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Physical Health

Exercise

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.

According to the CDC only 25% of adults in the United States report engaging in recommended physical activity. The CDC recommends getting an average of 30 minutes of moderate activity a day to maintain a healthy life style. At the NMSU Activity Center and Aquatic Center, students can engage in numerous sports and exercise classes. More into the outdoors? Check out the NMSU Outdoor Rec program’s trip schedule for camping, sailing, hiking and more!

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Cardio or aerobic activities:

  • Achieve the aerobic activity recommendation through one of the following options (any combination of):
    • A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day (such as brisk walking) most days of the week, or
    • A minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (such as jogging or running) two days a week

Resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities.

  • Two days a week, incorporate strength training into your routine. Strength training activities, such as weight lifting maintain and increase muscle strength and endurance.

Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Activities:

Dancing

Riding a stationary bike

Actively playing with children

Mowing lawn

Frisbee playing

Playing golf, walking the course

Downhill skiing with light effort

Raking leaves

Playing basketball

Walking

water aerobics

Jogging

Vigorous-Intensity Aerobic Activities:

Racewalking, jogging or running

Swimming laps

Mowing lawn, hand mower

Tennis, singles

Bicycling more than 10 mph, or on steep uphill terrain

Moving or pushing furniture

Circuit training – a combination of strength, endurance and aerobic exercises

Strength Training Activities:

Push-Ups

Squats

Pull-Ups

Yoga

Stretching

Weight Lifting

Climbing

TRX Bands/Resistance Bands

 

American Heart Association’s Healthy Lifestyles

American Heart Association’s Fitness Pledge

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Physical Fitness

Sleep

Most people require 6-8 hours of sleep per night which is about 1/3 of our lifetime experience. Sleep is restorative, it enables the body and mind to rejuvenate, re-energize, and restore. As a person sleeps, it is thought that the brain performs vital housekeeping tasks, such as: long-term memory organization; integration of new information; and tissue, nerve cell, and other biochemical repair and renewal. Sleep allows the body to rest and the mind to sort out past, present, and future activities and feelings.

Sleep Deprivation and College Students

Many studies have shown that high school and college students are typically sleep deprived and that sleep is the first thing to be compromised when trying to juggle school, work and fun. The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation/sleep debt are serious. An average sleep-deprived student may experience impaired performance, irritability, lack of concentration, and daytime drowsiness. They are less alert, attentive, and unable to concentrate effectively. Additionally, because sleep is linked to restorative processes in the immune system, sleep deprivation in a normal adult causes a biological response similar to the body fighting off an infection. Persistent sleep deprivation can cause significant mood swings, erratic behavior, hallucinations, and in the most extreme, yet rare cases, death. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, deficiencies in short-term memory, focus and attention as well as depressed mood and a decrease in the ability to control appetite. 

Many students make the mistake of “pulling an all nighter” before an exam only to find out that they could remember very little of what they had studied the night before. Sleep is an important part of learning retention so a good night sleep prior to an exam is just as important as actually studying for the exam. 

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco have identified a gene, that occurs in less than 3% of people, for which the people who have this gene require only six hours of sleep a night.

So almost everyone who claims they only need six hours’ sleep is kidding themselves. And the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation are serious, says Clete Kushida, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and director of Stanford University’s Sleep Medicine Center. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, deficiencies in short-term memory, focus and attention as well as depressed mood and a decrease in the ability to control appetite.

Another common mistake is using alcohol as a way to help fall asleep. Alcohol may help a person fall asleep however the quality of sleep is compromised. Sleep follows five cycles that repeats itself throughout the night and alcohol impairs the natural progression of those sleep cycles. If a person falls asleep while intoxicated it’s unlikely that they will wake up feeling restored regardless of the number of hours spent sleeping.

Types of Sleeping Disorders

To find out more about sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc click on the following link:

http://www.sleepassociates.net/

Diet and Nutrition

There are a number of different factors that have made it increasingly difficult for people to figure out how to eat healthy. Is it low fat, low carbohydrate, high protein or is it high fat, low carbohydrate high protein? Or is it low protein, low carbohydrate, low fat which sort of equals hardly eating. Yes to grapefruit but hard pass on apples? Six small meals a day ? No food after 5:00PM? Is a calorie a calorie or are some calories somehow different? Is the traditional food pyramid now upside-down? No wonder we are confused! There are so many idea’s regarding nutrition and many of which are contradictory. How do we make sense of it all?

The Basics

Eating a balanced diet is vital for good health and well-being. Food provides our bodies with the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly. We need a wide variety of different foods to provide the right amounts of nutrients for good health. For more information about how you can start, or continue, healthy eating visit the American Heart Association’s ‘Nutrition Basics’ page or ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Weight and Dieting

To make matters even more confusing what’s a “healthy” weight and what about dieting? Some researchers state that being even moderately overweight places one at greater risk for many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and high blood pressure. Others claim that being overweight in and by itself is not what places one at greater risk but that lack of exercise is the culprit and that there is a clear correlation between inactivity and excess weight. Is it really unhealthy to be moderately overweight or is it simply about fashion and the current trends in body size? During the later half of the 18th century women purposely tried to look larger in order to attract a mate. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe wore a size 16? Currently the average clothing size for women over the age of eighteen is a size 12 and yet women are often encouraged believe that a 3, 5, or 7 is what’s “normal” and acceptable?

Despite all of the confusion it seems that this much we know for certain. People are able to lose weight on any number of fad diets, but eating for health is what usually results in permanent weight loss and contributes to more holistic healthy body, mind and spirit. For more information click here.

Disease Prevention

Disease prevention is a procedure through which individuals, particularly those with risk factors for a disease, are treated in order to prevent a disease from occurring. Treatment normally begins either before signs and symptoms of the disease occur, or shortly thereafter.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)/Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)

1 out of every 2 sexually active young adults (ages 18-25) will contract an STI by the time they are 25. Know the facts and protect yourself and your sexual partners! Get the lowdown by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ‘STD Lowdown’ animated page or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s STD fact sheet page and/or talk to an Aggie Health & Wellness Center medical provider about what you can do to be safer. Some effective strategies for reducing STD risk include: abstinence, vaccination, condoms, mutual monogamy, reduce number of partners, and regular testing (at least once a year if you’re sexually active).

Cold & Flu

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like colds and the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. Some other good health habits for prevention include avoiding close contact with people who are sick; cleaning and/or disinfecting surfaces or objects; staying home when you’re sick; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s pages for flu prevention and hand-washing tips.