Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Running Low on Energy?

With finals coming up, you may have noticed you are feeling a lot more tired. Chances are you have been switching out sleeping time for studying time and forgetting to eat – both of which may take your stress levels to the highest they've been all semester. You are exhausted. Finals can pay a heavy toll on our health and well-being. Some people may not realize it but their feeling of fatigue may not just be from the stress of finals. The following tips are useful in identifying ways in which energy can be boosted or drained.

Reasons Your Energy May Be Low
  • You are not drinking enough water. 
  • You don't eat breakfast. There is a reason why everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When breakfast is skipped, the bodies metabolism is slow and does not get started as soon as it should. You also need to start your day by fueling up. 
  • You stay up late. It is important to have a sleep schedule in which you get adequate sleeping time.
  • You are eating too many sugars and fats.
  • You are stressed.  

Tips to Boost Your Energy
  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes a day. 
  • Keep a nutritious diet. Eat a balance of protein's, vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates. Try to make sure your carbohydrates consists of whole wheat, whole grains, and high in fiber. 
  • Take a break from your studying for personal time. This may help in managing your stress.  
Good luck on finals and have a safe and healthy summer! 

For more tips check out our Fatigue handout by  following the link below.
BYU-Idaho Student Health Center

Student Health Center. (2012) "Nutrition and Hydration" Patient Education. 
Samadi, David B. (2014) "5 Habits That Are Draining Your Energy" Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/09/5-habits-that-are-draining-your-energy/

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Proper Treatment of a Blister

Now that it is summer, you may be changing your activities and shoes. With the nice warm weather and clear roads you may find yourself going on hikes or exercising outside more often. Along with the warm weather we tend to shed our sturdy, comfortable, and supporting boots and shoes for flats, sandals, and flip flops. Which ever the case, you may find yourself developing blisters on your feet at some point this summer. Blisters caused by rubbing of shoes often does not need to be seen by a doctor, and home first aid is all that is needed. But like ticks, bee stings, and nose bleeds everyone has their own treatment whether it is to correct procedure or not. So here are some basic guidelines for proper blister care. 

Proper Blister First AID

  • To prevent a blister from forming or getting worse make sure you wear shoes that are comfortable and do not rub your skin. Make sure to wear multiple layers of socks when hiking. 
  •  If you begin to feel a spot on your skin getting hot or sore be sure to put a band aid, duct tape, or moleskin on the irritated area to prevent the blister from getting bigger.
  • Try to avoid draining a blister. This will keep it from getting infected and it will heal on its own. 
  • If the blister is large or causes pain/discomfort your can drain the fluid. To drain the fluid take a needle that has been dipped in alcohol and puncture the edge of the blister. Press the fluid toward the hole and let the fluid drain out. After removing fluid wipe the area clean leaving the skin and put a protective bandage over the area. 
  • If you are diabetic, have HIV, cancer, or heart disease do not drain blister due to the raised risk of infection. 
  • If blister a blister becomes infected with signs and symptoms of pus, increased pain, or fever consult with a medical provider. 
For more information on Blisters follow the link to our web page: 
Health Wise (2012). "Blisters-Home Treatment". WebMD. Retrieved from 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The ABC's of Vitamins

For anyone who knows nutrition, they would know that vitamins are an important part of our nutrition. When looking at food labels you see things such as riboflavin, biotin, and folate. When walking through the isles of a grocery we see labels declaring that the product is a great source of vitamin C, has four essential vitamins, and is infused with vitamin D. We know that they are important but what do they really do? What are all the vitamins that we need to be getting? Vitamins are substances that are essential for normal cell function, growth, and development. In order for our body to survive we must get the 13 essential vitamins to avoid developing malnutrition. Here is a list of those 13 vitamins and information on what they do for us individually.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A aids in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A plays a critical role in vision as an essential component of rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors. Vitamin A also supports body cell growth and differentiation, this leads to vitamin A playing a critical role in proper formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs in the body. 
Sources of Vitamin A: 
  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • spinach 
  • cantaloupe
  • peppers
  • mango

Vitamin B's

There are several different Vitamin B's and are often called by different names. Generally vitamin B aids in the metabolism but each B vitamin has its own unique benefits for the body. 
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps body cells turn carbohydrates into energy. It is especially important to get plenty of carbohydrates during pregnancy and breast feeding. Vitamin B1 also has an essential role for heart function and  to keep nerve cells healthy.  

  • Eggs
  • Lean Meat
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Whole Grains 

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) this vitamin works with the other vitamin B's in body growth and red cell production. 

  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Soy Beans
  • Eggs 
  • Almonds

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps keep healthy skin and maintains the health of our nerves. When vitamin B3 is consumed it can also produce a cholesterol-lowering effect. 

  • Avocado 
  • Eggs
  • Fish 
  • Legumes 
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes 

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) plays and essential role in the metabolism of food during digestion. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol. 

  • Avocado 
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage 
  • Whole Grain Cereals
  • Sweet Potatoes 

Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) helps with the formation of blood cells and maintains brain function. It also plays an important role in the proteins involved with chemical reactions in the body.

  • Banana
  • Avocado 
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Poultry 

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) plays a role in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Like B5 it also helps in the production of hormones and cholesterol. 

  • Chocolate
  • Egg Yolk
  • Legumes
  • Milk Nuts
  • Milk
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) works with B12 to form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which is needed for tissue growth and cell function. This is extremely important for woman during pregnancy. Low levels of folate can cause birth defects like spina bifida. 

  • Green Leafy Vegetables 
  • Broccoli 
  • Beats 
  • Peanut Butter
  • Oranges 
  • Lentils 

Vitamin B12 plays its role in metabolism and development of red blood cells. It also maintains the central nervous system. 

  • Meat 
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Spinach 
  • Strawberries

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It also helps in the absorption of iron and calcium. It promotes wound healing and the maintenance of healthy tissue. 
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Spinach 
  • Broccoli 
  • Tomatoes
  •  Potatoes

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is not naturally found in foods. It is more often added later during the fortifying process of foods. It can be produced when UV rays are exposed to skin, triggering the vitamin D syntheses. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium needed for healthy bones and teeth. It also helps in maintaining proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in blood.  
  • Fish
  • Fortified Cereal
  • Fortified Milk 
  • Fish Oils

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that aids in the formation of red blood cells and helping the body use vitamin K. It is also thought helps with skin health and may help prevent or slow down the process of Alzheimer's disease.  Like vitamin D it is not found in a lot of foods. 
  • Avocado
  • Oils 
  • Dark Green Vegetables
  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Mango
  • Papaya 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is not listed as an essential vitamin but without it, blood coagulation would not occur. Blood coagulation is what makes your blood stick together which stops us from bleeding. Some studies have also suggested that it plays a role in bone health. 
  • Cabbage
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables 
  • Fish
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereals
Learn more about the Student Health Center by following the link: 
BYU-Idaho Student Health Center 

Evert, Alison. (2013) "Vitamins" The New York Times Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/nutrition/vitamins/overview.html
National Institutes of health. (2013) "Vitamin A" USA.gov. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Safe Exercise Strategies

Now that summer is almost here, people are getting out and exercising more often. Exercise can have substantial health benefits, such as prolonging our lives, improving our immune system, and boosting our energy. While exercise is good for us it can be harmful if not done correctly. No matter if you are a recent participant in exercise or a master athlete, there will always be risk for injury. When faced with a goal or deadline that is near, we often push ourselves too hard or fast, which can potentially result in injury. While there will always be a risk for injury, you can still take precautions to prevent them from happening.

Tips for Preventing Injury

  1. Set Realistic Goals: You cannot lose fifty pounds in two weeks, so set goals that challenge but can actually be achieved.Additionally, be specific with your goals instead of being vague or unclear. Eg: “I plan to run a mile in less than seven minutes this week.” instead of “I want to improve my mile time.”
  2. Don't Overdo It: This most common cause of injury is pushing yourself too much. Instead of just jumping in a lifting 150 lbs, work your way up to it. Start at a low intensity and gradually increase it with each workout.Use the 10% rule when working out—do not increase your training load such as time, intensity, or distance by more than 10% each week
  3. Pay Attention to any Pain: "Feel the burn, love the burn", "no pain, no gain" we often hear these said while working out and while we should feel some burning and maybe slight pain while working out pay attention. If the pain is continuous or occurs in the chest of neck area this is not beneficial. General muscle soreness is fine but it may indicate that you are not warming up sufficiently or you are exercising too long/strenuously. 
  4. Control Your Movements: Keep you movements under control. Anything that is rapid or jerky movement can result in an unwanted injury. If you cannot keep control of your movements, slow things down and exercise at a more moderate pace. 
  5. Watch Your Form: Poor form and posture during a specific exercise can result in a torn or strained muscle along with damage to your joints.By keeping your back aligned and straight, knees at the correct angle for movements, and tucking your buttocks, you can prevent injury. These are most important if lifting above your head, jumping, or squatting.   
  6. Don't Bounce While Stretching: "Ballistic" stretching  is when you bounce in and out of a stretched position. While it is thought to be beneficial to your flexibility, it can also increase your chance of muscle tears and soreness. Switch out ballistic for static stretches to prevent these injuries. Static stretching, in which you gradually stretch to a full range of movement, will help loosen muscles without straining them. 
    It is also important to warm up before you start stretching. This can be done with a brisk walk or light jog.

  7. Use Good Footwear: Wearing improper shoes that are worn out, do not fit right, or provide no support can add stress to your hips, ankles, and feet. This is where the majority of sports injuries occur. Choose shoes that are fitted to you and replace them when they become worn out. 
  8. Go Low Impact: Try to stick with the gliding or marching motion that is not as hard on your joints versus the jolting up and down movements. This can protect your back, calves, shins, ankles, and knees from injury.  
  9. Drink Up: Keep hydrated and replace any fluids that you may have lost during a workout. If your are working out in any hot weather this is especially  important to keep from over heating. Heatstroke can be extremely dangerous. Even if you are not thirsty try to drink a gulp or two of water in between intervals.  


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