Become a Healthy Penn State Ambassador!

Are you passionate about health and wellness? Maybe you’ve recently decided to make your health a priority and are amazed at how much your life has improved. Maybe you want to encourage other students to be healthy. Wherever you are in your health journey, consider applying to become a Healthy Penn State Ambassador!

Healthy Penn State Ambassadors serve as role models for healthy behaviors on campus. They participate in outreach events for Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) as well as promote health through social media and informal interactions with other students. Ambassadors also speak to groups, clubs, and student organizations about the HPW Wellness Services and how students can use the services to improve their health.

As a Healthy Penn State Ambassador, you will work with health promotion staff while developing your leadership skills and enhancing your resume. You will build valuable friendships and expand your professional network, all while making a difference in the health of Penn State students.

Training to become an ambassador will take place in Fall 2018. The training consists of 8 hours and will be held at times that are most convenient for the selected students. Students will learn healthy skills, health promotion strategies and motivational interviewing.

You must be able to commit to at least one semester to be a Healthy Penn State Ambassador. Requirements include attending the mandatory 8-hour training, 1 hour bi-weekly meetings and volunteering 1 to 3 hours per week (at most) to Healthy Penn State activities.

To apply, complete the application at here. The deadline to apply is August 31. If you have questions, stop by Health Promotion and Wellness in 20 Intramural Building or call (814)-863-0461. You may also contact us by e-mail at promotinghealth@psu.edu.

 

Fuel Your Workout

Working out is important to your physical and mental health. You might have questions about what to eat before and after workouts. I have done some research on the topic and want to share my findings with you.  Eating a snack before working out in the morning will provide a boost of energy because your body has been fasting during the night.  Eating a snack before working out in the late afternoon will also provide much needed energy given that you probably eat lunch several hours earlier.  Experts in the field recommend that you eat something within one hour after working out to maximize recovery, if you are not planning to eat a regular meal. Below are some examples of balanced snacks and meals that will help fuel your body.

The type of food you should eat before a workout depends on the type of activity that you have planned. For strength training, aim for a snack rich in protein. This may include 6 ounces low fat Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of almonds, string cheese or an energy bar with 8 or more grams of protein (1). For a cardio workout, complex carbohydrates are a great energy source. Examples include a small box of raisins (2 tablespoons), a small banana, or one slice of whole wheat bread with a thin layer of peanut butter. Try eating these foods 30-60 minutes before working out to allow time for digestion.

If you exercise immediately before a meal like breakfast or lunch, then skip the post-workout snack and fuel your body with a healthy meal that contains quality carbohydrates and protein. Base your meal on the MyPlate guidelines to ensure that it is balanced and contains each food group (3). One example of a well-balanced meal is hard cooked eggs with a slice of whole grain toast and 100% fruit juice or oatmeal with berries and milk (2). If you workout later in the morning, try having a grilled chicken salad (with vegetables, nuts, quinoa and fruit such as apples or cranberries to provide a well-rounded meal with protein, fats, and carbohydrates) or turkey sub with whole wheat bread and a side of veggies for lunch.

If you do not have a meal planned close to your workout, plan to have a snack to replenish carbohydrate stores and repair muscles.  Examples of great post workout snacks include: one tablespoon of nut butter on apple slices, 6-8 ounces of low fat chocolate milk or a string cheese with a few whole grain crackers.

Remember to hydrate and rehydrate! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16-20 ounces of water at least 4 hours before working out and another 8-12 ounces 10 or 15 minutes after working out (4). Sip 3 to 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes during any work out that is less than 1 hour (1). Keep your body properly hydrated and fueled to get the best workout possible. We hope you have a fulfilling workout!

Written by HealthWorks member, Valerie Snell

  1. Wolfram, Taylor. “How to Fuel Your Workout”. Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 10 Jul. 2018, https://www.eatright.org/fitness/exercise/exercise-nutrition/how-to-fuel-your-workout
  2. Rosenbloom, Christine. “3 Easy Tips for Fueling Your Workout without Overdoing It.” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., 19 Oct. 2016, eatright.org/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-your-workout/3-easy-tips-for-fueling-your-workout-without-overdoing-it.
  3. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  4. Michael N. Sawka, FACSM (chair); Louise M. Burke, FACSM, E. Randy Eichner, FACSM, Ronald J. Maughan, FACSM, Scott J. Montain, FACSM, Nina S. Stachenfeld, FACSM. American College of Sports Medicine Exercise and Fluid Replacement Position Stand

Phubbing

What is phubbing?

“Phubbing” is the act of ignoring or snubbing a companion to pay attention to a phone or mobile device (1). Pretty much everyone has their smart phone in their hands these days (2). Research shows that simply the presence of a mobile phone in social settings detracts from the face-to-face interaction.  Most people typically do not realize that the use of their phone–when they are talking to another person–is perceived to be negative (2).

How does phubbing affect my social interactions?

There are many benefits to social media because it serves as a way to connect with loved ones and those who are not live near by (2). Despite the fact that many individuals use their mobile devices to maintain relationships, research suggests that the presence of cell phones negatively affects in-person interactions (2). Having a phone present (not necessarily even in view) during an in-person interaction can result in less effective communication. This is especially true during meaningful interactions (2).  Many students interrupt their meals or conversations with friends to check texts, emails, social media and voicemails (3). It is not surprising that this then takes a toll on carrying out a conversation, listening attentively, and developing trust (2).

What can you do?

So the next time you meet with a faculty member, supervisor or at your next student org meeting, you may want to keep your phone or laptop in your book bag. You can also turning off your phone when you are at work or hanging out with friends. Focus on enjoying the in-person social time you have with friends.  Set aside certain times during the day to use social media, have phone calls, or even answer texts and emails.

Sources

  1. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/phubbing
  2. Przybylski, Andrew K., Weinstein, Netta.; Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality.; Journal of Social and Personal Relationships; 2012
  3. Geser, H. Sociology of the mobile phone. University of Zurich, Switzerland. 2002

Catching up on sleep: How to do it the right way

This summer, make it a priority to work on developing a healthy sleep habit.  In spring 2018 the health promotion staff conducted a survey with undergrads at University Park about their health behaviors. You might be surprised to read that 41.7% of the respondents reported feeling tired or dragged out on most days of the week (1). Some students believe that pulling an all-nighter will be more helpful than getting a full night of sleep.  Other students are worried that they’ll miss out on something exciting (FOMO). However, plenty of research shows that we typically need between 7-9 hours of shut-eye a night to function at our best, both academically and socially (2). Sleep plays a vital role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information. Sleeping before studying refreshes your brain and makes it easier to form new memories, while sleeping after studying helps you retain new information (3). Additionally, sleep is essential to a strong immune system. Both sleep quality and quantity have a direct relationship to the strength of your immune system (4).

Below are some tips to help you make up for lost sleep.  First and foremost, you should try to stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule each day, including weekends. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday will actually make it harder to fall asleep on Sunday evening. You can also try calculating your sleep debt and commit to an earlier bedtime. Calculate sleep debt by deducting the number of hours you slept from 8 (the average recommended number of hours of sleep per night). So if you slept 6 hours last night, you have 2 hours of sleep dept.  Sleep debt is cumulative. If you slept 6 hours last night and 5 hours the night before, you have 5 hours of sleep debt. If your sleep debt is 5 hours, try going to bed 1 hour early for 5 consecutive nights.

Here are additional tips:

  • Limit caffeine intake to three cups or 300mg daily before 2pm (5).
  • Avoid alcohol three hours before bed (5).
  • Exercise between 5-7pm – this enhances the depth of your sleep. Be sure to avoid strenuous activity 3 hours before bedtime (5).
  • Limit television, laptop use and other electronics while you’re lying in bed. Avoid using screens 1-hour before bed (5).
  • Take a hot shower or read a book to calm your mind without the stimulating effects of electronics (2).

Take the Three Week Sleep Camp challenge (6) with the help of one our staff. Adopting some of these habits can help you catch up on sleep and develop a healthy, consistent sleep pattern. If you struggle with getting enough sleep, call 814-863-0461 to schedule a free wellness session with one of our health educators.

References:

  1. Penn State University’s ACHA National College Health Assessment, Spring 2018
  2. Russo, Lucy. “Sleep Debt: Tips for Catching Up on Sleep.” Org, National Sleep Foundation, 28 Oct. 2014, sleep.org/articles/get-rid-of-sleep-debt/.
  3. Harvard University Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine – http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory
  4. Walker, Matthew P. Why We Sleep unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017. Print.
  5. Maas, James and Robbins, Rebecca. Sleep for Success! Indiana: AuthorHouse, 2011. Print.
  6. Dement, William. The Promise of Sleep. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.

Skin Health

It is summer time!  And now is a good time to pay attention to your skincare. You may not be getting any younger, but that doesn’t mean your skin has to suffer the consequences commonly associated with aging.  Simply tweaking a few habits can have a profound effect on the health of your skin. Many toxins are naturally excreted through the skin, which is why internal damage caused by poor lifestyle and nutrition can wreak havoc on skin quality (1). Fortunately, there are many things you can do on a daily basis to maintain a healthy glow.

Protect yourself from the sun: Long-term sun exposure can cause wrinkles, dark spots and can increase your risk of skin cancer. Spending a little time in the sun each day helps your body produce essential Vitamin D (2), but too much sun can cause skin damage. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (even on cloudy days), and don’t forget to re-apply every couple of hours (3).

Drink plenty of water: Proper hydration is essential to maintain a youthful complexion. Even mild dehydration can cause the skin to become dry. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women (4).

Eat foods with antioxidants: Antioxidants are vital to healthy skin because they reduce skin damage and inflammation. Research shows that eating foods rich in antioxidants can restore healthy skin while also protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include blueberries, green leafy vegetable and melons (5).

Be tobacco free: Aside from increasing the risk of lung cancer, smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking damages collagen and elastin – the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity.

Engage in activities that relieve stress: Chronically elevated stress levels can trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems (6). Find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. Consider yoga, walking, and meditation to reduce stress. Your skin will thank you!

Check with your skincare professional for more tips to help your specific skin type.

Resources:

  1.  Krohn, J. (1996). The Whole Way to Natural Detoxification. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks Publishers.
  2. Mostafa, Wedad Z., and Rehab A. Hegazy. “Vitamin D and the Skin: Focus on a Complex Relationship: A Review.” Journal of Advanced Research6 (2015): 793–804. PMC. Web. 6 June 2018.
  3. AAD, https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs
  4. Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  5. American Heart Association, https://www.empoweredtoserve.org/index.php/get-healthy-summer-skin/
  6. Maleki, Aryan, and Noorulain Khalid. “Exploring the Relationship between Stress and Acne: A Medical Student’s Perspective.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology11 (2018): 173–174. PMC. Web. 6 June 2018.

A Peer Educator’s Perspective on Financial Wellness

As a peer educator for HealthWorks, people often assume I have it all figured out. In reality, I am just as eager to learn about our services as I am to facilitate them. Our Financial Wellness service in particular has taught me so many valuable lessons that I have been able to integrate into my daily life.

This service taught me how to make and actually KEEP a budget. Rather than making one and forgetting about it, my budget is now something I refer to regularly. I learned effective strategies for saving money.  I also learned the importance of starting to build credit during my time in college. The financial wellness service dives into how to build credit responsibly and positively so that I can benefit in the future.

Finally, I learned how to manage my student loans and plan for repayment. This was a huge weight off of my shoulders, because it’s something that was always in the back of my mind. Now, I am aware of where I stand in terms of repayment and I don’t feel as overwhelmed.

If you’re struggling with saving money, sticking to a budget, or just curious about financial wellness, this service is definitely for you. I thought I had a decent handle on my finances before participating in this service, but there is always more to learn, and this service will help.

Don’t wait! Get on your way to building financial wellness today. Book an appointment at https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services/myuhs or call 814.863.0461.

Written by Caitlyn Lazorka, HealthWorks member