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Health and Fitness Club hosts first event of semester

By Danielle Gross
On November 21, 2011

This past Friday kicked off the first event for the Brandeis University Health and Fitness Club. The event, which took place in the Shapiro Campus Center Multipurpose Room, featured speakers on four different key themes: stress, nutrition, sleep and fitness.

The first speaker at the event was Sarah Lupis, a third-year Brandeis Ph.D. candidate. Lupis discussed stress and health and her studies from the Brandeis Health Psychology Lab, located in Schwartz Hall. She started off by explaining the different types of stress—chronic and acute—and how they affect the human body. Lupis listed a few ways to detect stress and how to avoid that stress: think positively, avoid controllable stressors, learn to prioritize, talk to someone about it and reward oneself or ask for help. She also provided a few tips on what to do if one becomes stressed and needs to calm down: go to the gym and work out, get a massage, eat well, sleep well, relax with meditation or deep breathing or ask for help.

Lupis also noted that one of the best ways that people deal with stress is by relying on social support. She said that women tend to use this method much more than men, by simply opening up to someone about how they are feeling.

Laura O'Gara, R.D., LDN and the University nutritionist, was the next speaker at the event. O'Gara started off her section of the event by discussing My Plate, the new model from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace the long-standing food pyramid. My Plate is a picture of a plate broken down in a pie graph form to show consumers what percent of their plate should be allotted to fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy and grains. The picture shows that 50 percent of a plate should be fruits and/or vegetables, but O'Gara said that it is important to know that just eating vegetables and fruits is not enough; this will not keep someone full and then snacking is inevitable. She also discussed that the body's preferred fuel is carbohydrates, and that women should eat four to six ounces of protein a day, while men should consume six to eight ounces.

O'Gara identified the common pitfalls of university students in their missions to eat healthy. She said the largest mistakes that college students make are starting meals late and ending late, eating unbalanced meals, forgetting to eat healthy fats and partaking in mindless munching. Finally, O'Gara listed three key solutions for keeping nutritious habits while at college which included keeping studying and snacking separate, maintaining a meal schedule and making a five-item snack menu. O'Gara explained that this means to keep a variety of five snacks in your room in order to prevent snacking on unhealthy foods, such as candy.

Anushka Aqil '12 lectured on sleeping habits. She works in a lab at Brandeis identifying how sleep effects one's learning patterns. She said right now her results show that without sleep, learning decreases. According to Aqil, it is essential for each person to become familiar with his or her sleep pattern. Everybody needs sleep in different amounts, she said, so she recommended that people learn their own sleeping patterns. She also added that power naps are beneficial but do not substitute for a good night's sleep.

The final speaker, Ruben Kanya '14, spoke about fitness. He is a personal trainer and said that in his workouts with clients, he always remembers to embody mind, body and spirit. He said the most important things in a workout are to set personal goals, be optimistic, set oneself up to gradually improve and learn. He discussed how powering through a workout, even when in pain, will actually help in the long run because performance will boost the body's production of endorphins, or natural painkillers.

BUHF Club President Brandon Frank '14 spoke about the club and its intentions and goals on campus in an interview with the Justice. Frank noted that the club was formed the very last week of the semester in spring 2011. The idea for the club came from Frank and his personal experiences in terms of health at Brandeis. He discussed how coming to Brandeis and settling in was a huge adjustment from how he had hoped to live out his life here in terms of sleeping, eating, doing daily workouts and dealing with all of the schoolwork. "As a club, we just want to give people as many options and resources as we can for them live healthy lifestyles on campus, and we also want to encourage good habits," Frank said, adding that there are more event plans in progress.

Julia Mullokandova '15 attended the event in hopes of learning more about nutrition and how she should be eating now that she is at college. "Being at Brandeis, my whole schedule is really being thrown off in terms of when I eat and how much sleep I end up getting. This event was really helpful to me especially because I am a freshman and am getting adjusted to school."


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