Hi Johns Hopkins! I am a Penn State student who had the joy of being the Fitness Intern at the Recreation Center during the Fall 2014 semester at this wonderful institution. I was asked to write a few articles for this blog and I thought I would share a few tips on how to maintain your health and fitness throughout the winter.
Exercise is STILL Important
It’s so much easier to give an excuse in the winter to not exercise because of the colder temperatures outside, but you still need to get moving! If you’re a runner, make sure you wear lots of layers, gloves, and a hat to ensure that your entire body is covered. If you’re snowed in from going to the gym, there are plenty of free YouTube channels devoted to uploading complete workouts, most without equipment! A few fan favorites are Tone it Up, Blogilates, Tony Horton Fitness, and Scott Herman Fitness. Jackie Lebeau, Assistant Director of Fitness at the O’Connor Recreation Center, encourages students to go outside and participate in winter activities during the season. “Winter brings outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating. Exercise doesn't have to be strenuous in order to be effective so don't forget about winter recreational activities like sledding, snowball fights and building snowmen! We're only blessed with snow for a few months each year so get outside this winter and take advantage of the outdoor exercise opportunities!”
Enjoy your Comfort Food in Moderation
Most people associate winter with eating lots of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and sugar-loaded hot cocoa. While all of these foods are absolutely delicious, it is important to remember that while trying to live a healthy lifestyle involves eating these “guilt foods” in moderation. The best tip I can recommend is to allocate one meal per week as your “cheat meal” and eat a moderate (not the entire bowl!) serving of the comfort food of choice. This way you can indulge in your favorite foods without budging the scale. There are also plenty of recipes online that swap out the “evil” ingredients in your favorite foods. I recommend looking up spaghetti squash, cauliflower mac and cheese, and cauliflower mash potatoes. I can promise you that while you are getting in your daily intake of veggies, you will hardly notice the difference!
Take a Multivitamin
It’s hard to get enough of your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of most nutrients through food alone. Make sure you take your multivitamin during a meal that has a little bit of fat and with a glass of water to help absorb all of the nutrients.
Make sure that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep in order to keep your immune system in check. College students are notorious for being the poster children for sleep deprivation, which makes it easier for illness to spread. For example, the recent meningitis outbreak at University of Maryland. Also make sure that you use hand sanitizer, wash your hands frequently, and keep alert for any outbreaks of any illnesses in the area.