Ten Healthy Goals for 2017 That Won’t Stress You Out

So it’s basically the end of January and I realized just how crazy these “new year new me” challenges have gotten…is it just me or is everyone trying to slim down a dress size or have ‘gains’ for spring break? While hitting the gym five or six days a week is a great goal, sometimes it isn’t obtainable, so don’t feel bad if you miss your Zumba sesh or only run a mile one morning. As a college student I often find myself studying until late at night and having a hard time getting up at 6 or 7 for a run, so when you skip a workout you’re definitely not alone! Instead of focusing on how often you’re working out during the school year try a different approach – small steps to health that take up almost zero time throughout your day!

1. Drink a glass of water before having a “regular” drink at a meal

This is something I picked up on at camp as a child as really wish I’d followed through on during middle and high school. Water does such great things for your body! Having a glass of water in the morning before your usual cup of coffee helps keep you hydrated (sounds self explanatory but coffee is a diuretic and can slightly dehydrate you). Water during dinner helps to flush impurities from your system. Drinking eight glasses a day is the ultimate goal to strive for and this is, in my opinion, the easiest starting point.

2. Whatever your average step count is for Monday-Friday try to double it Saturday and Sunday

FitBits and step counters seem to be more popular than ever nowadays, but do they really improve our lifestyle? While I usually get 10,000 steps a day walking to and from classes, I don’t actively pursue ‘real’ exercise after I’ve hit my step count. If you’re like me, or are just trying to hit 10,000 steps at least once or twice a week, try doubling your average step count on the weekends. For example, my average step count this Monday-Friday was 7,356 so for both Saturday and Sunday I’d try to hit 14,712. For me, that’s roughly 7 miles. It sounds like a lot, but if I spent an hour jogging as opposed to watching Netflix I’d be nearly finished for the day.

3. Stand up and walk around every one to two hours

Did you know that being seated for more than an hour and half is bad for your heart, spine, brain, and digestion? Because I didn’t! Sitting for prolonged periods of time (i.e. over an hour) slows your blood flow and makes it easier for fatty acids to clog your arteries. If you’re sitting incorrectly this puts an abnormal amount of pressure on your neck and shoulders, leading to pain and/or stiffness. Sitting extensively also prevents your brain from getting fresh blood flow and a good amount of oxygen, leading to fuzzy or slowed thinking! And what most people are probably concerned about – lots of sitting causes your digestion to slow, causing bloating and sometimes weight gain. While just standing up and stretching for a second each one to two hours doesn’t seem like much, it makes a world of a difference for your body! And walking a lap around the room, to the bathroom, or even just to fetch a fresh cup of coffee helps to keep your blood moving properly and takes a lot of stress off your shoulders (literally).

4. If you read a lot, or have to read for class or work, try reading while using a stationary bike or treadmill

Last semester I read at least one book a week for class. It took up a lot of the time I’d usually spend exercising, so I came up with a compromise. I took my book, and a highlighter, to the gym and sat on a stationary bike for an hour. Audiobooks are great for when I’m running or walking, but if you need to write in the books you’re reading for class I’d definitely suggest my stationary bike method.

5. When buying unhealthy snacks or desserts opt for the smaller carton or the prepackaged servings

Such. A. Good. Idea. Because who hasn’t eaten an entire chocolate cake before? Pro tip: if baking your own goodies cut the amount in half or more so you don’t end up with three weeks worth of servings for one person, if not share with friends!

6. Do calf raises, squats, lunges, or some other easy leg exercise while brushing your teeth

I had the unfortunate experience to have my calves called out in Calculus class early last semester. Two cross-fit junkies decided it was a good idea to make the entire class aware that they were jealous of my “muscular man calves” and ask for my secret as to how I got them this toned. The only thing I do specifically for my calves are calf raises while brushing my teeth, which also helps strengthen the ankle I rolled last January. When you think about it, doing four minutes of light leg workouts a day ends up being a whole lot of muscle toning by the end of the year.

7. Take a multivitamin with your breakfast

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezey. Just make sure to look for one containing both calcium and iron if you’re still a “young adult” like me!

8. Cut out the negatives for your life

We’ve all heard this a million times. But seriously, go do it. It’ll take some time, but if you’re scrolling through Insta anyways then what’s a little unfollowing going to hurt? Same with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like. Surrounding yourself with positive people removes stress, which can eventually lead to better heart health and weight loss!

9. Do pushups, crunches, yoga stretches, etc. during commercial breaks or in between Netflix episodes

Think of it as a light pre-workout exercise or a stretch session. You shouldn’t be sweating or breathing hard, but you should definitely be using your muscles and slightly elevating your heart rate. This not only leads to better overall health but can keep you awake and focused for longer, meaning you can binge watch to your heart’s content (or at least until class starts…)

10. Smile

Think happy thoughts! Radiate happy thoughts! Be happy that your happiness is helping others be happy! That’s not just the little psychologist in me speaking – studies show that smiling more can help reduce blood pressure.

Advertisements

A Little Reminder for Today

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

This is what the quote at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty reads. Written by Emma Lazarus, the sonnet “The New Colussus” is about the truth and meaning behind the Statue of Liberty, the “Mother of Exiles.” 

While I try very hard not to get political, I am reminded of everything that has happened this weekend and realize I cannot sit by silently. We are a country made of refugees. We stood for freedom from religious persecution even before we became ‘America.’ Our Democracy inspired revolutions around the world. We were a beacon of hope. A beacon that was snuffed out for many nationalities today. 

pod·cast /ˈpädˌkast/: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device

I have a three hour drive from my home to college. While it doesn’t seem like much, I have a hard time listening to one playlist for three hours (unless, of course, it’s Hamilton). So instead of playlists I listen to *drum roll please* podcasts! Some of the podcasts I loved in 2016 have been renewed for another season(s) in 2017, so without further ado here’s my list of recommended podcasts:

heavyweight_socialmedia_card

Number one has to be Heavyweight. Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein along with Gimlet Media,  Heavyweight is created around the idea that almost everyone has a part of their past they wish they could change. Jonathan finds these stories and helps their owners come to terms with their past. I love this podcast because it’s sentimental and reminds me of parts of my life. The stories are so personal yet it’s easy to connect with the people telling them. If you want to check it out click HERE.

serial-s01-shareWho doesn’t love cereal? Whoops, sorry, I meant Serial! This podcast has been out for a whiiiile, but now there’s a second season (and a third season in the works). For those of you that missed out on the Season One, here’s a brief overview: teenager was wrongly convicted of murdering his ex girlfriend, a reporter picks up on his story over a decade later and decides to interview everyone involved to see if he was actually wrongly convicted.  The story was actually so compelling that a judge ordered a new trial for Adnan, the convicted ex-boyfriend of the murdered high school senior. Season Two is about Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who sneaks out of a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan. After he abandons post, six men from his unit are killed. He is blamed for their deaths. But should he be? Find out in Season Two of Serial, linked HERE.

0e4d1d0e928a1b8d1127ee797816df16As a Harry Potter geek you can probably guess that I jumped on the bandwagon with the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast series. I went to Catholic school for almost a decade and have some pretty interesting views on religion, but I actually really like taking my favorite book series and evaluating (and reading) it as a sacred text. There are even prayers at the end of each episode for or about characters from the books. I wouldn’t suggest this for anyone that’s very devout in practicing their religion because I feel like some episodes, and perhaps the whole idea of reading a fantasy book series like you’d read the Bible, Torah, Quran, etc., that poke fun at the definition of religion itself. That being said, I still really like this podcast, and so does the friend I recommended it to.  Click HERE to give it a try.

logoHave you ever had a paranormal experience? UFO sighting? Deja vu that seemed to go…unexplained? Welcome to the club! Unexplained is about real life events that go ‘unexplained.’ The host of the podcast, Richard Maclean Smith, talks about the history of the event as well as the science behind why or how it could have happened. While the explanations are mainly theories, they still have enough traction to make the unexplainable easier to swallow. Find it on iTunes or at this link HERE.

04bbd1e1b2a9d6fc63c741be1964c645My friends sometimes say I remind them of a walking encyclopedia, like “the internet without the dirty pictures” to quote an Entomology professor I know. If you need random facts, look further than yours truly. But since I can’t be everywhere at once, the podcast Stuff You Should Know is a great backup. Reminiscent to “How It’s Made,” Stuff You Should Know talks about top facts and opinions on just about any subject you could ever want. From animals to Japan to war there’s a podcast for everything, including my favorite: Psychology! Check it out at think link HERE.

 

Excuse the Hiatus

To quote the very famous Adele, “Hello, it’s me.” If you’re wondering where I’ve been since the election, look no further than Twitter, but if you’re on campus at UGA and see a very flustered girl tripping over invisible cracks in the sidewalk and forever leaving her iPhone in precarious perches, that’s probably me too. To say  I’ve been scatterbrained and busy is a drastic understatement, but now that spring semester is here I’m here. As in yet again blogging into the abyss that is the internet.

I’ve also started writing more poems and six word stories. Seems easy, right? Nope definitely not. As explained by The Huffington Post, six word stories are “inspired by Hemingway’s famous six-word tale, ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn,’ the ‘six word story has served as a prompt for decades, testing writers’ ability to create their own succinct masterpieces with all sorts of clever results.”

Here are my own six word stories that sum up all of my fall semester as a sophomore at the University of Georgia:

 

I’m not a professor, have mercy.

Late night. Early morning. Repeat. Repeat.

 

Group work. GroupMe. Group think.

Until next time,

Bailey