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Friday, April 4, 2014

Preparing for Finals Week

It’s that time of the semester again. It’s finals week! Staying healthy during this week is pivotal for students to work optimally. With scheduled finals throughout the week, clean checks, and the hassle of moving out, students are pushing their body’s to the limit. There are some very important things to remember that will help keep you feeling great until the very end of the semester.


Adults between the ages of 18-60 are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep has been associated with many chronic diseases like diabetes, such as: high blood pressure and heart disease. Getting sufficient sleep nightly is crucial for maintaining your overall health and wellness.

Memory recall and concentration improve the more an individual is rested. Sleep deprivation affects not only your energy level and mood, but also your ability to concentrate, learn, and focus. Concentration, energy, and mood are correlated with your academic performance, which is extremely important.

What to do:

  • Get 8-9 hours of sleep nightly
  • Study during optimal brain function periods, which are usually from 6-8pm (early afternoons are times of least alertness).
  • Don’t overuse caffeinated drinks. The caffeine will remain in your system anywhere around 6-8hours.

            Exercise is good for your health in more ways than one. It helps to reduce stress and better maintain overall mental health. It also helps you to engage in more restful sleep.
            At Naperville Central High School, in Chicago, IL, research was done on students that struggled with math and reading. An exercise program was implemented, and revealed that those who did some sort of exercise for 30minutes were 10% better at problem solving.

What to do:

  •             Block out 20-60minutes you can dedicate to exercise 3-5 days a week.
  •             Get your heart elevated to about 60-80% your maximum heart rate. (Calculated by subtracting your age from 220)
  •             Stretch for 10 minutes three times a week.
  •             Do some push-ups or jumping jacks before starting your studying or test.

Get Your Nutrients

A study done at the College of North Tripura revealed that, “the nutritional status of college students has a definite relationship with his/her academic achievement.” Additionally, the study revealed that consumption levels of fat were stongly correlated with academic achievement. This could be due to the fact that fat is crucial to neuronal circuitry. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, and Thiamine have the strongest correlation with academic status respectively. These vitamins all play a part in neuronal development, connectivity, and signal processing and transmission.

Include in your diet foods that are:
  • Rich in Vitamin C: oranges, berries, cabbage, kiwi, pineapple, potatoes and salad greens.
  • Rich in Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrots, squash, cantaloupe, and sweet red peppers.
  • Foods that contain Riboflavin: soybeans, spinach, yogurt, almonds, mushrooms, and eggs.
  • Foods that contain Thiamine: navy/black beans, barley, dried peas, green peas, pinto beans, oats and lentils.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Buy Running Shoes


           With summer just around the corner and spring all around us, now is the time to start working out. Before you go out for a brisk walk or a run, check your shoes! It’s helpful if you can remember when you bought them. If you've logged approximately 8 miles a week on them for 2 years, then they are more than just worn in. Your shoes should be replaced every 300-500miles. Even though your shoes may look great, wear and tear is not always cosmetically apparent. There are many layers inside the shoe that could be damaged. Investing in a new pair of shoes is not only exciting but also helps keep you healthy by reducing your chances for injury.

To find the right fitting shoe for you follow these tips and you’re sure to find the pair.
  1. Don’t be Cheap- It might feel like spending more than $50 on a pair of shoes is ridiculous but when it comes to shoes it really is true that you get what you pay for. For example, even though you find a comfortable pair for a great price at a local retail store, they are more likely to cause discomfort or wear down before their time.
  2.  Go to the Experts- The best thing you can do is go to a specialty running shop because the salesperson is experienced in fitting people to shoes best for them. They will also have a treadmill on which you will run, enabling them to analyze what shoes might be best for you.
  3. Bring your Old Gear: This helps the salesperson further analyze your foot pattern. Along with that if you have inserts or certain socks you like to run in, it will help you to get a realistic fit of the shoes.
  4. Get Measured- Check your size. Your feet change throughout your lifetime and different brands can have different fits. You’re feet also get bigger later in the day. It’s standard practice to get your running shoe a half size bigger than your street shoes. This can be determined by standing up and having a thumbnail’s space measured between the tips of the shoes an end of your longest toe. The extra rooms makes it easier for your foot to flex and toes to move forward with each stride. Make sure to try on both shoes, as some people can a foot larger than the other.
  5. Don’t be a Trendsetter- Don’t shop by price or fashion. Try on as many different pairs as you can. When you find the pair your feet will tell you, they will be comfortable and supportive. No part of wearing the shoe should hurt or feel uncomfortable. Take a little jog around the store to test out how they feel in action.
  6. Take your Time- Don’t be pressed for time when you’re out looking for new shoes. Make sure you have at least 1 ½ hours to give you plenty of time to try out many styles and include travel time. You want to make sure you get the right pair, as these shoes will be your buds for the next 300-500 miles!

If you’re looking to find shoes online, Runner’s World Running magazine has a useful tool that you can input some information about yourself and it will give you a list of shoes that would be best for you.  This is the link: They also have a “shoes like mine” tool that will give you other options comparable to shoes you have owned.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Your Dry Skin Could be Eczema

Living in Idaho exposes you to certain environmental factors that can affect the dryness of your skin. The dry air and strong winds can be damaging to exposed skin and can reveal skin conditions you previously may not have noticed due to the moisture in the air. Eczema is one of those skin conditions. According to the National Eczema Foundation, over 30 million Americans are diagnosed with it. Eczema is a general term for rash-like skin conditions. Symptoms include itching, redness, and sometimes skin will blister or peel. It most often appears as a mild, moderate, or severe itch that can affect different parts of your body. This itch can be so intense you scratch your skin until it bleeds, which can make your rash worse. This leads to inflammation and is known as the itch-scratch cycle.  

Signs and Symptoms of Eczema:
  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Intense itching
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Recurring rash
  • Scaly areas
  • Rough, leathery patches
  • Oozing or crusting
  • Areas of swelling
  • Dark colored patches of skin

Common causes:

  • Long hot showers/baths
  • Dry environment
  • Perspiration from exercise
  • Low humidity
  • Stress

 Other causes and triggers:
  • Shampoos, dish-washing liquids
  • Molds
  • Dandruff
  • Dust mites
  • Bacteria or virus
  • Hormone fluctuation
  • Food allergens

Treatment - Take good care of  your skin!

  1. Moisturize every day.
  2. Wear cotton or soft fabrics. Avoid clothing that is rough or tight.
  3. Use mild soap or non-soap cleanser.
  4. Pat dry your skin with a soft towel- do not rub.
  5. Apply moisturizer within 3 minutes of a shower or bath to lock in moisture.
  6. Use a humidifier.
  7. Keep your fingernails short to keep scratching from breaking the skin.
  8. Keep a clean house free of dander and dust.
Common Moisturizers
Aquphor®, Cetaphil®, CurĂ©l®, Eucerine®, Exederm, and Petroleum Jelly.

For more information go to

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adults and Vaccines: You Still Need Them

                Can you remember the last time you got a vaccine? This may be an indicator that you are due for some boosters. The CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 19-64 receive a seasonal flu vaccine, and boosters for Tdap, Hep A, Hep B, HPV, Meningitis, Pneumococcal, and shingles vaccines. According to the CDC, only 1 out of 5 adults are receiving their pneumococcal and shingles vaccines. Additionally, only 1 out of 6 received their Tdap vaccine within 7 years to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

      So why should you get these vaccines? Here are just a few reasons why.

  • High risk- Many diseases like influenza, and pertussis are common in the US, and can spread easily. This is especially the case in schools and densely populated places.
  • Complications- If you have a chronic health condition or weakened immune system, you may be at risk for complications from vaccine preventable diseases. Some examples of complications are long-term illness, hospitalization, or even death.
  • Spreading Disease- Most vaccine preventable diseases are contagious like the flu, meningitis, and whooping cough. Getting your recommended vaccines will help stop the spread of these diseases.
  • Protection- When you get your vaccine you are not only protecting yourself, but others as well. Many people that cannot receive these vaccines, due to medical conditions like pregnancy or cancer treatment. This also helps in protecting newborns, who are very vulnerable to these diseases but are too young to be vaccinated.
  • Missing work/school- Vaccines help keep you healthy and reduce the chance of missing work or school. Many of us have tentative schedules and cannot afford to be absent from work or class.
  • Missing out- Spending time with family, friends and hobbies can be significantly reduced if you’re in bed sick.
  • Price- Being sick costs money. You’ll have to take into consideration medical visits, treatments, time off work or school, and traveling to healthcare providers.
  • Traveling- If your job entails traveling internationally or you just love to travel, this puts you at risk for certain diseases. If you are traveling internationally make sure to get traveling advice. You may need additional vaccines.
  • Peace of mind- Knowing that you've been vaccinated before a disease becomes an outbreak in your area can put your mind at ease. You don’t want to be caught in the mess of sickness.
  • Feeling Healthy- There are more than a handful of diseases that you can be protected against with a simple vaccine. 
       You can get your vaccines at your doctor’s office, health departments, pharmacies, and some workplaces even offer them. Don’t let something as easy as a vaccine pass you by. Get vaccinated!
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