Posts Tagged 'Exercise'

National Bike Challenge: Accepted

The National Bike Challenge – Town Gown Showdown has been going on since May 1st and there’s still a couple months left to take part! Marquette teamed up with other Milwaukee-area schools and Milwaukee County as a whole to take on this annual cycling competition. Last year Milwaukee took 3rd place with over 169,000 miles from May 1st through September 31st! If you ask me that’s pretty incredible. But I also say that means this year Marquette and Milwaukee will do even better.

I want to see Milwaukee as the #1 biking community. I especially want to see all of Marquette’s employees and retirees out putting on some miles on their bikes. As of week 8, we were sitting at 57,746 miles. Considering the challenge lasts a total of 18 weeks, I think it’s safe to say we’re off to a good start (although behind last year).  We are currently in week 11 and have 7 more to go, so that leaves plenty of time to make sure you log some miles. Whether you are going 1 mile, 10 miles, or 30 miles at a time, it all counts. When you are doing something beneficial for your body, IT ALL COUNTS. So don’t be afraid to get out there and do some biking today.

It’s really easy to take part in the challenge. First, you have to create a Strava account, connect with Marquette’s club and then sync to the National Bike Challenge. For detailed instructions on how to participate, visit our employee wellness page.

After you’re all set up with your Strava account, it’s time to get on your bike. You could go on a grand, solo adventure, or gather up some family members and enjoy a fun afternoon together. There are so many cool places to bike in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. You can find maps of biking trails here along with plenty of other biking resources from bike sharing to safety information.

Now that you’re all set with biking resources and plenty of motivation to get out there and make Milwaukee and Marquette proud, I hope to see you all on the trails.

Alicia Diedrich

Healthy you, happy 4th

Happy 4th of July to everyone! I hope you are all planning to spend some quality time with loved ones today. As we spend today celebrating our independence day, we must keep wellness in mind, just like any other day. It’s a great day to get in some exercise or spend some time cooking a delicious, healthy meal for the holiday. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all day today here in Milwaukee, so make sure to enjoy it!

When it comes to holidays, it’s normally a lot harder to keep ourselves active and well since there always seems to be tons of unhealthy food around and plenty of excuses to put off exercise until later. But I encourage you to instead use those very reasons as motivators to get up, get in some exercise, and take pride in eating something healthy. Do something for the wellness of your mind and body. If you have some extra free time on your hands, that’s exactly why you should do something good for you.

Since you may already be spending time with family and friends, you can easily make it into a fun group activity. If you want to do something fun and active, get in a bike ride or a swim, or pick up a ball and toss it around for a game of catch. If you just want to relax, do some yoga and mindful meditation. You’ll feel more relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards. Cooking or putting together a healthy snack can even be a relaxing activity, and you get to fuel your body with plenty of vitamins and nutrients at the same time. Berries are a healthy, delicious, and easy snack to make into a 4th of July themed appetizer, but there are an endless amount of options for eating something healthy. 

Most of all, it’s good to keep a positive attitude and know that just because it’s a holiday, that’s no reason to forget about taking care of your health and well-being. 

Wishing you a safe and healthy 4th of July!

Alicia Diedrich

What’s “wellness” and how can I get it?

PrintHello to my fellow Golden Eagles! My name is Ben Eccles and I am one of the brand new Wellness Program interns for this school year. I am so excited to get involved with everything our wellness program has to offer, but first let me tell you all a bit about myself.

I have just started my junior year in the college of health sciences studying exercise physiology. I work as a desk receptionist in Carpenter Tower and as a campus tour guide. My hobbies include playing volleyball, soccer and basketball with my friends and trying to teach myself how to cook because I can’t rely on the meal plan anymore.

As interesting as I might seem, that is not the main focus of today’s post. I wanted to share some insight on how I view wellness. Many people (including myself at times) think that they are too busy to eat well, live well and feel well, but I believe a great way to fight this misconception is with knowledge. Allowing yourself to learn is the first step you can take to become the best version of you.

So what does wellness mean? Most people believe wellness is going for a run every day or eating green vegetables with every meal. While those things can nurture a healthy life style, not everyone has the ability or the option to do them. Being asked to define wellness as I am studying to be a wellness professional is something that can’t be done in simple terms.

Wellness, the way I have learned it, has 8 dimensions. Meaning there are 8 different facets of life for us as individuals to be well in. These dimensions are emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. I’m sure that at least half of these are fairly simple to understand in terms of wellness, but what on earth does occupational or intellectual wellness mean? I have provided a list that I found from samhsa.gov of brief definitions for all of these dimensions to give you an idea of what each of them mean.

Emotional Wellness – the ability to effectively cope with life and create meaningful relationships

Financial Wellness – satisfaction with current and future financial situation

Social Wellness – developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system

Spiritual Wellness – expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life

Occupational Wellness – personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work

Physical Wellness – recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep and nutrition

Intellectual Wellness – recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

Environmental Wellness – Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulation environments that support well-being 

That is all I have for today! I will be back soon to expand on these ideas and cover new topics in health and wellness.

 

Ben

Committing to a long and well life

IMG_3164As the summer is wrapping up, I knew that I needed to get some last minute things finished before I have to go back to the world of school. One of those things was visiting my grandparents. So this weekend I road tripped out to the great state of Iowa to hang out on the farm with my grandpa and grandma.

My grandparents live in lovely, little Homestead, Iowa in the Amana Colonies. Its functions in the heart of the Midwest’s corn belt and contributes to Iowa’s beef-producing epicenter. Grandpa has lived on this farm all of his life; I’m not kidding, he was born on this land 79 years ago. He grew up doing the hard labor that farming requires and continues until this day to feed all of his cattle and plow his fields himself. Grandpa is the kind of guy who just enjoys his work. Every year when I see him, though, he jokes about how after this upcoming winter, he’s going to quit farming. “Ok, yeah right, Grandpa,” we always say. This time prompted him to bring up his last visit to his general practitioner.

Grandpa got his bones tested, his blood tested and all of that other stuff to make sure that his body was still working well. At the end of the visit, his doctor asked him if he was really 79 years old. He couldn’t believe that he was as old as his birth certificate suggested; his body only suggested my Grandpa could be 60 years old. The doctor attributed my grandfather’s youthful condition to the daily physical activity that he does.

Most doctors recommend that you should be getting at least one hour of physical activity a day, whether it be going for a walk, playing a sport or doing some yoga. Staying active can keep your body young and working properly, and my grandpa can testify to that. I’m not suggesting that we all become farmers, although we could use the boost in agriculture. I’m recommending that we get up and make wellness a priority instead of shoving it to the side as if it were a luxury.

Being active is as important as sleeping. Without it, none of us are going to last very long. As humans, we have the strength and build to move. If we were meant to sit around and do nothing, we’d be sloths or vegetables.

Now, I’m not a carrot or squash, and I am hoping that you are not either. And my grandpa’s story only reiterates what so many other sources say: GET MOVING. SO before it is too late, start making physical activity a priority and necessity. Because really, it is a necessity. I hope that some day I can tell my grandkids that although I am eighty, I can still do all the fun things someone in their 60’s is doing. I don’t want my body to fall apart on me. The main point of wellness is not only to be well now, but to be well always, for the rest of our lives. So get up and get moving, just like my grandpa has done his whole life. It’s so worth your while that it will add years to your life.

 

Wellbeing Biographies: Sarah Schlaefke

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Photo by Nolan Bollier

Recently the news contains headlines that are riddled with devastating events. Dark and dismal happenings like shootings, bombings and corruption cover our TV screens, newspapers and social media feeds. I don’t know about you, but I could use a pick-me-up. Here’s my shot at adding a little positivity to your daily news intake.

As a wellness website, I feel that it is important to recognize, celebrate and encourage the sharing of our own healthy lifestyles as well as the lifestyles of those around us. Through Marquette Employee Wellness, I would like to start a little collection of stories amongst our campus of the positive changes, successes and even valiant efforts put forth by our community. This is an opportunity to share with those around us what we have been working on, not to boast and not to be ragged on for it, but to set forth positive examples and inspire each other to take on wellness for ourselves. We are, however, Marquette, and we do, in fact, make quite a difference, even in our own lives.

So to start us off, I’ll let you in on a little more about me.

A year ago, I could not have told you that I would be writing anything even remotely near to “wellness.” I did not really know what it meant to be well. I was struggling with some heavy depression, a not-so-healthy relationship and just an all-over raincloud on the outlook of my life. After a while, and after I had given up on the hopes of being happy, something changed.

I woke up one day feeling like I deserved it, which is true – we all do. I deserved to be happy. I could make that my reality, too. I just had to go at it headfirst. From that moment, I cannot think of a single regret.

I tossed my garbage relationship out the window. I started doing things that I wanted to do again, not things that I thought were out of the way and approved of by everyone else. I quit the job that made me unhappy. I took up rock climbing and full-fledged strength training. I cared more about what I ate, telling myself that my body deserves to be fueled correctly, so that I could go and accomplish the great things I wanted to accomplish.

Yes, I still had a handful of people doubting me, telling me “no,” or putting me down. I actually just decided that life is too short to care what they think. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end I realized that at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, so taking care of myself and my wellbeing became very important.

Today I am part of an amazing relationship with a man who makes me really happy and is pretty much my best friend/default adventure buddy. I am extremely excited to start up classes again this semester; I am very much looking forward to working with the teachers I  have. I also just recently began writing freelance articles with OnMilwaukee, one of my journalistic dreams come true. I have been slowly seeing progress in my climbing, which I have been using as inspiration to making new media featuring nature and the outdoorsy lifestyle. My faith is strong. My relationship with my family is full of smiles and laugher. And I am just about done with all of the anxiety and depression treatment that I started when all I could see is dark blue. All in all, I don’t think I could say I have ever been happier than I am right now. I am proud of my wellness and that is why I am here. I am aching to inspire others to take hold of life and just go for it, go for the happiness. And I know I am not the only one.

Here’s the good part. Since I can’t be alone on this wellness adventure, I want to hear from you about the successes, goals and healthy habits that have made you a better person. Your story does not need to be long, and it doesn’t need to be perfect (that’s why I have copy editing experience, don’t you worry). But I do want to hear it.

It is important to support each other in our journeys to wellness. This is why I feel this little project is essential. I hope that you will reach out to me with a story. We are not alone this planet for a reason. Let’s work together on being the difference in each of our lives.

Wellbeing Biography stories can be submitted to me, Sarah Schlaefke, at sarah(dot)schlaefke(@)gmail(dot)com. I will edit them up and let you know when they will be posted! Please feel free to include a photo, too, because the Internet loves pictures.

Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you all soon. Stay healthy, my friends.

The tense topic of stretching

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Photo via breakingmuscle.com

I would consider myself a pretty active person. I am a kickboxing trainer, I bike, I play volleyball, I rock climb, I kayak. You name it, I have probably done it if it is an active sport. My biggest problem is that these are all get-up-and-go activities. If you’re also involved in active sports like these, then you might know what I go through every time it is suggested that I stretch before I start.

Ah, stretching. The most seemingly unnecessary waste of time holding you back from getting your groove on. What we really fail to see sometimes, though, is that stretching is the key to physical progress and being physically capable to do all these active activities that we love.

I’ve heard it time and time again, “Oh no, I don’t need to stretch. I never get hurt. I’ll be fine,” Alright, you may be fine now, but 20 years from now, your body might not feel the same way.

What happens when we don’t stretch? Well, at first, nothing. We get to go along with our workouts carefree and quickly, unworried about injury. We’ll see progress and get stronger or better. But one day, we’ll be sitting at our desk in the office and end over to grab that paperclip that just slipped off the desk when suddenly a shooting pain stings your lower back. Could blame it on age, could blame it on just twisting it funny, but these painful muscle pulls and tears can be prevented. How? Stretching.

Imagine your body as a rubber band. When you work out, your rubber-band-body is strung tightly around a stack of notecards, tensing to keep them together. If you were to leave that rubber band wrapped around that pile of paper, eventually the rubber would become brittle and snap. This works the same way with the muscles in your body. If you continue to exert force with your muscles for long periods of time without proper stretching, then your muscles, too, will become brittle and stiff, causing injuries.

I don’t know about you, but I really dislike being injured – even more than I dislike sitting around stretching and waiting to do something active that I love. It is important, though, to get those muscles nice and loose before I get my head in the game. By stretching, I am allowing myself the opportunity to workout to the best of my ability and giving my body what it needs to help me do what I want to do. Yes, stretching can be hard and boring, but instead of sitting there and thinking, “Gosh, I’m so tight,” or “Ugh, this is such a drag,” tell yourself that you are respecting your body and taking good care of it by stretching.

Stretching will definitely be a staple in my workouts from here on out. I want to take care of my body so that I can do all the sports and crazy activities that I love to do. Taking the extra time to loosen up your muscles will keep you going. Believe me, I think it is worth the time investment.

Hydration Station: tips on how to drink enough water

water-image1We hear it all the time. “Maybe you should be drinking more water.” “You should be drinking at least eight glasses of water everyday.” “Stay hydrated.” We are advised to make water a bigger part of our lives but how many of us are actually drinking enough water?

Water has unbelievable health benefits. Not only is it used for just about every internal bodily function in the human body, but it can also keep our skin clearer and our muscles stronger. So why is it so difficult to drink enough of this life-giving liquid?

I have had this problem in the past, too. I’ve tried it all – setting alarms  on my phone to remind me to drink more water, carrying around the biggest water bottle that I would possibly find, rewarding myself with a Reese’s every time I emptied a glass of water. None of those methods stuck. Trial and error, though, my friend. So here are a few hydration tricks that have worked for me.

First off, I bring my water bottle with me everywhere I go. Yes, it can be obnoxious at times to hold on to and can add some weight to my bag at times, but I have its physical presence constantly reminding me to take a sip of water here and there. The more I drink, too, the less weight I have to carry around.

Another thing that I have found makes me drink more water is having a water bottle with a straw in the cap. When I am sitting in front of my computer, typing away to you people, I can drink through my straw usually without even noticing. This has created an awesome habit of subconsciously drinking water and has also gotten rid of my bad boredom-eating habit!

Speaking of eating, you can also get more water by eating lots of fruits and veggies. Just like us humans, fruits and veggies are also mainly comprised of water. This means that a handful of grapes, a few stalks of celery and an apple could also help you stay hydrated.

Lastly, I sometimes get sick of water. In order to switch things up, I add some drops of Mio water flavor or Dasani drops. These tasty little drops work like food coloring – all it takes is one or two drops to completely change plain water into lemonade or fruit punch. These help me avoid sugar-packed sodas or juices.

Have more ideas on how to drink enough water everyday? Feel free to share by commenting on this post or hitting us up on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!


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