Blog Archives

Student-Athletes and Alcohol Use

Student-athletes may be under more pressure than just the average college student.  Student-athletes are expected to perform well in the classroom, and to perform for their coaches and teammates when it’s game time. Unfortunately, for some student-athletes, this stress is not always handled in the right way. Research shows that athletes tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol that their teammates and friends consume (Martens, Page, Mowry, Dmann, Taylor, & Cimini, 2006). It is proven that athletes often have larger groups of friends than non-athletes which may account for part of the misconception, but it also puts athletes at greater risk for binge drinking behavior (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). College athletes report a higher rate of binge drinking (57%) than their non-athlete counterparts (48%) (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000).

Consuming 5 or more drinks in one night can affect the brain and body for up to 3 days after consumption, interfering with the athlete’s ability to learn new plays and strategies.  Athletes’ use of alcohol has no direct benefit to their body or training because the high calories in alcohol cannot be converted into energy for the body (Firth & Manzo, 2004). So when athletes of any kind are feeling stressed with school, practice, traveling, and competition, they shouldn’t turn to alcohol as a way to relax. It only will put you more behind.


Dimension: Physical
Activity: Workout
Monday, February 18th

This activity was normally supposed to be completed on President’s Day, the day there was no class, but even if we would have had class it would have been cancelled. This was the day of one of the huge storms we have had in ND, but that wasn’t about to stop me from working out; however, the Wellness Center had to close. Since the Wellness Center was closed, I was able to complete this challenge the next day. I normally lift weights with a friend every morning at about 6:45am, but that day I told her that we were going to use the new Circuit Deck instead. Neither of us had used the Circuit Deck yet so we were really curious about it. Early in the morning is a great time to work out, I recommend it because no one is there. My friend and I had the Circuit deck completely to ourselves, so that was really nice. I have only done an ab circuit once before when I worked out with a friend at Planet Fitness, but I have never done a full body circuit like this one. I definitely liked it alot because it kept you moving. One of my biggest problems is that I take too long of a time resting between different exercises and then I end up spending too long of a time at the gym. Sometimes I have to skip some of the exercises I want to do just because I don’t have enough time. The new Circuit Deck gets rid of the problem with the timer it has. I also like this new Circuit Deck because it gives people a different place to do weights, but in a more secluded area.

Get IN, get OUT, & get on your way!

Circuit Deck EntranceIts finally time! We are nearing completion of the new Wellness Center Circuit Deck and it is set to be open on Tuesday January 15th at 4:30 PM!  Seeing the transition from the lounge space that it was to now a functional 30 minute strength training circuit workout has been amazing. The space features 10 new pieces of strength equipment, a red & green timing light, new flooring, walls, a few pieces of cardio equipment and eventually a video running showing how each machine works.  It was created to give people a quick 30 minute workout with some privacy as well.
Circuit Deck MachinesHow the circuit will work is – you can join in at any time – when the light is red just grab an empty machine and adjust it to fit you. When the light turns green you will perform the exercise that the machine is designed for which will run for 1 minute. When the light turns red, you will have 30 seconds to move to the next machine in the rotation and repeat the process moving through each machine – using them each 2-3 times. Fitness staff will be available 3-8pm in the first few weeks to help those who might need a little guidance with how to operate the circuit. This will give you a quick, easy 30 minute workout – so you can get IN, get OUT, and get on your way!

Maintain, Don’t Gain this holiday season!

Maintain Don’t Gain this holiday season!

Healthy UND Challenge

Healthy UND Challenge

Most Americans gain around a pound of weight every year during the holidays, which doesn’t seem like much, but studies show that the one pound gained during this time of year isn’t lost throughout the rest of the year.  Overtime, the yearly one pound addition to body weight can have some serious effects on our health- hypertension, diabetes, etc.  Maintain Don’t Gain is an awareness project, hopefully getting people to think about the decisions they make during this time of year, specifically about what they eat and their activity levels.  It’s easier to prevent weight gain than it is to lose the pounds later.

No Wellness Center-No Problem

Exercise should still be considered a priority.  Not only is it important to maintain activity levels but it can also help deal with any stress that goes along with the holidays.  If you keep active over the break it will be easier to get back into your normal routine once you return.

Shoveling snow, outdoor winter activities, indoor body weight workouts

Winter Running/Walking Tips:

  1. Wear multiple layers, with the first layer being a synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which will helps wick away sweat/moisture.  Stay away from cotton because it holds in moisture and will keep you wet.
  2. Protect your hands and feet with gloves and thick socks.
  3. Cover your head.  About 40% of your body heat is lost from your head, and wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body.
  4. Start your run into the wind, than it will be at your back at the end of the workout, when you’re sweaty.
  5.  If the temperature is at or below zero, stick with an indoor activity.


Holiday Meal Time

Think small.  Enjoy the food, but keep the portions under control.

Take breaks.  Try not to rush through your whole plate of food, so you can better gauge when you’re full.  It can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to signal the brain that it’s full.

Be mindful of alcohol intake.  Alcohol contains useless calories that change your blood sugar levels and, in the short term, can increase hunger levels and cause unnecessary snacking.

Why It’s Important to Track Your Activities                        

Keeps you honest.

You can see results and progress-good and bad.

Keep track of activities you enjoy or don’t enjoy.

To get registered for the challenge – head to the Healthy UND webpage , stop by the Fitness Desk at the Wellness Center or the Healthy & Wellness Hub in the Union!  Stay on track this holiday season!

Keep your holidays healthy!

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, but also have a great meal with your family and friends.  Even though you may be tempted by some delicious dishes, it’s still important to keep your health in mind.  Try to use the “plate method” when dishing up your Thanksgiving meal.  This means fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth of your plate with lean protein, and the last fourth with whole grains. 

This can be done at Thanksgiving dinner!  Luckily, many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods fit into these categories:

Fruits and vegetables (fill half of your plate):
-Sweet Potatoes
-Green Bean casserole
-Side Salad
-Cooked vegetables

Lean Protein (limit to one-fourth of your plate):

Grains (and starchy vegetables) (limit to one-fourth of your plate):
-Mashed potatoes
-Whole wheat dinner roll

And Thanksgiving dinner isn’t Thanksgiving without some dessert right?  It’s alright to indulge every once in a while, but do limit yourself to only one piece of pie, cookie or bar; and keep your portion size in check!


While you won’t be able to work off everything you ate, you can combat holiday weight gain by taking in a walk with your family before or after those big meals, playing a game of touch football, freeze tag, going ice skating, or building a snowman with your family.

Get as much of your family involved as you can to make it an enjoyable and healthy family get together.


Riding with Paul Bunyan

This past weekend, I decided I wanted to get outdoors or go for a bike ride or something.  I wanted to get out of the Grand Forks area, but I also didn’t want to drive 6 hours.  I wanted a day trip.  So after looking at some brochures that I got when I first moved to Grand Forks, I found just what I was looking for, the Paul Bunyan State Trail!

The trail itself is a classic Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project, where old railroad beds are converted into biking and walking trails that can span for miles and miles.  The Paul Bunyan Trail’s first segment opened back in 1988 starting in Brainerd, MN, but recently in 2011 a segment was completed to connect Bemidji State Park to the trail.  That is a total of 112 miles of trails and once completed it should be 120 miles AND connect to the Blue Ox Trail (of course Paul Bunyan would connect to the Blue Ox) that goes all way up to Canada!

So late Friday night I got all of my equipment and food together and prepared to leave early Saturday morning for Bemidji.  After waking up and getting on the road by 7:15am, I was on my way to ride with Paul Bunyan.  The drive was 2 hours (give or take), which may sound like a long drive, but it went surprisingly quick and it was nice to go through some small towns and seen of the neat prairie landscapes that the western part of Minnesota has to offer.  Once I got to Bemidji, I was able to find trail parking fairly easily with the directions I printed out and after changing into my biking gear I was all set to take on the trail.

The plan was to bike from Bemidji to Walker and back.  Unfortunately, I started in the wrong direction, but once I found a map and got on the right trail it was smooth sailing.

The trail is completely paved, so it is great for any type of non-motorized transportation.  I saw people using road bikes, mountain bikes, recreational cruiser bikes, inline skates, and some just walked or ran.  Truly, anyone could use this trail.

As I biked, I got to see the damage from the recent wind storm that passed through the area and noticed a lot of sticks and a few bigger branches on the path, but almost all of the big stuff had been removed so there was no need to get off the bike to climb over a downed tree, except once.  As I pedaled, I went through lush wooded areas of pine trees and even got to see a deer bound across the path in front of me, but I also got great views of lakes, prairie, and quaint little towns along the way.  One town, Laporte, was even setting up for their 4th of July Celebration with a parade through the main street.  There were locals selling crafts and families getting the best viewing spots for the kids.  All in all a neat little town.

So I finally made it to Walker after 30 miles and started back to my car.  As I went along I decided to take it slow and really soak up being out in nature.  I made frequent stops on the way back to take some pictures (or because I was tired, I forgot the exact reason). 

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Once back to my car, I realized that I was tired, but also energized.  I had just traveled 60+ miles by bike through some of Minnesota’s most beautiful state parks and forests and got to see deer, snakes, lakes, and trees the entire way.  I felt truly revitalized.

Even as I drove the 2 hours back to Grand Forks, I thought to myself that people need to be out in nature even if just for a little while.  It allows us gain the balance that many of us are searching for in our life.

So get outside, take a walk in the woods or hike through a prairie.  Go check out Turtle River State Park a mere 30 minutes away from Grand Forks or watch birds at Kelly’s Slough National Wildlife Preserve, which is even closer or ride the Paul Bunyan State Trail.  Regardless of where you go, I am sure you will return energized from the experience and as always be prepared, be safe, and be a good steward out in nature.


Dimension: Physical
Activity: Attend lap swimming at the Hyslop
Friday, February 10th 11:00 a.m.

The activity was to go to lap swimming at the Hyslop between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  During my freshman year, I remember going to the Hyslop during open swim at nights as a way to stay in shape and for something to do.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to get back into swimming.  I had a break between 11 and noon so I thought this would be a great time to go.  I started out strong, but soon remembered how hard/tiring swimming is.  I swam for about 20 minutes and I was dead.  The best part about being done after swimming was going into the sauna.  It felt amazing after the swim.  I think I will start to swim during open swim/lap swimming more now that I know it is available during the lunch hour and at night.

UND’s Health & Wellness 7 Dimensions of Wellness

Dimension: Physical


One of the challenges for today was to visit the UND Wellness Center and do 30 minutes of cardio activity such as: Walk the track, use the cardio equipment, or play pick-up ball with a friend. First of all I want to say that I LOVE WORKING OUT! Doing something for my physical wellness is not something new to me. I am from a small town in ND, but we do have a gym so over the summer I pay for the three months and workout about 5-6 times a week. Sometimes I switch it up and work out outside. Anyways, when I was at the Wellness Center I ran two miles on the treadmill and then went downstairs to lift weights, in which I worked on my legs and abs. At the end of my work out I felt great and rejuvenated. The next day I was definitely a little sore. I don’t know how some people can go their whole lives without doing some type of workout. It just makes you feel so much better.

makin’ a list

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? It’s always “cute,” in theory:
You reflect over all of the things that you need to improve, change, or “fix” about yourself and contemplate solutions. When January 1 rolls around (or maybe 2), you hit the ground RUNNING.

Suddenly the gym becomes a priority,
you add a few more fruits and vegetables to your plate,
you hit the sheets an extra hour earlier,
you trade your cup of coffee for a glass of water,
you start wearing your seatbelt,
you find time to try a new hobby or sharpen your skills of a previous one,
you start cooking more meals…

and about a week later it all stops. Game over.

It takes, on average, about 3 weeks to either break a habit or form a new one. But most of us don’t have 3 weeks, we have RIGHT NOW.
Am I right?

For however many decades you’ve tried this hit-your-head-against-the-wall method, it hasn’t worked so well. Why not take a new approach?

This year, we’re not going to look at the big pictures.
We’re starting today. And we’re working on today.
That’s it.
Not next month, not 10 pounds, not 3 dress sizes.

Here’s what I suggest you try:

  1. Take a piece of paper. (Preferably something that’s pretty or eye-catching… but that’s just me.) And save room for “incentives.”
  2. On the top of the page, write down ONE goal, one thing that you are going to do today that positively aligns with a healthy eating choice you’d like to work on. (i.e. I will eat 1/2 cup vegetables with every meal or measure my food into correct serving sizes.)
  3. In the middle of the page, write why you are doing these “things.” And I don’t mean something ridiculous like, “To finally be a size 2.” Think of something like “To be an example for my family/friends.” “Because I care about my health.” “I want to feel better.”
  4. On the bottom of the page, write down ONE thing that you are going to do today/this week that positively aligns with some form of physical activity. (i.e. I will spend 30 minutes at the gym 3 times this week or I will lift weights one extra time this week or I will try a new exercise class this week.)
  5. Work on each of those “things” TODAY. Don’t think about tomorrow (unless you need to mindfully plan when you are going to hit your 3 gym sessions in advance).
  6. WHEN (notice, I did not say “if”) you reach your goal, give yourself a cool sticker. (No laughing; it works!)

Now, for the next month you are ONLY held accountable for these two things. When the new month hits, put up 2 new “things” you’re going to add/switch in your lifestyle.

It’s a little less stressful and unapproachable when you think in baby steps instead of leaps.

It took me 2 years total to lose over 100 pounds, and over 10 years later, I’m still trying to figure things out. We are all a work in progress.
Just keep moving forward. 

And if you have an “off” day, forgive yourself immediately and be ready to get right back at it the next day. You’re worth every effort.
Just keep moving forward.
Two little things at a time.

Don’t forget your skis and skates!

The annual Ski UND/Late Night Skate event is approaching fast, beginning in the New Year

Every year the University of North Dakota holds the Ski UND/Late Night Skate program for students, faculty, and staff throughout the campus. The two events are approaching fast, beginning mid-January.

Ski UND kicks off with the “Ski with the Kelley’s” event on January 14 and will go every weekend until March 9 or when the snow melts. Late Night Skate will start January 13 and will go every weekend until the ice melts. There will also be an outdoor hockey tournament taking place on January 20-21. Anyone can sign up for the tournament, but there will be a maximum of 16 teams, each competing 4 v 4 on the ice.

Most importantly, don’t forget your gear! This is a good time to remind everyone going home for the holidays to bring their skis and skates back to UND before the spring semester begins again in early January.

Ski UND and Late Night Skate are sponsored by UND Student Government, Wellness Center, UND Alumni Association, SWAC, Ski & Bike Shop, UND Facilities, Night Life @ UND, Grand Forks Park District, and Hockey World.


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