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A Healthy College Lifestyle in 5 Steps

Bags have been packed and unpacked, dorms have been filled with cart-full after cart-full of bedding and living essentials, and the new semester has officially begun. The excitement of starting or returning to college is real and there are dozens of new places to explore and friends to meet. The first month of school can turn into a blur of running from classes, completing piles of homework, and spending weekends at the most popular parties. Before you know it, the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen” has crept up, and even the high school sports all-stars have fallen out of their athletic routines. It is incredibly important to get a well-rounded college experience, and this includes learning how to navigate a healthy lifestyle amongst a social life and homework. It may seem completely out of reach, but there are some great tips, tricks, and resources to make it a successfully healthy year.

Plan Meals Ahead

Before college, it is not uncommon for mom or dad to be in charge of all meals throughout the day. It could be a mixture of home-cooked and fast food, but either way, the tables have turned and now it is your turn to take the reigns. This may also mark the first time that thoughts of nutrition have come into play. Sure, the food pyramid may have crossed your path before, but to be in charge of your own nutrition is another story entirely. That is why it is important to plan ahead and avoid extra calories and wasted money. Make a calendar where you plan where and generally what you are going to eat. On a busier day with more classes, you may want to pack a lunch and snacks. On a day where you have more freedom, you can plan to visit your school’s cafeteria or an outing with friends. This way, you can visually map out your week of meals and avoid the sudden need for food and a visit to the local convenience store. We all know that only leads to bags of chips and bottles of soda. The money you save planning ahead can be saved for something a little more exciting like a fun spring break getaway!

Meal Balancing

Speaking of college cafeterias, while convenient, it can be incredibly easy to get carried away. Usually, these cafeterias host a large handful of food stations with every food genre you desire. Remember that a healthy meal is a balanced meal. You should be filling your plate with a good dose of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins, with the vegetables being the largest selection. Most college cafes are equipped with a salad bar, so you should not have too much trouble filling your daily veggie quota between lunch and dinner. Just as importantly, proteins are what will give you an energy boost to get through those long classes. Especially in the morning, be sure to start your day off with a well-balanced meal like oatmeal and yogurt with fruit. Of course you will be tempted by the do-it-yourself waffle bar and the self-serve soft-serve ice cream station, but try to keep these as occasional treats when you ace that intense exam. The same goes for eating out. Pick dishes that are heavy on the nutrients and less on the fried, bar food side. It may seem like a difficult task when your friends want the loaded nachos, but your waistline will thank you.

Water Everywhere

Many college students rely on coffee, soda, and whatever is served at the weekend’s hot spot, that they forget to most important liquid of all – WATER! Water will be your best friend when creating a healthy lifestyle at school. Invest in a large reusable water bottle and fill it up a few times a day. The more water you drink, the better hydrated your body will be. This translates into feeling more awake and much better brain function. You may be able to ditch that morning jolt of caffeine. Another perk of that reusable bottle? You will not have to spend money on plastic bottles every day. That’s another $1.50 into the spring break fund every time you refill your reusable.

Exercise

It may seem like an obvious point that exercise will make for a healthy lifestyle, but it is also one of the easiest tasks to push aside during the college years. Leading up to college, you may have played a sport, but even if you did not, your school most likely required you to take gym class every year. Your exercise was a no-brainer because it was automatically built into your schedule. In college, like planning your nutrition, you now have to plan your exercise. Luckily, the majority of schools actually have their own fitness centers that offer a variety of cardio equipment like treadmills, elliptical, and stationary bikes, as well as a handful of weight training equipment. If you are lucky, your school also has a group fitness room where they offer fun classes like Zumba or yoga. If your school does not have its own facility, have no fear! Because living a #fitlife has become a welcome trend, there are bound to be fitness specialty studios or gyms within a close radius that offer various classes based on your interests, but also have student specials so you do not break the bank. Make yourself a schedule that you can stick to. Using the same food/nutrition map you used earlier, look at your schedule and plan a few days a week where you will work out. If you need a little extra motivation, find an exercise buddy and commit to a routine together!

Sleep

The value of sleep really comes into play when you start college and can make the biggest difference in your success. Try for a solid eight hours of sleep per night, which may seem like a hard sell when there are so many parties to attend. However, getting a good night’s sleep can mean the difference between you passing that test or having to repeat a class next semester. Sleep allows your brain to rest and recharge and even better, helps to keep your metabolism in top shape along with that healthy diet and exercise.

The phrase “lifestyle change” can seem a bit daunting, but in the case of creating a healthy college lifestyle, the “changes” are not terribly dramatic. In fact, you most likely have had many of these tools in place back home and just need to transition them into your new setting. That is the key here. From the start of the new semester, make the pledge to integrate these five steps into your weekly routine and you will find yourself feeling better and functioning at a higher level than you imagined. College is a time to enjoy life and learn as much as you can. Start by taking care of your body and it will carry you through an experience of a lifetime.



Alyson Monaco is a published writer, expert in health and fitness, and professional dancer hailing from New Jersey. Her love of how the body works began through early dance training, which lead to a major in Dance at internationally renowned Boston Conservatory. Aside from movement studies, she was trained extensively in kinesiology, anatomy, and nutrition. These would only aid in her pursuit of both Group Fitness and Personal Training certifications through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)/National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Alyson has been actively working as a fitness instructor, Personal Trainer, and nutrition coach since 2013 and has been writing on her areas of expertise since 2016. She loves working one on one with people of all ages and ability, and truly enjoys helping people find a better quality of life.



5 Healthcare Careers You Might Not Have Heard Of

As long as there are people on this planet there will be a need for healthcare. And as our population ages the need to fill those healthcare jobs will only increase over time.

Obviously doctors and nurses are the ones that immediately come to mind when we think about healthcare professionals, but it takes an army to make a hospital or clinic run efficiently and to provide quality care to the patients who need it.

But who are these people? If you’re interested in a career in healthcare but aren’t sure that the hands on aspect of it is right for you, these are five healthcare careers that pay well and are vital to the success of any healthcare facility.

1. Genetic Counseling

While a genetic counselor does need to have a master’s degree in their field, the actual work of a genetic counselor is rewarding and incredibly fascinating. A genetic counselor usually works in a hospital or clinic setting and assists patients and physicians by identifying genetic disorders that could potentially cause diseases. They also work with couples who may have a genetic abnormality that could be passed on to their children.

This is very sensitive work so in addition to extensive training in the science of human genetics one must also train as a counselor.

2. Healthcare Administrator

No business can function without a top-notch administrative team and the healthcare field is no different. A healthcare administrator manages the back office and clerical aspects of the clinic or hospital, including patient records, accounting, and case management.

Healthcare administrators might also work with insurance companies or with human resource departments in a variety of healthcare settings. This is a very versatile position that offers the person with the right training a number of different jobs to choose from.

3. Medical Device Repair

Medical technology has changed rapidly over recent years and the devices used today for diagnostic and treatment services are very complex pieces of machinery. If one of these machines fails for some reason it’s absolutely not cost-effective to buy a new one. Enter the medical device repair person.

Also referred to as biomedical equipment technicians, these people usually complete specialized training in electronics and the functionality related to the equipment they’ll work on, like MRI machines. Some cases can be urgent and the technician may be required to work during off hours but most technicians work typical daytime shifts and may work at several different hospitals or clinics.

4. Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist is one of the most vital members to any large healthcare team. Someone in this position takes on several aspects of both a physical therapist and a mental health therapist, but their main focus is ensuring that patients are able to perform day to day to tasks and deciding what type of assistance they may need to accomplish that.

Some occupational therapists work with children who are developmentally delayed and assist them in achieving age appropriate milestones. Others work with stroke or accident victims to help them regain loss of fine motor skills. This job does require an advanced degree but it’s extremely rewarding work.

5. Medical Social Worker

A medical social worker is a specialized field that is all about assisting patients and their families by ensuring that their healthcare needs are met. In many situations, such as a severe illness or accident, a patient may not know what to do or how to find appropriate resources. This is where the medical social worker comes in.

The social worker acts as a patient advocate and works with doctors, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes and other health-related businesses to arrange for their client to have the equipment or treatment that they need. Many medical social workers also work with homeless or disadvantaged people to help them fill out the paperwork necessary to apply for government sponsored healthcare.

The healthcare workers like doctors and nurses are the ones that we see on the front lines, but those that work behind the scenes make their jobs possible. If you’re looking for a rewarding career in healthcare consider one of these five positions that are not only important but very inspiring as well.



What Can You Do with a Nursing Degree?

Millions of people have pursued careers in the medical field. It is undoubtedly one of the best ways to give back to your community, and there are many different ways in which to do it. Many people choose a career in nursing as a way to quickly move into the medical profession. There is much studying and work involved in becoming a nurse, but the risk is worth the reward. Being a nurse opens up the doors to a variety of different career choices. Which one is right for you? We’ll look at a few of the many professions you can consider pursuing with a nursing degree in hand.

Doctor’s Office Nurse

A doctor’s office nurse, or physician’s nurse, is probably the most common form of nurse you have interacted with in day-to-day life. These individuals work alongside physicians in private practices and tend to have a more regular work schedule than nurses who work in hospitals or elsewhere. Many nurses have entered this profession after just two to four years of schooling. It is now easier than ever to study and prepare for you nursing degree, thanks to online courses such as those offered by Bradley University.

School Nurse

Perhaps one of the most rewarding professions you can pursue with a Master of Science in Nursing is a school nurse. Many schools are understaffed when it comes to those willing to serve in this capacity, so there is plenty of growth in the job market. As a school nurse you will have much more time than the average nurse due to the nature of the school year. This is a fantastic benefit for nurses with school-age children.

Diabetes Nurse

There is such an increase in diabetes in the country today that an entire specialized form of nursing is developing around it. A diabetes nurse specializes in treatments and diabetes planning for those affected by the disease. These nurses may work out of a diabetic clinic or may perform house calls, depending on the nature of the patients. The primary role for diabetes nurses is to manage the conditions of those who are facing diabetes, and to provide plans that help mitigate the effects of the illness.

Occupational Health Nurse

Occupational health nurses focus on providing health-oriented solutions to large numbers of people within a medical setting. This job is most commonly found in hospitals and very large businesses. The role for the nurse is to ensure that working conditions and outcomes are healthy and sound for employees, with the goal being to maintain mental, emotional and physical well-being. This role is commonly used to lower overall operating and healthcare costs for larger companies.

These four nursing occupations are just a sample of the many dozens of different professions that a nursing degree can open up to you. Whether you intend to pursue an associate degree or a Master of Science in Nursing, there are many different careers waiting for you in a field that is growing by leaps and bounds every year.



5 Medical Specialisms Worth Considering

5 Medical Specialisms Worth Considering
There isn’t much worse for students than not being accepted onto the college course that they were hoping for. However, if you’re an aspiring doctor who has been rejected from a medical degree course, there’s no need to give up on your dreams just yet. Even if you don’t quite cut it when it comes to the entry requirements for getting onto the medical degree course of your dreams, there are many other careers in medicine and healthcare that aren’t as strict when it comes to entry requirements, and can be just as rewarding for you. We’ve put together a list of some medical specialist jobs which are definitely worth considering.

Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist is a qualified nurse who specializes in the administration of anesthesia. If you want to work in a theatre setting in a hospital, becoming a theatre nurse or a nurse anesthetist is one of the best ways to do this, second to becoming a surgeon. It is the job of a nurse anesthetist to ensure that the right dosage of anesthesia is given, and to monitor the patient throughout administration of the dose and when they are under during the operation. To become a nurse anesthetist, you will need to be a registered nurse before you can look into nurse anesthetist courses, available here at Valley Anesthesia.

Therapy and Counselling

Mental health care is becoming increasingly more important as more people suffering from mental health problems are speaking up and getting help. The fact that people are becoming more aware of mental health and the potential problems is a great thing, however it also means that good therapists and counsellors are in high-demand. Mental health nurses, in-hospital therapists and private therapists are all definitely needed in the medical industry as the statistics of people suffering with mental health problems continues to rise. You can complete a degree course to become a certified therapist, counsellor or mental health nurse.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a field of medicine that always has a high demand for professionals. As a physiotherapist there are many different branches of care that you can go into, whether it be pediatric, sports-related or general care. Physiotherapists work to help rehabilitate people after injury and administer treatment which helps them to deal with pain scale and discomfort. This profession, along with pharmacy, is commonly chosen by students who haven’t made it onto a medical degree.

Midwifery

If you wanted to go into medicine to become a pediatrician, why not consider becoming a midwife instead? A midwife’s career is much more than simply helping women during labor and birth – there are home visits before and after the birth, regular checkups for mothers and babies and a lot more than just attending the delivery of a child. Midwifery is also a very highly rewarding career, giving you the opportunity to see new babies come into the world and take their first breath.

Would you like to add to this list? Whether you’re interested in studying towards or working in a certain medical specialism, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.



9 Things Nurses Do — And Why You Should Appreciate Them

nurses

Nursing is often an under-appreciated profession. While nurses spend more time on average caring for their patients than doctors, they often take home significantly less pay. About 89 percent of nurses feel ineffective in their work due to indifferent or argumentative physicians and staff, and most nurses rarely have enough free time to eat healthy meals or sleep soundly more than three nights a week.

Despite all this, nursing remains one of the most attractive careers for people looking to contribute meaningfully to society. Nurses are amazing workers who provide infinite amounts of care to their patients and society in general. To prove the point, here are nine common activities you didn’t know nurses do.

1. Collect Patient Histories

Whenever you visit a doctor’s office or hospital, before you are admitted and taken to an exam room, you usually fill out a few forms inquiring about your recent health. Though the doctors may glance at this information for a quick background, most of your history goes straight into the minds of the careful and caring nurses.

2. Perform Physical Exams

In the past, the physical exam was strictly the realm of doctors. Because it requires the careful measurement of dozens of vital signs — including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiration rate — the physical exam was one of only a handful of methods doctors could use to diagnose disorders. Today, with technology like blood work and scanning, the physical exam is no longer held in high esteem, and it has been relegated to the duty of nurses. Read the rest of this entry »



Students Invent Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Even if you’ve never been to a party or bar, I bet you know their number one rule: Never leave your drink unattended. There’s also its cousin, never accept a drink from someone if you didn’t see them make it. Why all the rules?

mixed drinks

In the United States, 18 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s nearly one in five. Often, the assaults are facilitated by the use of date rape drugs. These include Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.

Problem is, these drugs can be difficult to detect, and up to now, no one has figured out a reliable, and discreet, way to check for them and still maintain your drink. That may change with a new idea from four undergraduates at NC State University. They’re developing a nail polish, Undercover Colors, which changes colors in the presence of common date rape drugs.

Read the rest of this entry »



Hookah’s Healthy Alternative Claims Go Up in Smoke

You may have heard that smoking hookah is better for you than smoking cigarettes. Turns out, it’s all in how you define “better.” A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention indicates that smoking hookah, or water pipes, may be more dangerous than originally thought.

hookah

Hookahs most often consist of a head connected to a water jar with a hose attached and a mouthpiece. Flavored tobacco is placed below burning charcoal in the head, and the resultant vapor is cooled then smoked. In the United States, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, studies indicate a significant increase in hookah smoking. This increase is especially evident in younger people. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 teens smoke hookah, and as many as 40 percent of U.S. college students report using a water pipe.

This increase is likely due to the popularly held belief that hookah are less harmful than cigarettes. However, the study results show otherwise.

Read the rest of this entry »



Study Drug Use on the Rise, Students Don’t Know Risks

Looking around campus, you’re sure to see the signs of finals approaching. More and more students will be spending longer hours studying, using every spare moment to catch up on homework, their jobs, and any outside activities.

prescription drugs

In this stress-filled atmosphere of always having something else to be done, many students turn to quick fixes to help them power through the workload.

These quick fixes often take shape as prescription ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Usually the students taking these drugs to help them deal with school haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, and the number of students taking them has been increasing over the last decade.

Read the rest of this entry »



Food Insecurity Facing More Students as College Expenses Rise

Often, college students are accused of treating their lives on campus like a bubble; one that will pop after graduation when they have to enter the “real world.” That may be true, but plenty of students are facing incredibly challenging “real world” problems while still on campus. One of the most prevalent, and the least studied, is food insecurity.

student eating

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education examined the students at Western Oregon University and found 59 percent of them were food insecure at least once during the previous year. Food insecurity by definition is, “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”

You may be asking yourself how that’s possible with meal plans, food courts, and snack carts dotting most college campuses. The reality is that many students aren’t getting enough healthy food because they struggle with high costs, limited income, and fewer food and social support systems.

The researchers feel the high number of food insecure students is caused by a combination of rising college costs, changing college student demographics, and more low-income and first-generation students attending college.

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Oklahoma State University Strives to be America’s Healthiest College Campus

Oklahoma State University is after a title. No, not for football or basketball or even anything academic. Instead, OSU has put itself on the track to be America’s Healthiest Campus.

The quest to be America’s Healthiest started earlier this year with the implementation of updates like the campus’ new Reboot Center, a space designed to help students relax and get away from the stresses of student life. It opened to good reviews in March, and helped pave the way for additional health-centered initiatives.

OSU Pistol Pete

With the same goal of improved student and faculty health in mind, in October, OSU hired a Chief Wellness Officer. OSU President Burns Hargis said “this new position emphasizes the commitment we have to the well-being of our students and employees as OSU strives to be America’s Healthiest Campus.”

More healthy changes came right on the heels of this new appointment: Within days, Oklahoma State announced a new on-campus food nutrition labeling system. This new system helps students make healthier eating choices by labeling more than 800 kinds of prepared foods with information about serving size, number of servings per package, ingredients, nutritional values and allergen information. Read the rest of this entry »





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