Health, Fitness and PR

11/09/2010 - Leave a Response
It’s been established these last couple months that I have a passion for health and fitness.  You may have also picked up on the fact that I’m majoring in public relations and hope to obtain a job in the field upon graduating this May.  (Yikes!)  Although I have lived and breathed PR for the last few years (freshman year wasn’t so intense), I’m still not entirely sure what type of PR I want to practice.  Let’s take a look at different PR jobs that involve my love of health and fitness.

Sports PR

I like sports, but I’ll be the first to admit I have difficulty carrying on an in depth conversation about any of them.  All those fantasy players out there – your knowledge of all the teams, players and statistics amazes me.  So, what exactly does being a sports PR practitioner entail?
 
  
Who they are
  • Sports PR practitioners are the communication experts who coordinate the flow of information to the press.  The PR team promotes the team to generate the publics’ interest and increase the team’s supporters. 

What they do

  • Some tasks may include writing press releases, organizing conference calls and creating game programs.  PR practitioners tend to work long, out of the ordinary hours.  If a sports team has an event, the PR team is there before, during and after.  Many sports PR practitioners tend to work seven days a week during season.

How much they make

  • It depends where you work.  Do you work for a local sports team or the NFL?  Average pay ranges from about $30 thousand to six figure salaries.

 For more information about sports PR, check out Sports PR Blog.

Healthcare PR

I’ve always had an interest in health, but I have also always had difficulty stomaching the medical field.  Perhaps working in the communications department of a hospital would be right up my alley.  Let’s see. 
 
 
Who they are
  • PR practitioners who specialize in healthcare PR are the internal and external communications exports for the healthcare facility they work for. 

What they do

  • Some responsibilities include interacting with physicians, nurses and administrators.  Many write for the hospital’s internal publications, handle media calls, create promotional materials and some even prepare marketing plans.   

How much they make

  • Healthcare is considered nonprofit.  Therefore, salaries tend to be lower than other specializations within the field.  The average annual salary is about $36 thousand.  Average salaries tend to range from $26 to $48 thousand.  Again, it depends on where you’re working and your exact position. 

If you’re interested in learning more about healthcare PR, check out Envisioning 2.0.

Sports and healthcare PR seem like the most obvious choice for someone who is interested in both PR and health and fitness, but I’m not entirely sold on these paths.  Sports PR entails some rough hours that would be fun while I’m young, but when I have a family it will be tough.  Healthcare PR sounds like a decent fit for me, too, but nonprofit work is difficult.  I’d be up for the challenge, but I think there might be another choice out there that may suit me a little better. 

A PR Agency could potentially combine everything I’ve mentioned above.  PR agencies work with different clients in all types of industries to create PR campaigns.  I would have the opportunity to work with a variety of clients on a regular basis.  My day to day would be different, which I think I would really enjoy.  For some additional information regarding PR agencies, check out PR 20/20.

Writing this post has made me a little anxious about graduating, but it also has given me hope.  There are so many options within the PR field, and I look forward to future opportunities as I start my professional career.  With time, I hope I can combine my interests of PR, health and fitness so work doesn’t feel like work.    If anybody has suggestions on obtaining this goal, please share!

Compliments of Google Images

Tackling Your Trouble Zones

11/02/2010 - Leave a Response

We all have them… those areas on our bodies we wish we could shrink, tone or do a little of both.  For some women it’s their tummy, some their legs and butt and some even their arms. 

Tummy
Top 3 crunches

  • Bicycle: Lay on your back with your hands behind your ears.  Put your legs up at about a 45 degree angle and crunch, allowing your elbow to meet your opposite knee.  The motion is similar to pedaling a bicycle.  These crunches target your lower and side abdominals. 
  • Exercise ball:  Lay on the ball, positioning it under your lower back.  Put your hands behind your head and lift your torso off the ball.  Make sure the ball does not roll.  Using the ball keeps your work out focused on your abs as opposed to using your other body parts, like your legs, to help lift your torso. 

    Compliments of Google Images

  • Vertical leg: Lay on the floor with your legs vertical and your toes toward the ceiling.  Put your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders off the floor. 

Tip: When you’re doing crunches, focus your eyes on the ceiling to ensure you’re keeping proper form. 

For additional abdominal workouts, check out Top 10 Effective Ab Exercise.    

Legs and tush
Top 3 workouts

  • Jump on a trampoline:  You can do this in your home (if you buy a mini trampoline), in your back yard or at the gym.  You’re using your leg and butt muscles to launch yourself into the air.  This raises your heart rate, giving you a cardio work out simultaneously. 
  • Lunges:  Lunge forward with your first leg, land heel to toe.  Lower your body until your knee is as close to the ground as you can get it without allowing it to touch.  If you’re up for a challenge, hold dumbbell weights in each hand.  You’ll feel this in your legs and butt the next morning. 
  • Wall squats: Lean up against a wall with your back straight.  Place your fee about 1.5 feet apart and squat.  To work your inner things, widen your stance.  To work your outer thighs, shorten your stance.

Tip:  Concentrate on form to prevent yourself from hurting your knees, ankles or hips. 

Take a look at Discovery Health’s website for additional information. 

Arms
Top 3 workouts

  • Barbell curls:  Stand with your feet a shoulders’ width apart.  Bend your elbow and pull the bar toward you chest.
  • Pushups:  Place your palms on the floor about a shoulder’ width apart.  With your toes on the ground, lower your body toward the ground and push yourself back up.  Keep your back as straight as you can. 
  • Triceps extensions: Stand with you a feet shoulders’ width apart, holding 5 pound free weights (if you can do more, you go girl!) in each hand at chest height with your elbows bent behind you.  Make sure your palms are facing each other.  Keep your elbows as still as you can and slowly straighten your arms behind you. 

Compliments of Google Images

Tip:  Stay slow and steady.  Slow movements tend to tone better and keep you concentrating on your form. 

Check out Body Sculpting for Women: 5 key exercises for a complete arm workout for additional information. 

To tone up your trouble zones, weight training is necessary.  Keep in mind; in order to lose the fat that covers the muscles you are working you have to keep up with your cardio, too.  A healthy diet is also a necessity.  Eating right and working out regularly will keep you in your best shape.  I hope you give these work outs a try.  Let me know what you think!

Working Out on the Road

10/26/2010 - Leave a Response

Compliments of Google Images

Last week, I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in Washington, D.C. for the PRSSA 2010 National Conference.  It was a great experience; I learned a lot and was able to see the city, too.  We learned about the importance of social media, and how it’s not necessarily our job as a PR practitioner, but rather an essential strategy within our field.  There were great speakers, including President Obama’s “media man,” Jim Margolis.  We had meet-and-greats with professionals over coffee and pastries, and dinners at classy restaurants with former Kent State PR graduates who now reside in D.C.    

Unfortunately, while consuming this valuable information and delicious food, I kind of forgot about the gym.  So, as a form of post travel motivation to get my rear back in gear, I’d like to share some ideas with you on how to continue your work out pattern while on vacation.  We’ll call this trial and error — I learned what not to do on my trip, so let’s help you (and me) learn what to do on your next vacation to continue your work out pattern and healthy habits.

 Bring a work out DVD

  • DVDs are light and won’t take up much room in your bag

    Compliments of Google Images

  • It mixes up your work out
  • You can get a work out in without even leaving your hotel room

I have recently fallen in love with Jillian Michaels’ DVDs after trying out her 30 Day Shred.  It’s one DVD with three different levels of work outs, each lasting 20 minutes.  Yes, only 20 minutes!  But, I promise, you will feel it the next morning.  Check out her site.  There’s a lot of valuable information to help you reach your health and fitness goals. 

Hit the hotel’s gym and/or pool

  • Try out the different equipment that your gym may not have 
  • Swimming is a great work out because you use your whole body, plus it’s fun 
  • Hit the gym with someone who’s on vacation with you —  it’s always easier to work out with a buddy

 An additional cardio activity that most people take part in while on vacation is walking.  So, if you really can’t stand visiting the gym while you’re on vacation, try walking to your destinations as opposed to taking a taxi or a bus. 

Eat as healthy as you can

  • If you’re eating fast food, try restaurants like Subway or Panera Bread
  • Bring healthy snacks to prevent yourself from overeating because you’re starving

Choosing the foods you eat wisely will help you maintain your healthy lifestyle, but it will also help you feel your best.  Often times your body goes into a slight shock when you’re away on a trip.  If you continue your normal eating, drinking and working out habits, it will help you adapt to your temporary vacation home. 

If you follow these tips it will help you stay in shape while you’re away.  It only takes 3 days to fall behind in your work outs.  Don’t let this totally freak you out though.  Once you get back into your normal routine you can work your way back up fairly quickly.

Keep in mind that you are on vacation.  Chances are you’ll only be on this vacation once, so don’t forget to treat yourself.  If you want dessert, have it.  Just don’t overdo it every day.  Don’t stress yourself out by trying to stick to your exact work out plan.  It’s OK to have relaxed work outs for a week or so while you’re gone.

If you’re interested in how PRSSA Kent’s trip to D.C. went, check out the School of Journalism and Mass Communications website, or our blog.

When PR and Health Collide

10/14/2010 - Leave a Response

There are many times when my two loves of health and public relations get to cross paths.  A great example of this is The Heart Truth national campaign sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and partner organizations.  The purpose of this campaign is to generate awareness about the leading cause of death in women, heart disease. 

The Heart Truth campaign was launched in 2001 and has no end date.  Its national symbol is a Red Dress to help remind women to protect themselves and take action against heart disease.  I think this symbol is awesome because it’s girly, but at the same time makes a bold statement.  The campaign is targeting women between the ages of 40 and 60, but also works to stress the message that it’s important to younger women, too.  It’s important to remember, heart disease is a gradual disease.  A woman can start developing the disease as early as her teenage years. 

I hate to bore you with school-ish topics, but this campaign really jumps out at me as a PR student because it’s been so successful.  To me, a successful campaign has the necessary PR elements, but also reaches a large audience and keeps people interested.  The Heart Truth campaign offers clever ways to draw attention to a serious matter.  It’s definitely something worth talking about for a number of reasons. 

Thumbs Up to the Campaign Tools
Click the links below to see what I’m talking about.  This campaign uses various PR strategies like social media and events.  It also has pre-made materials such as hand outs, posters and pamphlets for anyone interested in helping with the campaign.  What a smart way to get more people involved.  Alsol, this ensures a controlled, consistent message and accurate information to all. 

 You Can Support the Heart Truth, too

The Campaign is Great, but What Exactly is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a disease of the blood vessels of the heart that can eventually lead to a heart attack.  Heart attacks are a result of an artery becoming blocked which prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Heart disease is one of several diseases of the heart and blood vessel system referred to as cardiovascular diseases. 

Many think heart disease is a curable disease, but it is not.  Once someone has heart disease, he or she will always have it.  Medical procedures can be done to help maintain heart disease and allow for blood and oxygen to get the heart more easily, but the arteries will always be damaged.  Find out if you’re at risk.
 
Heart Disease Statistics

  • In 2006, more than 1 in 4 deaths were caused by heart disease while 1 in 30 women died of breast cancer
  • Nearly 316,000 women die of heart disease every year
  • This year, heart disease will cost the United States $316.4 billion

 Ways to Reduce Your Risk Now

  • Don’t smoke
  • Stay active, exercise regularly
  • Know your family history, talk to your doctor and take appropriate actions to protect yourself

According to the American Heart Association, 1.26 million Americans will have a new or recurrent coronary attack this year.  Imagine how many individuals are indirectly affected by this disease each year.  While our age group is not the group most affected by heart disease, there is a good chance we will be touched by it one way or another.  So, pay attention to this campaign, talk about it and share your knowledge with others who might be at risk.  Since only you have control over you, start protecting yourself and take actions to reduce your risks of heart disease today.

A Race for all Abilities

10/12/2010 - 2 Responses

I’ve always enjoyed running, but I’ve never been much of a competitive runner.  The thought of preparing for a race in middle school track still makes my heart sink, but this past weekend I overcame my long-lived fear and participated in the 10th annual Bowman Cup 5K Race at Kent State University.  

For those of you who are familiar with Kent State’s campus, the race began at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) and looped around Portage Trail and through Kent’s residential areas. 

Some background
The race was named after former Kent State President, George Bowman.  The race’s slogan is, “Race for Ability” because it encourages people of all abilities to participate.  Student Accessibility Services and Recreational Services on campus ensure that even those individuals with disabilities will have the resources they need to participate.

The Bowman Cup was originally an intramural competition that student organizations competed in for a stainless steel trophy engraved with the winning organization’s name.  The trophy was passed on to winners from year to year.  But, throughout the past ten years, the Bowman Cup has become more of a Homecoming tradition.  It takes place early in the morning on the day of Homecoming.  Essentially, it kicks off the Homecoming celebrations.  In fact, it’s become so popular that this year the race was officially certified by the USA Track & Field organization as an official 5K (3.106 mile) distance.   This year, 564 people participated!

The race is for all ages.  (I’ll admit, there was a point when a pre-teen zipped by me, ugh).  Registration is $10 for Kent State students, $15 for affiliates (Student Recreation and Wellness Center members, Kent State employees and alumni) and $20 for community members.  Children younger than ten are free.  A free ticket to the Homecoming football game is included in registration and the first 400 people to register receive a T-shirt, a runner goodie bag, a continental breakfast after the race and a five-minute massage. 

Winners
Top runners
1st place: $100
2nd place: $75
3rd place: $50 

Age-group
The fastest male and female receive a Bowman Cup.

My friend Pat, who finished the race in 22 minutes, and I after the race.

Category winners
Student, affiliate and community winners receive a Bowman Cup fedora hat.

100th runner to cross the finish line (in honor of Kent State’s centennial anniversary)
Winner receives a Kent State gift basket.

As I mentioned earlier, competitive running isn’t exactly my thing.  I ran the Bowman Cup in 26 minutes and 17 seconds.  I came in 224th place — not too bad considering the amount of participants.  So, if you’re interested in running in a 5K, try the Bowman Cup!  It’s a great first 5K to take on because it can be as competitive as you want it to be.   

To get into a regular workout routine, you have to enjoy what you’re doing or it’s not going to last.  Running is one way to stay in shape, but it’s not for everyone.  Try new things and retry them later to mix things up.  With time, your opinions may change.  After my last middle school track meet I never thought I’d run against anyone ever again.  I gave it another shot though, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed myself Saturday.  It was a nice 26 minutes all to myself.  Your workouts are your time, so find something you enjoy.  There are a million ways to be active.  Share your workout routine with me; I’d love to hear about it!

Be Extra Pink this October

09/29/2010 - Leave a Response

This October marks the 25th National Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Each year about 200,000 women are diagnosed with the disease and 40,000 lose their lives to it.  It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women, lung cancer being first. 

Instead of getting down about these statistics, let’s turn things around and start working to prevent this disease from affecting our lives by taking care of ourselves and working to help the women in our lives do the same.

Three Ways to Help Reduce Your Risk Daily
College-aged women are not necessarily at the highest risk for breast cancer, but your healthy habits today can help reduce your future risks. 

1. Physical activity helps boost your immune system and lower your estrogen levels.  According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, just four hours of physical exercise a week can lower your risk of breast cancer. 

2.  A healthy diet consisting of low-fat foods can help reduce your risk because fat triggers estrogen production which can cause tumors to grow.

3.  Cut down on the bar scene.  Studies show; those who drink one to two alcoholic drinks every day have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.  The more alcohol you consume on a daily basis, the higher your risk.  This doesn’t mean if you drink alcohol you are going to get breast cancer, just don’t make it a daily habit. 

Taking it a Step Further
Doctors recommended that women of all ages give themselves a breast self-examine about once a month.  Look for changes in your breasts such as lumps and/or dimpling.  If you do find something out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist.  To ease your mind: 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. 

If you have a family history of breast cancer you are at a higher risk to develop the disease.  Most doctors recommend you have a mammogram done 5 years prior to the age at which your relative was diagnosed with the disease.  If you do not have a family history of the disease, you can wait until about age 35 for a mammogram.

Lastly, make sure you visit your gynecologist on an annual basis.  I know, we all dread it, but the sooner you’re aware of an issue the greater your chances of beating it.  On a more positive note, when your tests come back fine it’s a nice relief. 

Show Your Support in Northeast Ohio
Below are some ways to help support breast cancer research, education and those individuals who are affected by the disease. 

Night 4 Pink
What: A benefit dinner
When:  Oct. 3, 10 and 24
Where: Downtown 140 Restaurant in Hudson, Ohio

Guitars for Girls
What:  A benefit country concert
When:  Oct. 14
Where:  Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio

Making Strides
What:  A benefit walk
When:  Oct. 17
Where: Lock 3 Park in Akron, Ohio

How to Donate
Susan G. Komen Foundation
National Breast Cancer Foundation
The Breast Cancer Charities

I encourage you to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in any way you can; be healthier, educate your family and friends, attend an event and/or donate to a breast cancer charity.   At the very least, check out the websites above for additional facts, symptoms, survivors’ stories and more.  Start beating the second leading cause of cancer death in women today!

Healthy, Cheap Eats

09/27/2010 - Leave a Response

If you’re in college, chances are you’re on a tight budget and you most likely hate the fact that half of your measly paycheck goes toward food. 

My food expenses this week:

  • Starbucks: $6 (4 tall coffees)
  • Penn Station:  $8  (A small veggie sub and Sun Chips)
  • Chipotle: $10  (A rice bowl with chicken, all 4 salsas and lettuce)
  • Subway: $5 (Another veggie sub…)
  • Applebee’s:  $15 (Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portobellos – check it out!)

            Total: $44

I regret compiling the list above.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t even include my grocery store bill.  :/  And let’s be honest, these aren’t the healthiest choices.

As we all know, one way to save money and eat healthier is to cook more meals at home.  I’ve recently tried this and found three recipes I really enjoyed; One for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Breakfast
Breakfast is, as you know, your most important meal.  It jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you energy to start your day.  Breakfast should be your largest meal because you have all day to use its nutrients and burn it off.  But, sometimes it can be difficult to eat in the morning.  Some people aren’t hungry (I wish I was one of those type of people, but I wake up starving every day) and some people just don’t have the time in the morning. 

Banana-Bran Muffins are a delicious breakfast food option, and yes, muffins can actually be healthy, too.  Each muffin provides a ton of fiber and whole grains which keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.  Preparation and bake time does take a little while — It took me about one hour total, so I’d recommend preparing these the night before.  If you’re not into baking, a simpler option is Fiber One Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They come already prepared in packages of 4 and can be stored in your freezer.

  • Cost: $15-20 to make 12 muffins, $4 to buy 4 pre-made muffins
  •  Calories:  Less than 200

Lunch
During lunchtime, most students are in-between classes or at work.  So, finding time to eat can be difficult.  I found an awesome Kaboose.com recipe; turkey sandwich with sun-dried tomato pesto.  It’s a sandwich, so you can easily pack it up and take it with you.  The sun-dried tomato spread gives the sandwich a ton of flavor without a ton of calories.  Spreads such as this, humus and low-fat or light dressings are healthy ways to spice up a sandwich and add flavor. 

  • Cost:  $9 (Keep in mind; I had enough ingredients left over to make the sandwich 4 more times).
  • Calories:  About 380

Dinner
And on to my favorite meal: dinner.  By the time I finish up my classes I am starving and want to make something quick.  Plus, for those students who have evening classes, there’s literally no time to mess around.  My current favorite recipe comes from fitnessmagazine.com.  It’s Farfalle with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta.  It might sound intimidating to create, but I promise it’s easier than you think and it’s delicious. 

  • Cost:  $11 to make about 3 servings
  • Calories: 330 per serving

Give these recipes a shot; let me know what you think.  I enjoyed each and found them easy to make.  To top it off, they are all fairly healthy.

Making the Transition

09/13/2010 - 2 Responses

In the early years of learning how to write we were all taught to never start a piece by saying, “I’m going to write about…,”  but I’m not sure such rules apply here.  With that being said, here goes nothin’.  To kick off my first blog post, I’m going to start by discussing the transition from living at home, eating Mom’s home-cooked, relatively healthy, family recipes to living in a dorm and having any type of food within reach at all hours of the day… and night. 

The infamous “freshman 15” is a well known idea.  In fact, try typing it into a Google search (it’s your third option to research once you’ve typed the word, “freshman”).  Let’s keep this positive though.  In all reality not all freshmen gain 15 pounds in their first semester away at school.  The average weight gain is between 3 and 7 pounds.  However, the new lifestyle chosen by freshmen typically continues throughout their college career which could potentially result in a weight gain of 15 pounds or more by graduation.  So, it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle from the get go. 

Stay active
Sure, you’re not on your high school’s soccer or volleyball team anymore, but that doesn’t mean every day after class you’re entitled to sit on your futon, eat a bag of potato chips and catch up on Teen Mom. 

  • Walk to class and around campus.  Refrain from always jumping on the campus bus or driving your car.  One hour of walking burns about 300 calories.  That’s at least, maybe more, than the average amount of calories most college students eat for breakfast.  If you attend a large university it’s easy to walk that much on any given day.  Plus, you’re likely to save time.  Traffic around campus can get crazy.

  • Take a class at your university’s recreation center or gym.  Most universities, such as Kent State, offer classes like yoga, spinning and even kickboxing.  Some classes can even be taken for credit.  Working out is always easier when you have a buddy, or someone to push you.  This is a great way to meet people, too.   

Be aware of on-campus dining
Universities tend to have a ton of yummy, but unhealthy places to dine.  Be conscious of what you’re ordering.  By all means, take advantage of your meal plan, but don’t get dessert every night just because it’s there. 

  • Snack on healthy foods like granola bars or fruits to prevent yourself from indulging in unhealthy foods due to extreme hunger.  Too often college students get in a rush and grab the fastest meal they can get their hands on.  Typically, this is a greasy sandwich and/or french fries.  Look for grilled or baked options as opposed to fried. 
  • Treat yourself, in moderation.  It’s OK to eat dessert sometimes or enjoy a fu-fu coffee once in a while.  It’s not OK to make this an everyday occurrence.  But, certainly don’t deprive yourself of such treats.  It’s important to reward yourself.  That’s what keeps you going. 

Unfortunately, these few tips are not life savers.  But, each will help you stay on track upon making your transition to college life.  It takes 2 weeks to develop a new habit.  Challenge yourself.  Try these small steps for 2 weeks.  The longer you do it, the more habitual it becomes and the easier it is.