All posts by Erin Raupers

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.

Stay Active This Summer

Spring semester has come to an end and summer is approaching. For some students this means starting summer with an internship or a job. These exciting opportunities might also involve being sedentary for long periods of time. So what can you do to keep active during work hours?  Here are some creative ways to stay active if you have an office job or internship:

  1. Change up your routine to work. If possible, instead of driving to work, walk or ride a bike. You’ll get fresh air and work those leg muscles. If you have to drive to work, try to park away from the entrance to get additional steps.
  2. Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and you’ll increase your endurance.
  3. Stand up instead of sitting down. Try changing up the work day by using a standing desk to do your work.
  4. Take calls while standing. If you have the opportunity to stand, do so while talking on the phone.
  5. Move around. Avoid sitting in the same exact position for an extended period of time.   You can stretch your arms or round and then straighten your back several times. This will help increase blood flow.

Written by Michelle Szczech, HealthWorks member

Reduce Stress with Physical Activity

College can be stressful. Stress will always be part of life, so the key question is: how will you respond to it? Researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) studied one strategy to help you handle stress during college: physical activity (1). The researchers conducted a 3-day program called “Fitness4Finals” (F4F), which focused on increasing the physical activity of college students during final exams. The goal of the program was to reduce stress levels associated with final exams.

The program included light, moderate, and high intensity exercises. The light intensity exercises included yoga, Pilates, Thai-chi (50 minute duration). Moderate intensity exercises included 50 minute fitness walking, 10-30 minute stair climb, and 4 minute Flash mob. High intensity exercises included 50 minute boot-camp, 50 minute cardio-boxing, and 1.5-5 minute obstacle course. The students participated in at least one of these exercises every day for 3 days.

Researchers examined the change in perceived psychological stress (PPS) of students before and after F4F events. The results revealed that the program was effective in lowering perceived stress of participants. However, physiological measures of stress were not significantly different.

At the end of the program, students said:

  • “I was able to clear my mind and [physical activity] helped me focus more when I did have to sit down and study [for finals].”
  • “[Physical activity] gave me an active outlet and break from schoolwork.”
  • “I felt compelled to relax my mind.”
  • “I felt mentally relaxed after yoga and meditation.”

Being active can be beneficial on many levels, including improving academic performance (2), mental health, social health and physical health (3). You can receive these benefits from any type of physical activity, including fitness walking, jogging, stair climbing, boxing, Pilates, Thai-chi, swimming, and playing basketball, tennis, football. You can make physical activity fun by discovering the exercises you enjoy the most!

College can be stressful, especially during finals. One way to manage stress is by being active. As one of the participants of F4F stated, physical activity can give you an opportunity to clear your mind and relax, which will help you concentrate better during studying. Next time you feel stressed, take a walk or play basketball!

Sources

  1. Koschel, Tessa L., John C. Young, and James W. Navalta. “Examining the Impact of a University-driven Exercise Programming Event on End-of-semester Stress in Students.” International journal of exercise science 10.5 (2017): 754.
  2. Salas CR, Minakata K, Kelemen WL. Walking before study enhances free recall but not judgement-of-learning magnitude. J Cognitive Psychol. 2011;23(4):507–513.
  3. de Vries JD, van Hooff MM, Geurts SE, Kompier MJ. Exercise as an intervention to reduce study-related fatigue among university students: a two-arm Parallel randomized controlled trial. Plos ONE. 2016;11(3):1–21.

Written by HealthWorks member, Deniz Siso

JUUL Vaping

You have seen students smoking a JUUL or e-cigarette on campus.  Are you wondering if these products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes?  According to the US Surgeon General, e-cigarettes have grown in popularity by 900% among high school students between 2011- and 2015 (1). In 2016 alone, over 2 million US middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days (2). E-cigarettes are sometimes advertised as a product that will help individuals quit smoking; however, the Surgeon General reports that the most frequently cited reasons for why youth and young adults use e-cigarettes are curiosity, flavoring/taste, and lower perceived harm compared to other tobacco products (1).

One cartridge for a JUUL equals close to one pack of cigarettes.  JUUL pods contain nicotine, which is an extremely addictive substance (2). Nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin.  It is also harmful to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, immunological system, ocular system, renal system, and reproductive system. Nicotine and smoking is linked to lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, or breast cancer (3). Ingesting the liquid of an e-cigarette can cause acute toxicity and possibly death if a large amount of the liquid is consumed (1).

(1)     https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/2016_SGR_Full_Report_508.pdf

(2)     https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/

(3)     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/

Diet Soda

Are zero calorie soft drinks good or bad? In particular, how does diet soda affect your health? Have you ever heard someone say:  “It has 0 or low calories, so it can’t be bad for you.” Would you be surprised to hear that diet soda might be bad for you?

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Harlan Krumholz (a cardiologist) discusses a study showing that diet drinks can lead to metabolic abnormalities. The study indicates that artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) in beverages and food might be causing unwanted weight gain (1). Azad and colleagues reviewed 37 studies and found that zero calorie sweeteners did not help people lose weight. In fact, the researchers found that people who consumed artificial sweeteners were more likely to experience weight gain, a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health issues (2).

If you want to replace your diet soda, try replacing it with water, tea, coffee, and milk. If it seems difficult to suddenly take soda out of your diet, try to cut back slowly.  Drink one fewer soda per day until you eventually eliminate it entirely.

References:

  1. Harlan Krumholz. (2017, September 14). Why One Cardiologist Has Drunk His Last Diet Soda. Retrieved from: https://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2017/09/14/why-one-cardiologist-has-drunk-his-last-diet-soda/ CMAJ 2017 July 17;189:E929-39. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.161390
  1. Azad, Meghan B. et al. “Nonnutritive Sweeteners and Cardiometabolic Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials and Prospective Cohort Studies.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal28 (2017): E929–E939. PMC. Web. 23 Feb. 2018.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Did you know that Health Promotion and Wellness offers some great resources to help students? Whether you’re looking for fun things to do that don’t involve alcohol or you’re interested in learning more about the effects of alcohol, HPW has you covered.

Here are some important facts you should know about alcohol:

  • 66.3% of Penn State students reported having had to “baby-sit” a student who drank too much (1).
  • 53% of students at Penn State report not engaging in high-risk drinking, while 21% of students are not drinking at all (1).
  • 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences due to their alcohol use (2).
  • 1,825 college students die per year due to alcohol related injuries, including overdoses (2).
  • 20% of college students meet the criteria for a Substance Abuse Disorder (2).

If you are concerned about your alcohol use or a friend’s alcohol use, help is available. For more information or to schedule a confidential, free appointment, call 814-863-0461 or schedule through myUHS.

Additional resources at Penn State:

If your student organization or club would like to learn more about alcohol, schedule an alcohol workshop provided by HealthWorks peer educators.

Resources:

  1. Student Affairs Research and Assessment Penn State University. (2017). Student Drinking Spring 2017. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/assessment/analysis-reports/pulse-student-drinking-survey

 

  1. (2015, Dec.) College Drinking. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov.

 

 

Sexual Violence Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Violence Awareness Month.   The goal of the month is to increase awareness about sexual violence in the US and on college campuses.  The National Sexual Violence Resource Center defines sexual violence is “any type of unwanted sexual contact” (1).  The Gender Equity Center is working with several departments to sponsor a range of great events this month.  The events are designed to raise awareness, educate, and help prevent sexual assault.

What Were You Wearing? Survivor art installation, April 2 – April 410 AM to 2 PM, 134 HUB

Men Against Violence Walk April 9, 2:30pm, Heritage Hall, HUB

Honoring Survival: Transforming the Spirit April 9, 6:30pm, Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

Wade Davis: Won’t you celebrate with me April 10, 6:30pm, Freeman Auditorium, HUB

Stevie Tran: She’s Still My Fraternity Brother April 18, 7pm, 233B HUB

For more information about these events, visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity or contact the Gender Equity Center at 814-863-2027 or genderequity@psu.edu.

The University and State College community offer a variety of resources to support victims of sexual violence (2).

Centre County Women’s Resource Center –  140 W. Nittany Avenue, State College, PA. Hours vary. Phone: 814-238-7066 and 24 hour crisis hotline: 1-877-234-5050

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – 501 Student Health Center. Open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Phone: 814-863-0395. Penn State Crisis Hotline 1-877-229-6400. Crisis Text Line: Text “LIONS” to 741741

Gender Equity Center – 204 Boucke Building, Open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm,

University Health Services – Student Health CenterHours vary, click the link for details: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services/pharmacy/hours-parking  Call 814-863-4463 to speak with an advice nurse 24/7

Sources:

  1. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2018). About Sexual Assault.  Retrieved from https://www.nsvrc.org/about-sexual-assault-friends-family
  2. Penn State Student Affairs. (2018). Confidential Support. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/victim-survivor-support-advocacy/confidential-support