Earlier this semester BYL had its most popular event yet: Girls Night at the Gym. The annual event aims to foster a welcoming environment for women at the fitness center, at which the strength stations are often male-dominated. For one night, we shut down the gym and have a “private party” during which professional trainers teach proper form for free weights, squats, abs, and other exercises. We also had stations like 10 minute spinning, high intensity intervals between squats and a treadmill, yoga, and pilates. We finished up the workout with chocolate milks and almondmilks, as well as sweaty high-fives.
Want to do one of our trainer-approved workouts on your own?Here are two options.
Try out this HIIT (high intensity interval training) treadmill workout. Do it once, or repeat it up to 6 times!
||Level (% effort)
||Total Time of Workout (min)
||Increase speed and incline
||Sprint and increase incline
||Sprint and decrease incline
Learn proper form for 2 popular ab moves that train your core (easily done inside a dorm room :))
- Planks (1 min)
- Start in a flat back, table top position. Push into a plank, making sure shoulders are directly over wrists, legs are strong and feet are hip distance apart. Keep your butt from popping up. Pull your belly towards your lower back. This is a total body movement – hold for 1 minute!!
- Modification: plank on your knees or on your elbows
- Lower leg lifts (x20)
- Lie on your back. With hands behind the nape of your neck (and hands palm over palm), lift your head, neck and shoulders up. Feel as if you’re lengthening out of your body, not just crunching up. Then, lift both legs towards the ceiling, keeping them together, long, and engaged. Bring your legs up, keep them as straight as possible, until your feet are as high as they can go. Actively bring your legs back down (slowly and controlled) so that your lower back does not pop up. That’s 1 rep – bring legs back up for 19 more.
- Modification: Put your hands by your sides; keep your head neck and shoulders down; or put your hands under your tailbone
February 26th, 2015
What if we told you one of the best things you can do for your health is related to the number 23.5?
Would it be to run 23.5 miles? Drink 23.5 ounces of water at breakfast? Do 23.5 pushups?
It’s much easier than that. According to Dr. Mike Evans in this quick video, one of the most impactful choices you can make is to limit your sedentary time to 23.5 hours. This means moving your body – walking, jumping, swimming, stretching, dancing, lifting, cleaning, working – for at least 30 minutes per day. That’s about 2% of your day. I watched this video in my Tufts class NUTR 272: Physical Activity, Nutrition & Health, and it made staying healthy seem much more manageable than I sometimes think it is.
January 27th, 2015
Last weekend, BYL was busy!
On Friday, November 7, we hosted a table Tufts’ Mental Health Day celebration. Led by BYL group members Katie and Edmund, we passed out smoothie recipe cards and discussed several fitness apps that can help you stay healthy and active. We also offered a raffle for 6 iTunes gift cards so that students could actually purchase these apps.
Smoothie recipes we shared:
- Blackberry and Cinnamon
- Banana and Nutmeg
- Chocolate and Almond
- Blueberry and Almond Butter
Fitness apps we shared:
- Fitness Point, for weight lifting form and rep counting
- MyFitnessPal, for keeping track of your daily diet
- Map My Run, for finding the mileage on your favorite run, bike, and walking routes
- Sleep Cycle & Power Nap, for making sure you’re snoozing well
- Fitbit, for tracking activity throughout your day
- Yoga Studio, for pose ideas
On Saturday, BYL supported a group of Area 1 RA’s at a Health Fair in Miller Hall. This event had stress-reducing coloring books, a mini-yoga class, and some recipe ideas for very simple dorm snacks. The first of these was a 1-min blueberry muffin-in-a-mug, one of BYL intern Grace’s favorite breakfasts that is filling yet slightly sweet. The second was mini cucumber stacking sandwiches, s a crunchy way to get veggies and protein at the same time. Both of these recipes can be made in a dorm room with few supplies and little fuss. See below for our mug-muffin recipe.
1 Minute Microwave Muffin in a Mug
- 1/4 cup quick oats (1 package of instant oatmeal)
- 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
- Small handful of berries (fresh or frozen, optional)
- A little brown sugar or stevia
- 1 Tbsp. milk (or soymilk, almond milk, lactose free milk)
- Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Mix everything together in a mug and put in microwave for 1:30 minute. If top is not firm, place back in microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it is cooked.
To switch things up, substitute blueberries with raisins, chocolate chips, or any other fruit.
November 9th, 2014
It’s been 2 months since the semester started and you know by now that college presents challenges to healthy living: late nights, stress, and unlimited soft serve at the Dewick. Try one of these tips – your body will thank you!
1. Walk. Walking is an easy way to get moving. Do a loop around campus with a friend, or throw headphones on and walk for a few songs as a study break.
2. Embrace the snack. Healthy snacks keep you focused, energized, and less likely to overeat at meals. Some good choices are popcorn, nuts, fruit, bars, yogurt, and instant oatmeal.
3. Keep your coffee coffee. As you get your java boost, keep in mind that loading a cup with cream, sugars, and syrups turns a drink into a dessert.
4. Be colorful. Seek out vegetables and fruits of all hues to maximize their nutritional value. Sorry, Skittles don’t count.
5. Eat for the right reasons. Eat when you are hungry and not because you are sleepy, stressed, or homesick. Take a walk, drink tea, or listen to your favorite music instead.
6. Eat your vitamins. Most nutrition experts agree the best way to get the vitamins and minerals is via food! Getting nutrients is crucial since lack of sleep, stress, and close contact with other people can be a recipe for illness.
7. Get savvy with the microwave. Master some quick and easy recipes for cooking in a room. A couple of simple ingredients, mini-fridge and a microwave and you’ve got the potential for quesadillas, mini-omelets, baked potatoes, beans-and-rice, and tuna melts.
8. Don’t think extreme – balance your life! Being healthy doesn’t require green juices and marathon gym sessions. Good health relies on balance – focus on small choices, one day at a time.
November 4th, 2014
It has come to the end of the semester again. Group meetings for projects, reviews for exams, as well as endless papers are all starting to take up more and more of your time. Sometimes you may feel like you have to sacrifice your sleep, your exercise, you regular meal time, and thus, your health to make a final boost of your GPA. But, sacrificing these things can actually be a detriment to your academics.
The following tips for finals month will not only help you find a balance between working hard and being healthy, but remind you that often times, they go hand in hand as well.
- Relax and Release Stress. One thing you feel at the end of every semester may be stress. Both physical and psychological stress can cause chronic inflammation in your body, with an immediate effect of dampening your brain and body function, as well as a long term effect of increasing your risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Your overall performance and wellness could be determined by how well you manage your stress. Getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and participating in regular physical activity are all effective ways of reducing stress, and have all been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Keep a Regular Schedule. An irregular schedule can create metabolic stress in your body and affect your health and academic performance. Thus, staying on a schedule that is similar to your typical day is best. When you change things up- like staying awake later or eating late-night- your body is stressed by this and has to adjust, which requires you to use energy that isn’t directed toward your studies. Regardless of whether you are a “morning person” or a “night person”, if you eat, sleep, workout etc at similar times day to day, you are minimizing the stress you put on your body.
- Stop Skipping Meals. Regular meal time is also a part of your schedule, and an important one. We all know that it’s bad to skip breakfast, and it’s actually bad to skip lunch and dinner too. Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and cause your body to store the food you eat as fat since your body won’t know when it will get fed again. Therefore, try to have an apple, banana, cup of yogurt, or granola bar on hand so that you have something healthy to snack on if you get hungry and you’re in the middle of doing work.
- Stay Hydrated. During periods of intensive brain activity, water serves as the primary media and reactant in the massive metabolic reactions going on in your body and brain. To maintain health and a high level of functionality, you need to watch out for dehydration. Oftentimes, thirst is a sign that you’re past the point of dehydration. Headaches and fatigue may come first. Water is the healthiest and most hydrating choice to replenish lost fluid stores. Sugary drink like soda and sports drinks do not provide as much water and can actually be dehydrating. Other healthy options include iced or hot tea.
Nielsen, Forrest. March 15, 2010.Inflammation- Bad or Good. United States Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=19563.
Shacter, E. and Weitzman, SA. 2002. Chronic Inflammation and cancer. Oncology. 16(2):217-229.
By: Xuan Qin
Editor: Kate Sweeney
April 7th, 2012