Spring Break Fitness Reboot

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No matter how true our intentions are, sometimes we fail to stick to our healthy habits. Be it daily exercise, vigilant hydration, or eating enough fruits and vegetables, it can be tough to stick to our positive habits. With Spring Break around the corner, this is an opportune time to re-dedicate to health and fitness habits.

Here are a few simple tips to get back on the fitness bandwagon:

  1. Go slow! Give your body time to readjust to the fitness habit. If you push yourself too hard too soon, you risk injury. Start with a vigorous walk or a light jog. If you are lifting weights, start each set with lighter weights than you’re used to, so your body can adjust to the movement.
  1. Focus on flexibility. Light stretches help increase blood to target muscles, while assisting with joint mobility and range of motion. This can help you avoid injury when starting to exercise anew.
  1. Do what you can, and forget the rest. In huge mega-gyms, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the multitude of machines and weights. Instead of taking it all in at once, create a simple plan for yourself within your limits. Look beyond the super-fit triathletes and the 20-something bodybuilders to your own capabilities. An all-or-nothing mindset may discourage you.
  1. Begin with an easy goal. Employ “SMART” goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
  1. Hydration: take a water bottle with you wherever you go, and drink often. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass right after you wake up and before you go to bed, a glass between meals, and a glass before meals.

 

Workout Wednesday blog posts are written by UNC Campus Recreation. Each Wednesday we swap blog posts with the Tar Heel Tone Up blog so that readers can view more diverse post topics that will benefit their health and wellness. Workout Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on tarheeltoneup.com.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: How to Help an Intoxicated Friend

This blog post was originally posted on March 5, 2013 and was written by Natalie Rich. 

Next week is Spring Break. Maybe you and your friends have plans to relax under palm trees in a sunny tropical location. Maybe you are going home to reunite with all your buddies from high school. Maybe you are sticking around Chapel Hill. Whether your Spring Break plans involve productivity or partying, you may be in a situation with people who are intoxicated. So, here are some tips on how to be the best friend/bystander to someone who has had a bit too much…

1.       Telling people they’ve had too much

It helps to have a conversation with friends beforehand to get an idea of what is too much for them or signs that it’s time to switch to water. That will make it easier to broach the subject later on in the night. If you haven’t talked to your friend beforehand, you can still talk to him in the moment. Offer him a cup of water or simply suggest going home. If your friend is just gearing up to have a good time and wants to keep drinking, try getting support from others to intervene. You don’t want to gang up on him, but having multiple people suggest that he slow down or take it easy on the shots may help.

If you are worried about a friend’s drinking, here is some information on how to have that conversation with him/her

2.       Taking keys away from someone

car-keys-use-this-oneThe easiest way to help people avoid drinking and driving is to establish a plan at the beginning of the night. If you are hosting, collect keys as people come in the door and keep numbers for cab companies handy. If going to a party, agree on a DD or take a cab to and from the party. You may find yourself in a situation where a friend insists on driving after she has been drinking. She may think she is fine to drive, but even small amounts of alcohol can impact decision-making and driving ability. Plus, the legal limit for driving if you are under 21 is 0.00 (0.08 for 21 and up) which means any amount of alcohol puts her at risk for DUI. When a friend insists she is fine to drive, it can be tricky to convince her she is not. Again, getting support from others might help. Call a cab for your friend or offer to drive her home if you are sober or ask a DD at the party to drive her home. Remove as many barriers as possible, so that it becomes easier for her to choose getting a ride home rather than driving.

3.       Know what alcohol poisoning looks like and know what to do.

If your friend is experiencing any of these signs, it may be alcohol poisoning:

  • Throwing up
  • Passed out and cannot be woken up
  • Incoherent speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Pale, bluish, or clammy skin

If you suspect alcohol poisoning, here’s what to do:

  • Call 911
  • Stay with the person or have someone (not intoxicated) stay with the person
  • Try to wake up the person
  • If lying down, keep them lying on their side (to reduce risk of choking on vomit)

Resources:

  • Campus police—962 8100
  • After hours Healthlink (to speak to a nurse after hours)—962 2281
  • UNC ER—966 4721

For more detailed info on how to help an intoxicated friend who may have alcohol poisoning, check out this great post on Go Ask Alice.

4.       Take care of yourself when the people around you are intoxicated. 

stock-footage-happy-young-student-studying-at-home-and-smiling-is-joyfulNo matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, don’t forget to take care of yourself first. That means leaving a party that’s getting out of control to avoid legal risk. That means telling your suitemates to keep it down so that you can go to sleep. And it means listening to your gut. If you get a bad vibe from a party, tell your friends and suggest an alternative. If you don’t feel like going out, then take a night to yourself and stay in. Being a good friend is not just about taking care of others; it’s about knowing how to take care of yourself too.

Di-Hydrogen Monoxide: Chemical Alert Warning

As you travel on spring break, make sure you are aware of your body’s levels of Di-Hydrogen Monoxide. Too little Di-Hydrogen Monoxide can result in the following symptoms:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness
  • Fainting
  • Inability to sweat
  • Decreased urine output
  • Yellow or amber urine output
  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Vomiting

As you may have figured out, Di-Hydrogen Monoxide = H2O. For you the chemistry-averse among you, that’s what’s commonly referred to as “Water”.

In all seriousness, how much water you drink is important for your health, safety, and ability to enjoy spring break. As you can see from the list above, dehydration can have some very serious health effects.

If someone does exhibit signs of dehydration, get them to a cool place and have them sip water, chew ice chips, suck on a Popsicle, or sip a sports-drink. Loosen their clothing, and seek shade or air-conditioning immediately. If symptoms worsen or persist, take the person to an emergency room or call an ambulance.

Prevention

College students, if they choose to drink alcohol over spring break, can be especially susceptible to dehydration. Alcohol, like caffeine, is a diuretic. Diuretics act on the kidneys to make you pee more than usual, which results in your body losing too much of its water and becoming dehydrated.

The symptoms of a hangover are mainly due to your body being dehydrated, and can best be cured by drinking water, not a caffeinated beverage.

Hydration is especially important on spring break, when people travel to warm weather where they may be sweating more, enjoying the sunshine more, and expending more energy traveling than they normally do in Chapel Hill.

So to stay hydrated and prevent the above symptoms, follow these 5 easy steps:

  1. Have a full water bottle with you at all times.
  2. Sip water before and during exercise or exposure to heat.
  3. Break up the time you spend in hot temperatures. Find air-conditioned or shady areas and allow yourself to cool down between exposures to the heat.
  4. Wear light colored and loose-fitting clothing, and carry a fan or mister to cool yourself. Doing so will lessen the amount of water you lose by sweating.
  5. If you choose to drink alcohol, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This will help you pace your drinking and stay more hydrated.

So now that you know the signs of dehydration and how to avoid it, have a great, safe (and well-hydrated) spring break!