New Year – New Schedule – New Workouts!

We thank the Butler University Health and Recreation staff for this contribution to the Healthy Horizons blog posts!

January and the New Year means a fresh new start for many. Have you been thinking about exercising again but feel the variety of workouts and information out there is overwhelming? Well, good news! We’ve created an easy to follow physical activity calendar for the month of January. Making small, manageable changes each day is a great way to get back into your grove. Are you ready to take the January physical activity challenge? If so, download the calendar below.

HRC Spring Group Fitness Schedule:

Be sure to click on the links provided in the calendar for workouts.

Workout examples and resources:

Cardio: brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, dancing, jump roping

Legs: squats, leg raises, wall sits, kick backs. Find examples here:


Mindfulness Exercises

See how mindfulness helps you live in the moment.

Image result for mindfulness

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you’ve heard of or read about mindfulness — a form of meditation — you might be curious about how to practice it. Find out how to do mindfulness exercises and how they might benefit you.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment — without interpretation or judgment.

Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.

 What are the benefits of mindfulness exercises?
Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including:
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Less negative thinking and distraction
  • Improved mood

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. For example:

  • Pay attention. The next time you meet someone, listen closely to his or her words. Think about their meaning and uniqueness. Aim to develop a habit of understanding others and delaying your own judgments and criticisms.
  • Make the familiar new again. Find a few small, familiar objects — such as a toothbrush, apple or cellphone — in your home or office. Look at the objects with fresh eyes. Identify one new detail about each object that you didn’t see before. As you become more aware of your world, you might become fonder of the things around you.
  • Focus on your breathing. Sit in a quiet place with your back straight, but relaxed. Feel your breath move in and out of your body. Let your awareness of everything else fall away. Pay attention to your nostrils as air passes in and out. Notice the way your abdomen expands and collapses with each breath. When your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention to your breath. Don’t judge yourself. Remember that you’re not trying to become anything — such as a good meditator. You’re simply becoming aware of what’s happening around you, breath by breath.
  • Awaken your senses. Get a raisin. Sit in a quiet place with your back straight, but relaxed. Look at the raisin. Smell it, feel it and anticipate eating it. Taste the raisin, and slowly and deliberately chew it. Notice the way the raisin’s taste changes, your impulse to swallow the raisin, your response to that impulse and any thoughts or emotions that arise along the way. Paying close attention to your senses and your body’s reaction to the raisin might reveal insight into your relationship with eating and food.

Healthy Eating Style

There is more than one way to eat healthfully and everyone has their own eating style. Make healthier choices that reflect your preferences, culture, traditions, and budget. Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods to get the most nutrition and meet your personal calorie needs. Aim for a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and limit saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

Everything You Eat and Drink Matters — Focus on Variety, Amount, and Nutrition

What and how much you eat and drink, along with regular physical activity, can help you manage your weight and lower your risk of disease.

Choose Foods and Beverages with Less Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars

The saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars found in foods and beverages are important for you to think about as you build your healthy eating style. Saturated fat and sodium are sometimes found naturally in foods and beverages. Sugars, sodium, and ingredients high in saturated fat can also be added during processing or preparing foods and beverages.

Start with Small Changes

Create an eating style that can improve your health now and in the future by making small changes over time. Consider changes that reflect your personal preferences, culture and traditions. Think of each change as a “win” as you build positive habits and find solutions that reflect your healthy eating style. Each change is a MyWin that can help you build your healthy eating style. Use the tips and links below to find little victories that work for you.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Health


As temperatures drop in the winter, weather-related health problems start to rise. “The cold weather brings a number of risks, especially for older adults,” says geriatrician Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Here are some of the ways you may be vulnerable this winter, and how to fight back.

At risk: Immune system

During winter months, people spend more time inside and in close contact with each other, such as in stores, malls, and restaurants. This means that the flu, coughs, and colds are more easily spread.

What you can do: “Get a flu shot, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands,” says Dr. Salamon.

At risk: Heart

Cold weather acts as a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows blood vessels. This raises the risk of heart attack.

What you can do: Dress warmly when going out, with a hat, gloves, and a warm coat. Don’t do any strenuous activity outdoors that may stress your heart, such as shoveling snow.

At risk: Balance

Icy sidewalks can make falling easier, putting you at risk for fractures.

What you can do: Avoid slippery surfaces if possible. Wear shoes or boots with heavily textured soles that can grip surfaces. Use handrails, even if you feel you don’t need one.

At risk: Skin

Dry winter air can suck the moisture from your skin.

What you can do: Use a moisturizer with an oil base to block evaporation. Shower in lukewarm—not hot—water. Use a humidifier to replenish moisture to the skin’s top layer.

At risk: Body temperature

Older adults are at risk for hypothermia, in which the body’s internal temperature falls too low. “Even prolonged exposure to mild cold can cause it,” says Dr. Salamon.

What you can do: Bundle up if you’re going outside, and be aware of signs that your body isn’t handling the cold well, such as stiffness in the neck, arms, and legs. Call 911 if you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from hypothermia.

Water: How Much is Enough?

Water recommendations

While the eight glasses rule is a good start, it isn’t based on solid, well-researched information. Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water. Every system in your body needs water to function. Your recommended intake is based on factors including your sex, age, activity level, and others, such as if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.


The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. This is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables.

Of this total, men should drink around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it’s 9 cups.

For more information:

Add Indoor Activity

Bye-Bye, Couch Potato!

If the winter weather prevents you from getting outside, don’t just reach for the remote. Make your time inside count. There are many ways to get physical activity indoors—no gym required. Hand weights or resistance bands are a great addition, but not necessary. You can also wear a heavy backpack to add intensity to your workout.

Try these indoor activities:

  • Home workout circuit
  • Dancing
  • Active housework like vacuuming and sweeping
  • Mall walking
  • Bowling
  • Roller skating
  • Yoga or other fun group classes at your local gym, studio, or community center
  • Stair climbing

The Best Winter Foods for Kids

By Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN

kid blowing snow

When the temperatures drop and the daylight hours are shorter, energy levels can take a big dip, right along with mood. Kids might be less active in the cold, winter months, making it extra important to focus on adequate nutrition this time of year. And while it hasn’t been well-studied in children, kids could experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern, just like adults. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite and sleep are some common signs. These foods will help your kids stay healthy — and happy — this winter.


The tryptophan in salmon and other animal proteins is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. Salmon is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown in some studies to help manage depression. Some kids will eat salmon broiled or grilled — try using a marinade or sauce they love on other foods — or cut the fish into small pieces and make kebabs with veggies.


Clementines are an adorable winter citrus packed with vitamin C and fiber. They also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium for strong bones and good muscle function. Kids love that they’re usually seedless, easy to peel and fun to eat, making them perfect for school lunchboxes or snacks. You can also toss the sections into salads to make greens more appealing.

Winter Squash

Winter squash is rich in vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to benefit heart health and immunity while promoting healthy skin. They’re also a good source of fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Lisa Brown, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian in New York City, encourages parents to make winter squash part of the regular rotation. “Most winter squash varieties are naturally sweet, and what kid doesn’t like sweet? Try roasting butternut squash and tossing with cinnamon and maple syrup,” she says. “You can also mix spaghetti squash with your kid’s favorite pasta sauce.”

Sweet Potatoes

Another great source of fiber, sweet potatoes are also packed with vitamin A and potassium. Their mellow, sweet taste works in all kinds of recipes. Slice into thin “coins” and toss with canola or olive oil before roasting. Sweet potato puree can also be used in foods like macaroni and cheese, oatmeal and brownies. Pediatric dietitian Laura Gibofsky, MS, RD, CDN, suggests swapping in baked sweet potatoes as an alternative to french fries. “Have your kids help with peeling so they’re involved in the cooking,” she says.


This member of the cruciferous veggie family has been noted for its high phytochemical content and potential to help prevent cancer and inflammation. Cauliflower is delicious on its own but easily blends with other flavors. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as many B-vitamin. But that’s not all. Cauliflower provides a small amount of protein (1.1 gram per serving), plus potassium, magnesium and manganese — important for growth and development — while the fiber promotes stable energy levels and good digestion.

Cauliflower is delicious roasted, but if your kid is averse to eating veggies, Brown has some creative ideas. Try making cauliflower “rice” in a food processor and adding it to stir-fries, she suggests.

“You can also use riced cauliflower for pancakes,” says Brown. “Just microwave for 45 seconds, then blend it into the batter.” Don’t worry, the pancakes don’t taste like cauliflower!

Cold Weather Activity

How to Stay Active in Cold Weather

women exercising outdoors in cold weather

When winter blows in, you can pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep—or you can suit up and head out for an outdoor winter adventure! The American Heart Association offers these tips for working out in the cold of winter.

There’s no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when the temperature drops. In fact, exercising in cooler weather has some distinct advantages over working out in warmer weather.