, Perez, and you (ostensibly) write papers. The main question on my mind is this: since I just can’t seem to quit my computer, how can I use it for the forces of “good” (i.e. exercise and self-improvement) rather than “evil” (read: an in-depth critique of Jessica Simpson’s weight gain)? Although a relatively new field, researchers have begun to analyze the usage of the internet as a tool for weight loss, healthy behavior enforcement, and distribution of information on exercise and nutrition.

kfcp5_z3internethealth1In one study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, researchers analyzed the effect of sending daily health and wellness emails about weight maintenance or weight loss to employees at large worksites . The study took place over six months and had reasonable success. Of the 960 employees, a little over one third agreed to participate. They received daily emails about varied subjects: nutrition, exercise, and overall health, and 70% opened at least 50% of their emails. Furthermore, 75% of subjects continued to open at least one email a week throughout the 26-week study. Thus, the study concluded that email is an effective means by which to disseminate information.

One of the major problems that the study encountered was limited access to computers. The emails could only be sent out five days a week in order to be fair to employees without internet access at home.  Although college students obviously have much more flexibility than full-time employees, their access to the internet is less limited, and thus the effect of the emails could only be improved among college students.

The study also fails to address the extent to which the employees used the information in the emails to improve their lifestyles. Unfortunately, the effects of this study would prove harder to analyze and would need to take place over a longer period. This should not discourage us from using the internet as a tool for self-improvement. Numerous websites have sprung up over the past decade to track meals, create personal workouts, and spread information about healthy living. Check out websites like the daily plate, Real Age, and South Beach Diet for some personalized weight loss and total body health information. As writers for a health and wellness blog, we obviously believe in the effectiveness of the internet as a means to attain and maintain physical and emotional health, and will continue to do our best to reach out to the Barnard community, as this study did. In the months to come, we hope to see a general increase in the health of the Barnard community, so do your part and tell your friends about Barbelle!

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