Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So I took my first Pilates class today, and to my surprise it was actually quite challenging!  I surmised it would be like yoga, but it actually wasn't quite as similar as I had imagined.  However, it is definitely a good core work-out and seems to work the muscles in your body that you aren't used to strengthening.  I guess I'll see if I feel anything from it tomorrow, and as of now I feel great!  
From the advice of my doctor since I got mono a couple months ago, I am STILL laying off the running, which let me tell you, is VERY hard for me.  Prior to mono, I was running an average of four miles every two to three days.  I love and miss running, but soon enough I'll be back on my feet.  In the meantime, I'm doing a lot of yoga and getting to try some new things, like Pilates!

So I've just experienced my first real (as in substantial) snow in Philadelphia!  Not quite my soft, white predilection, but still a reminder of winter's wonders.  Although, I wish Philadelphia had some hills.  Sledding would be great right now!  I did enjoy a nice bowl of soup and a cup of tea while listening to some music earlier, warming me up among this wintery weather.  I'll leave this with one of my favorites, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a live video of their Snow (Hey O), fitting right?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Beware of drunk: mix cranberry, not Red Bull, with vodka

 by Grace Dickinson   

In 2006, more than 500 new energy drink products hit shelves worldwide.  People are choosing these drinks as pick-me-ups and also mixing them with alcohol.

“People come in here and order alcohol mixed with energy drinks too often to count,” said Pete Borgmann, a bartender from Maxi’s.

College students are major contributors toward this rising trend.

“I never drink energy drinks unless they are mixed with alcohol,” senior mechanical engineering major Austin Diaz said.

Diaz said he mixes energy drinks with alcohol because of the taste and the extra buzz the combination causes.  However, he said he has never been informed of the risks this combination may pose.

Diaz and many other students who make or order these drinks are unaware of the health risks caused by mixing the two beverages. Energy drinks contain stimulants, including caffeine, ginseng and taurine, an amino acid, which poses a problem when mixed with alcohol, a depressant. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, caffeine increases heart rates and blood pressure, which can cause heart palpitations.  When mixed with alcohol, the risk of heart problems is amplified. 

Also, both alcohol and energy drinks contribute to dehydration, which can prevent the body from efficiently metabolizing the alcohol, increasing its toxicity and causing a hangover.

The stimulants in energy drinks often disguise how intoxicated an individual feels and prevent the recognition of how much alcohol has been consumed.  Fatigue, one warning sign that tells the body it has had enough to drink, is masked by caffeine and other stimulants.

Borgmann said he was never informed of any of these risks during his training in becoming a bartender. 
Energy drink companies, including Red Bull, fail to place warnings of the risks of combining alcohol and stimulants on their packaging.  Students, bartenders and others are left unaware as they mix their Friday night cocktails.

Whether this trend will stick around or not has yet to be seen.

“I think this is just a fad that will fade and is primarily a concern because it is part of the bigger issue of underage and/or excessive drinking,” said Paul Lyons, an associate professor of family and community medicine. 

Students should be cautious when mixing energy drinks and alcohol. Consumers need to be aware of the negative effects from the mixture. Better yet, avoiding this combination altogether can help save someone from alcohol poisoning or a looming hangover the day after drinking.

Yoga heals both mind and body

 by Grace Dickinson   

Many students overlook the yoga classes at the IBC Student Recreation Center because they believe yoga is not enough of a vigorous workout.

Kara Koser, a freshman journalism major, goes to the gym often. She has heard people find yoga to be beneficial. However, she does not think it is an efficient exercise.

“I like to sweat and get dirty and feel it the next day,” Koser said. “Yoga doesn’t do that for me.”

Aimee Glocke, an adjunct professor of African-American studies and an IBC yoga instructor, said yoga is beneficial to anyone, including athletes.

“Yoga helps athletes because it complements their other training, as well as rejuvenates their body after all the beat-your-body-up forms of exercise they must endure,” she said.

Yoga poses are designed to build strength, increase flexibility, improve balance and develop focus and control.

Glocke’s favorite pose, the plank, works the upper body and the abs, while allowing smooth and even breathing. She stresses the idea “less can actually be more.”

“The difference between yoga and other athletic practices is you don’t have to do a lot of movement to still feel the benefits,” Glocke said. “Yoga can still make you work and feel its effects without having to run up and down a basketball court.”

Jordan Calwell, a junior kinesiology major and member of Temple’s track team, said yoga is a good counterbalance to his regular track workouts.

“The flexibility involved with yoga would be good cross training,” Calwell said.

There are hundreds of poses in yoga that range in all levels of difficulty to fit any and all needs.

Because yoga develops muscles that cannot be targeted through weight-training alone, athletes find it to be a good cross-training exercise.

The practice of yoga includes meditation as well as breathing exercises. When done correctly, these can help calm the body and mind. Whether a competitor or not, breathing has a tremendous impact on performance.

“The breathing practices of yoga will help athletes overall endurance and will help to allow their [breathing] to stay relaxed even when engaged in competition,” said Marie Pierre, also an IBC yoga instructor.

Glocke said the practice of yoga also helps to establish inner peace during difficult times in a person’s life.

“Yoga allows you to take peace to the real world,” she said. “In a world full of chaos and disarray, it allows you to find a sense of peace within yourself and what you’re doing.”

Yoga can help to decrease the anxiety that exists right before an upcoming football game or race, and it will keep the mind focused and concentrated.

“Meditation can relieve athletes’ stress, help clear their thoughts and allow them to center their mind and focus on their specific target, instead of a million other things at once,” Pierre said.

Glocke considers the class she teaches on Thursday nights to be an intermediate level class, but she and Pierre both offer variations on the poses they teach. The variations allow participants to decrease the level of difficulty if they find they are struggling or increase the intensity if they want more of a challenge.

Glocke tries to make the class a challenging workout because of the “yoga for fitness” attitudes she notices in many of the participants.

Aside from keeping a person physically fit, she said yoga can also help to improve character.

“Yoga brings attitude changes and makes people less hot-tempered and quick to judge,” Glocke said. “[These are] aspects that are beneficial to anyone.”


First Post

So I'm just beginning to embark on the construction of this blog.  It will include two of my biggest passions, fitness and fresh-air, as well as an electic variety of topics falling under the category of miscellaneous fun, in which I think anyone could relate.  I will be including articles I have written for my school newspaper and some of my own photography, along with interesting clips, photos, etc. executed by others.

Fresh air, blue skies, open air....gotta love my away from college home