In the first two parts of the triplet of articles about intramural sports at UNC this month, you’ve heard about what it takes to be an intramural sports official from a full time employee of the intramural sports department of campus rec, as well as some statements from student officials about what it takes to do their jobs and what they love about them or have gained from the experience. Now, to wrap it up the series, I’ve asked UNC students who play intramural sports what they love about them and what they have gained from playing. Check out what they have to say about their time spent playing intramural sports through campus recreation!
“My name is Melissa Mosby, and I’ve done many of the women’s and co-rec IM sports out there like Flag Football, Soccer, Sand Volleyball, Wallyball, Basketball, Indoor Soccer, Softball, and 4 v 4 Flag Football. Honestly, they have been my favorite part of my free time at this university!! With countless hours spent on Hooker Fields, at Woolen and Fetzer Gyms, I have played on teams and cheered on friends’ teams. All this time went towards one thing: building memories that are going to last. Some weeks during the fall, I’ve been known to spend more time playing in and watching IM games than doing school work… just sayin’.”
(Wow, I’m impressed! That’s another great thing about intramural sports: you have plenty of opportunities to try out so many different sports since each one lasts for a short period of time.)
“My name is Emily Beaty and I am a sophomore. I play CoEd basketball with guys and girls from my hometown! It is so much fun; we were all varsity athletes in high school, but not good enough to play D1 anywhere. We love playing together once a week, its great exercise, we get to hang out and we really want to win a t-shirt! I also play with my sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma in the girl’s league. It’s a blast playing with sisters who played basketball in high school too! Much like with the CoEd team it’s just nice to get out and play some basketball and enjoy good company. I also play CoEd and women’s volleyball in the fall. This year my CoEd team lost by 5 in the championship, it was so sad, but we had such a blast that we made it that far! We are already recruiting people for next fall. I think that everyone should play intramurals, especially if you were competitive in high school, but couldn’t play D1. I’ve met some fun people through my teams and it’s a great stress reliever!”
(Fraternities and sororities often form their own intramural teams for some good competition and time with friends!)
“I work for Intramural sports and try to play as many sports as I can get involved with. I have made many friends throughout the quest for the coveted CHAMPION t-shirt and have succeeded with 3 back-to-back wins in Women’s Street Hockey! Playing on a recreational team has encouraged me to stay active in a friendly, competitive way, while promoting healthy relationships with teammates. The key to winning is to play hard and have as much fun as possible.” ~Laura Painter
(Intramural champions get to go pick up their free champion tee shirts in the intramural office after the victory!)
“I was able to just hop onto a soccer team last semester. It’s nice because I’m a transfer student who lives off campus. As such, it’s a little harder to meet new people and get involved. Intramural sports was a great way to get involved on campus after class and meet some new people with similar interests!” ~Ben Lewis
(Transfer students take note: intramural sports are a great way to meet people on campus outside of class!)
“Intramural sports are a great way for old ‘has-beens’ to relive their glory moments and to rekindle the long forgotten fire of competition. The IM swim meet only lasts one night, but it gives students a chance to challenge themselves in the pool once again on a recreational level. The teams formed usually consist of old friends to random strangers that have pitted up against one another to find out who still has it in them to win. Winners can be declared on an individual or team basis. Every event has a designated 1st place, but the top four positions also score points for your team. This implements a new form of strategy for each team to increase their favor or winning. After the events were over only a few teams were left lingering around to hear the results, but all in all everyone enjoyed this night of friendly competition.” ~Sean Ryall
And speaking of the pool, just this week, I walked past Bowman Grey pool one evening and saw an innertube water basketball intramural game being played. It looked like so much fun that on a week-day evening that I might just have to find some teammates and try it out myself next year! Even though I haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity myself yet, after hearing what fellow students had to say about IM sports and after stopping to watch the innertube water basketball madness for a few minutes, it looks like playing an intramural sport is a must to add to my bucket list before graduation. Consider adding it to yours as well, and check out the campus rec webpage here for more information and schedules!
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Just as we hope you will be, the writer’s of the Tar Heel Tone Up will be taking a short hiatus next week in honor of the fantastic invention of Spring Break. Have a safe, fun, relaxing, and generally awesome Spring Break week and we’ll be back with more great health and fitness posts on Monday, March 17th!
Next Monday-Friday, there will be a break from our posts with the useful fitness, health, and nutrition advice. Keep the following in mind as you go on break too!
1. Limit alcohol consumption – your body will thank you later. And you probably don’t need as much as you think!
2. Take time for yourself – with friends, family, and gatherings, it can be easy to get caught up in things. Take a few minutes every day to reflect, relax, and take care of you mind.
3. Exercise – find time to move and be active! It can be anything from a walk to a long weight session. Whatever you do… do it right.
New science has revealed more about the elusive nature of HIIT. These new studies compared ways of training in short, but intense, bursts. The results – “a few sessions per week of 30- or 60-second intervals so strenuous you moan, followed by a minute or so of blessed recovery, and a painful repetition or four.”
If you have trouble staying asleep at night for the recommended 7-9 hours, check out this article. The problem could lie in loud background noise, or a more pervasive medical issue. Many times, bad habits like nicotine or alcohol could contribute to nighttime wakefulness. If you wake up in the middle of the night, the article advises that you do not lay there in anguish. Rather, do something that will distract you from the problem, like reading a book. Then, return to bed after you begin to feel sleepy again.
Real life Barbie Valeria Lukyanova claims she wants to live on only air and sunlight – no food or water. This is impossible, as human beings are organisms that require nourishment in the form of macro and micronutrients. These types of diets (or lack thereof) are unadvisable and dangerous.
Michelle Obama has been working hard and is changing the face of nutrition labels. The new labels will feature calorie content in larger font. Additionally, the label will clearly show whether the food contains added sugar. This is a great stride in the right direction.
We recently talked about reasons to be aware of one’s sugar intake, and it looks like the good folks over at the FDA have been reading our blog. Among other changes, the FDA has proposed including an “added sugars” line item to food packages to help people keep track of the extra sugar they’re ingesting. Check out the infographic below to see all ways in which nutrition labels would change (via livescience):
What are your thoughts on the new nutrition label? Do you think this will change how people eat? Who do you think will be impacted most by these changes? Leave a reply below, and let us know what you think!
“Wellness Wednesday blog posts are written by Student Wellness or Campus Health Services staff members. Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on healthyheels.wordpress.com.”
If you like to work out regularly, it’s likely that you’ve established a routine of days of the week that you like to work out, types of workouts, and the amount of time you choose to devote to each. My routine changes with each semester, but I still like to have a routine and I try to consistently work out at least four days each week. However, a lot of the time I choose those four days to be Monday through Thursday—my four busiest days of the week, and then I take the weekends off. But my busy schedule made me start to think about the pros and cons of working out on weekends, and I have to say that I came up with so many pros that I figured I should seriously consider it and I even decided to write about it this week! Here are some of the reasons that made me decide that working out on the weekends is a great idea:
· You can still work out the same number of days each week, but instead of taking Saturday off, you could give yourself an extra hour or so on your busiest weekday and save yourself from running around from place to place when you’re trying to work out but you’re already exhausted.
· Giving yourself a weekday off gives your body time to recharge in between workouts! For example, if I do a cardio workout one day, then my body usually feels fine to work out the next day. But if I do a strength workout, the next day I’m often sore and not feeling completely up to another good workout. By taking a day off and replacing it with a workout on Saturday, my muscles have time to heal and the soreness has time to fade.
· You’ll be less tired, because on the weekends you can typically still sleep in before you work out and not have to rush to be somewhere right afterward.
· If you need to study or do homework on the weekend, it can help your body and mind to wake up and prepare to absorb information instead of rolling out of bed and trying to do work while still groggy.
· Working out can put you in a good mood and help you to enjoy your weekend by feeling that you’ve done something on your own time that is good for your body instead of cramming it into your schedule of a million things to do during the week.
· If you like to eat out and indulge in a delicious meal on the weekends, working out earlier in the day can make you feel balanced and can take away any guilt for your indulgence meal (if you’re the type to think about things like that) or if you just want to treat your body well every single day of the week.
· Who needs the gym every day? Maybe your weekend workout could consist of a long walk outside with friends during which you can chat about the week. Maybe you could go hiking, play some tennis or basketball with a friend, make your dog happy by going for a walk, or help out by participating in a 5K fundraiser on campus for a nice run or jog with plenty of company!
· You could get some errands done at the same time if you’re within reasonable walking or biking distance of a grocery store. Especially if it’s a little longer than you would normally walk for the sake of time, because it’s the weekend and you deserve the time to walk and smell the metaphorical or literal roses of life. You and your friends/roommates/housemates can make it a group outing.
· It’s not like you have to work out every day of the weekend. Although (sadly) there are still weekends when I have no choice but to spend time studying for upcoming tests for a portion of each day, Sundays will always be my day of rest. I try to give myself a break from the craziness of the past 6 days and prepare my mind for the new week. For me personally, this means that I just don’t work out on Sundays. But to sleep in on a Saturday and then wake up refreshed and go to a yoga class—to me that feels fantastic.
· You have more freedom to make your workout social or personal. Because most people’s schedules are freer time-wise on the weekends, it might be easier for you to find someone to join you in a fun workout. But it also gives you the chance to have some space from other people if that’s what you need to clear your mind, because the gym is emptier and the foot traffic on campus or on your favorite running trail is likely much lighter. On a beautiful, sunny Saturday early afternoon, I like to jog through the neighborhoods bordering campus on my own because I really enjoy the chance to just listen to my music, look at the big, pretty, and often old houses, and see the people who live there out walking their dogs or playing with their kids in the front yard or gardening. It’s an escape from the scenery I’m accustomed to seeing on campus every week, and I welcome that change of pace.
So you see, it looks like for me, at least, working out on weekends might just be the way to go more often! If you’re tired and busy during the week, try moving one of your workouts to the weekend instead and see if it works for you! And, as a small reminder, even though Spring Break is next week, try to take a few chances to get out and be active during your break for the benefit of both your body and mind. It’ll help you maintain your routine better when you return from break and I guarantee you’ll feel good about yourself afterward for doing it!
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How much do you know about hookah? Answer the question below to test your knowledge!
Question: Is smoking hookah safer than smoking cigarettes?
A) Hookah is much safer. There’s no nicotine… right?
B) Hookah and cigarettes are equally as harmful.
C) More dangerous- a hookah session equals twice as much smoke as 1 cigarette.
D) Much more dangerous – a hookah session equals 100 times as much smoke as 1 cigarette
Answer: D. Hookah smoke contains nicotine, carbon monoxide, and is actually more dangerous than cigarette smoking.
Celebrities like Rihanna have helped to popularize hookah smoking. 1 hookah session = 100 cigarettes
Many college students are turning to hookah for a fun, new experience. The social aspect and flavorful taste makes smoking hookah the perfect Friday night activity. Smoking hookah is also seen as more socially acceptable than smoking cigarettes. In fact, a 2011 study found that 18.5% of college students had used a hookah in the past year. And many hookah smokers believe that smoking a hookah has fewer negative health effects than cigarettes. These notions couldn’t be farther from the truth. Find out why hookah smoking could be causing the next major public health crisis.
New research has revealed the dramatic and shocking dangers of smoking hookah. Hookah smoke contains the same deadly toxins as cigarette smoke, which have been linked to lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, and periodontal disease. In fact, smoking hookah exposes the user to more smoke than a cigarette does. This is because hookah sessions last longer than smoking a cigarette, and the method of inhalation is different. When smoking hookah, the user inhales deeper and more frequently. These differences mean that hookah smokers are actually absorbing higher amounts of toxins.
The harmful effects of hookah go beyond the dangers of cigarettes. Smoking hookah may also be a cause for cancer. This is because the charcoal used to incinerate the tobacco produce smoke that contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer causing chemicals. Exposing yourself to these chemicals is playing Russian roulette with your health.
The dangers are real, but the awareness is limited. Currently, there are no public health campaigns against hookah smoking, like there are for cigarettes. Take action and educate yourself and your peers. Check out the information below to arm yourself with the facts about smoking hookah:
image courtesy of rollingout.com
As National Eating Disorder Awareness Week comes to a close, I think that the employees and staff at Campus Recreation who worked hard all week to promote Eating Disorder Awareness around campus deserve some attention and appreciation for all of their time and effort! I personally really appreciated the fact that campus recreation used the Body Beautiful campaign once again this year to do more than just raise awareness, this year the target went beyond awareness to initiating change. The national theme for NEDA week this year was “I had no idea,” which focused on correcting misconceptions about eating disorders as well as raising awareness of just how common eating disorders are in the United States. Did you know that there are more people who suffer from eating disorders at some point in their lives than there are people with green eyes in the U.S.? I sure didn’t until I took the quiz, found here, on the NEDA website. And while raising awareness is essential and the main target of NEDA week, I loved the theme taken on by Campus Rec this year that encouraged anyone who saw the posters to “Change the conversation. Love your body.” in efforts to change the skewed societal perception of beauty that only becomes more skewed with time. Check out the photographic summary below of Campus Rec’s involvement in NEDA Week and the Body Beautiful campaign.
May we all learn to be happy with our bodies and proud of who we are and what we are capable of. Thank you to Campus Recreation marketing team for all of your hard work to create such a successful NEDA week!
I made a New Year’s resolution this year to stand up straighter. Okay, that’s a lie, it has been a resolution of mine probably for the past four years. But this year I am really going to do it! In fact, maybe it’s because it’s been on my brain for, well almost half a decade now, but I actually catch myself slouching in the moment and try to adjust. And I notice I actually feel better. Standing up straight is like an instant confidence builder. So that got me thinking a lot about self-confidence, self-esteem, and if there other tiny behavior changes we can make to enhance our swagger.
What is self-esteem and self-confidence?
While it has been somewhat debated if these two concepts are really one in the same, self-esteem most often refers to how you feel about yourself overall and who you are. It’s our perception of our selves. Self-confidence is more about how you feel about your abilities. Often if you overcome a challenging task you gain more self-confidence in yourself.
While I wouldn’t say one is necessarily more important than the other, every one of us can have varying levels of both. You may gain self-confidence after landing a great job or getting through a difficult lab assignment and this increases your overall self-esteem. Or you may have low self-confidence after trying a new sport you weren’t the best at, but your self-esteem increased because you gave it your best shot and feel good about that.
Okay, so Why Does it Matter?
It matters because these are not only the ways that we see ourselves in the present, but also the beginning of recognizing how we can improve ourselves moving forward. Learning new skills and learning about yourself only makes life that more exciting and makes it that much easier to try new things.
It also matters because chances are if you feel good about yourself, it is pretty difficult to feel bad about the situation around you. Increasing self-confidence and self-esteem overall can help you have a more positive outlook on life.
And last but not least, while it does amazing things just for you, it also positively changes how people perceive you. I had a friend in high school who was a people magnet. People flocked to her, and while she was a funny, smart, and an overall likeable person, I never understood how she drew people to her so immediately. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized she might be one of the most self-confident people I ever met. She was so sure of herself and others sensed that and were instantly attracted to her. While I don’t care to dwell too much on what others think of me, I do think it is important that we are self-aware and understand the vibes we give to other people.
Okay, first things first. Working on your confidence and self-esteem may not lead you to stardom and fame (Let’s face it, there are a lot of celebrities who could look inwards now and then too). But I do hope it will bring you a little more happiness in your day and get you thinking more positively, and who doesn’t need a little more positivity in their life?
Second, this is not a one shot, over-night deal. Improving and learning about yourself is a lifelong event. But there are some actions that you take and habits you can build that will point you in the right direction.
Compliment yourself once a day. This may seem weird, and you don’t have to do it out loud, but instead of looking in the mirror and saying to yourself all those bad things (no I’m not going to list them) that we tell ourselves every day, practice saying something positive. It can be a physical compliment, a congratulations on getting a job or acing a test, or even for just raising your hand in class that day and making a stellar comment.
Dress in a way that makes you feel good. This doesn’t mean you have to go buy a new wardrobe. Take the time to put yourself together before going out and get to know what type of clothing fits your body. I have a few items that definitely cost less than $30 each and every time I put them on I feel professional, smart, and classy. Also without fail I always get a few compliments in these items-which could be less about the clothing itself and just that I feel a little more confident in them so I stand a little taller.
Set a challenge for yourself that you can achieve. I like to do this with an activity that I have wanted to do for awhile and haven’t gotten around to. Finally crossing it off my list makes me feel twice as good about myself. Break down the challenge into tiny chunks (put it on your calendar, make a reservation/appointment, gather the materials you need, find a buddy), whatever you need to do to make it as easy as possible for yourself to complete.
Try a Power Pose. All you need is your body, privacy, and two minutes. Studies have shown that taking a power pose (see superman above or think of a CEO with her feet up on her desk) increases testosterone, the dominance hormone, and actually make people seem more confident, enthusiastic, captivating, and comfortable. While standing up straighter is a start, practice an actual power pose before going into a stressful situation or a long day, it might just be the boost you need to actually becoming a more confident person. For more, check out this TedTalk.
What does swagger mean to you? What do you do to feel good about yourself? Comment below!
Sources: Counseling Center at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Healthyplace.com; Psychology Today
This blog post is courtesy of Student Wellness and Campus Health Services. The original posting can be found on healthyheels.wordpress.com.
Because, like many women, my body is not strong. It’s soft. If I work really hard, I can do push-ups and I can run really far. I can work to be strong. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was born into a body that is not naturally strong. At least not in that chiseled-lean-muscle way. Think about how newborn babies can’t hold their heads up or control their body movements–that’s because muscles are something that develop over time when we train them.
But soft is not the new skinny either. Neither is fat. Or thick. Or curvy. Or bootylicious. Or boobalicious. Or tall. Or short. Nope.
None of those things is the new skinny. Why? Because replacing one “ideal” physical characteristic with another does nothing to solve the problem of body dissatisfaction. I understand the appeal of using “strong” instead of “skinny” to create an ideal, an aspiration. Who doesn’t want to be strong?
Actually, our bodies are already strong. As strong, or stronger than a man’s (childbirth–hello!). But most women’s bodies are not strong in the bench-press-a-million-pounds-rock-hard-abs kinda way. (And most men’s bodies aren’t cut like male models in the mag photos either.)
So, we have traded a demure, fragile, thin ideal of women’s bodies for a traditionally masculine-muscle-y ideal. So what? What’s the big deal?
1) It perpetuates the idea that we have to strive towards a pre-determined ideal, rather than self-acceptance.
No singular physical form encompasses beauty. If strong is the new skinny, what about the soft women? If real women have curves, what about the women without them? If a product has to be “strong enough for a man,” what does that say about our definition of masculinity?
Lauding one type of body over all others inevitably leaves people out; it is purposely exclusive rather than inclusive. But it goes deeper than body image. If a “real woman” must have curves or a product has to be specially made to be “strong enough” for a man, that means there is only one way that a woman—or man—should look and act in order to be attractive, accepted, loved. When we measure ourselves against the ideal and find we fall short, the real message becomes: you are not good enough. And that’s just wrong.
2) The “strong” ideal equates beauty with masculine physical ideals, which only perpetuates the degradation of “feminine” qualities.
Trying to get women to look and act more like what we expect of men is not progress. Imagine the flipside: targeting men with messages like: “Soft is the new strong” “Vulnerability is the new power” “Tears are the new sweat”. Why aren’t we peppered with these types of messages? Because we are trapped in a gender binary that categorizes certain qualities as feminine (compassion, vulnerability, sensitivity) and masculine (strength, power, courage), and it’s the masculine qualities that we tend to idolize. But the truth is, these qualities are not inherently masculine or feminine, because no matter our gender or sex at birth, we are all born with sensitivity AND strength, vulnerability AND courage. And forgetting that is a disservice to us all.
Besides, “strong is the new skinny” is a farce. Look at the women in strong is the new skinny pictures–the skinny is still there. With a thin layer of muscle over it.
“Wellness Wednesday blog posts are written by Student Wellness or Campus Health Services staff members. Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on healthyheels.wordpress.com.”
Pop quiz: Joe weighs 150 lbs. and decides that he wants to start working out in the weight room on a regular basis to gain some muscle mass. Through consistent work at his new routine, Joe gained thirty pounds of muscle! By what percentage did the number of Joe’s muscle cells increase?
Answer: Zero percent! When a person gains muscle mass, the number of muscle cells does not change, but the size of each of those muscle cells increases! How does this work?
As we know from experience, people gain muscle mass and strength by working out the muscles that they are targeting. What is actually happening on a cellular level within each of the muscle cells of the body is the basis for gaining muscle mass, even though we don’t gain more muscle cells. It all starts with trauma to the muscle; that is what exercise does, even healthy amounts of careful exercise cause small amounts of damage to the muscle. This damage activates a different type of cells called “satellite cells” to come to the aid of the damaged muscle cells in efforts to repair them. These satellite cells fuse to the muscle cells and create new strands of protein within the muscle cell, called myofibrils. As this process is happening, it is still only happening in a single muscle cell, but that cell is accumulating more myofibrils and making existing myofibrils larger as they are repaired and this is what causes the muscle to grow in size. The extra muscle fiber can allow creation of more actin and myosin in muscle cells, which are the “contractile myofilaments” that contribute to muscle strength! (1).
Also, as you exercise muscles, the number of capillaries to that muscle increases, which allows more blood flow to that part of the body, and muscle cells develop more mitochondria due to regular exercise. The mitochondria “convert chemical energy into energy the cells can use” (2). The increased amount of both capillaries and mitochondria in the muscle cells also contributes to the increase the size of the overall muscle. A good thing to know if you lift weights regularly is that high repetition sets are good for building up more mitochondria, so while low reps with high weight are also beneficial for increasing muscle size, adding sets of high reps with lower weight will also be good for increasing muscle strength. As with any exercise routine, it’s all about balance and variety. Regularly exercising a muscle also increases the ability of the muscle cells to store glycogen, which is the storage form of energy in the body and can be broken down and used within the muscle to provide energy for working muscle cells when they are exercised (2).
The scientific term for increasing muscle mass is “muscle hypertrophy.” Muscle hypertrophy is affected directly by hormone levels specific to each person’s body, and one main hormone affecting muscle hypertrophy is testosterone. Testosterone “can stimulate growth hormone responses in the pituitary, which enhances cellular amino acid uptake and protein synthesis in skeletal muscle” (2). This is part of the reason that men typically gain muscle mass much more easily than women, because although both men and women have testosterone as a regulatory hormone in their bodies, the levels are much higher in men. Due to differences in other regulatory hormones, at the same BMI, a healthy women will also have a higher level of body fat than men because this is required for normal bodily processes and for women to be able to have children (3).
This is a pretty basic understanding of how muscles grow, but I found it really interesting! I also found this video illustrating the things that were explained above in what I thought was a fun and simple way! But whether you’re trying to bulk up or not, don’t worry about the fact that working out damages your muscle fibers—the repair process is completely normal and necessary and virtually all cells in our bodies need repair on a regular basis. Just make sure to maintain proper form and safety precautions when lifting weights to prevent unnecessary damage to joints and tendons, which are much, much harder to repair!