Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nice Weather

The warm 50 degree weather certainly encourages a sunny outlook on your day. As the semester nears an end, your mind starts to wonder and dream about the gorgeous summer days not too far in the future. Although nice weather may distract you from class or tempt you not to go in order to enjoy the fresh air, it's definitely a mood booster.

If you wake-up to look out your bedroom window to find the sky is overcast and there isn't a speck of blue in sight, most people wouldn't be obliged to crawling back under the covers. A great sunny day without a cloud in the sky is a positive way to begin a Monday morning. I wonder if people realize the impact weather and sun can have on their mood?

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter blues, can have a big influence on many individuals. "Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that follows the seasons. The most common type of SAD is called winter depression. It usually begins in late fall or early winter and goes away by summer. A less common type of SAD, known as summer depression, usually begins in the late spring or early summer. It goes away by winter. SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight during different times of the year."

"As many as half a million people in the United States may have winter depression. Another 10% to 20% may experience mild SAD. SAD is more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn't start in people younger than 20 years of age. For adults, the risk of SAD decreases as they get older. SAD is more common in northern geographic regions."

There are a high number of people who suffer from SAD. This goes to show that the amount of sunlight you're exposed to can seriously impact your life. In Boston especially, the winters are long and there are periods where the sun hides forever. Luckily, it seems that spring is slowly rolling in.

Nice Weather

The warm 50 degree weather

Saturday, March 24, 2007


This year's BOSTON MARATHON is MONDAY APRIL 16, 2007. Expect the city to be bustling with lots of activity that weekend! It's definitely a uniting event for the city because old and young venture out and gather on the streets to cheer runners on. In order to quality, one must meet the specific time requirements for their age group. Registration for the race is closed for this year. The 2007 race will be celebrating its 111th running. The 26 mile run starts on Main Street in Hopkinton and finishes near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

Robert K. Cheruiyot (from Kenya) won the Men's Open last year with a time of 2:07:14. His time set a new record for the course. Rita Jeptoo (from Kenya also) won the Women's Open with a time of 2:23:38. is the official site of the Boston Marathon is you are looking for legitimate information on the race.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dentist

I have typed up and printed out a Northeastern University Health survey, which I will compile the results of and post about next week. Here are the questions I asked:

1. How many times a week do you go to the gym?
2. For how long do you workout?
3. How would you rate your level of fitness on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best)?
4. How long is the cardio portion of your workout?
5. Do you lift weights? How often?
6. Is it harder to workout during the winter months? Are you less motivated or does the cold weather stop you from going to Marino Center? Why or why not?
7. Are you happy with your physical appearance?
8. Do you consider yourself to be in shape?

On a separate note, the Boston Globe published a story about going to the dentist and how it is beneficial to your overall health. Most people hate their annual dentist visits or not so annual if you have bad teeth. It's painful to have a cavity filled or to get a root canal, which luckily I haven't experienced. Even when you simply get your teeth cleaned, it can be uncomfortable. My dentist at home is nice though and she's very gentle on your teeth.

Obviously, healthy teeth equal a beautiful smile and everyone wants to have a great smile. Studies have linked the early detection of gum disease to preventing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. If you have gum disease, you have a higher risk of suffering from the previous ailments.

According to the article "Advice for All Ages: Don't skip the dentist": "With pancreatic cancer, for instance, previous studies had suggested such a link, but those studies were muddied because many participants smoked, and smoking is a risk factor for both diseases. This time, even among people who never smoked, gum disease was linked to a doubling of the cancer risk, said epidemiologist Dominique Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health, the study's first author. It's still not clear, cautioned Michaud, whether that means the gum disease led to the cancer."

It's great how much information we have in the medical world today, but sometimes there are too many facts and statistics to process. Everyday the news has a new report on what is bad for you, what causes cancer, and what prevents this disease. At times the information can be contradicting. I guess there is still alot we don't know about diseases and finding cures for serious sicknesses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Sexy to Deadly"

It is funny that my last post was about cigarette smoking. I found a related article in today's issue of New York Times.

The famous surgeon's general warning was manufactured on cigarettes thirty years ago, but health historians believe the impact of this warning took many decades to influence smokers. According to the article Tracing the Cigarette's Path From Sexy to Deadly, "In contrast to the symbol of death and disease it is today, from the early 1900s to the 1960s the cigarette was a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure-a highly prized commodity for one out of two Americans."

Advertising in the past conveyed a sexy, cool image of people who smoked. Think about old western movies or any old movies for that matter. Smoking cigarettes said alot about the character, often linking smoking and being rebellious in a good way. There was certainly a positive connotation connected to smoking, while today I think a negative stigma is becoming dominant. If you look at old cigarette ads from the 1930s, they are scary. Camel used the slogan "More Doctors Smoke Camel." How scary is that??!!

"In the 1980s, scientists established the revolutionary concept that nicotine is extremely addictive. The tobacco companies publicly rejected such claims, even as they took advantage of cigarettes' addictive potential by routinely spiking them with extra nicotine to make it harder to quit smoking. And their marketing memorandums document advertising campaigns aimed at youngsters to hook whole new generations of smokers."

In 2007 the general public is well aware of the health hazards of smoking, but many people choose to ignore these dangerous truths. I do not hold anything against smokers and it does not change what I think about someone. My dad smokes and my mom did for a long time. All I am trying to say is that America needs to make an effort to encourage kids to find a different habit, one that won't give them lung cancer at 40 years old. I'm sure many people reading this would bring up alcohol. Studies show drinking in moderation is safe and there are even health benefits of drinking wine occasionally. I have never read one positive affect of smoking cigarettes. It helps you de-stress? Actually, it puts more stress on your heart and body.

Visit the following site: It has cigarette advertisements from the 1940s and 1950s, along with the texts of the ads. I can't believe the information the companies are promoting. Some of the ads not only suggest, but state that smoking could have health benefits such as healing a scratchy throat.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Smoking Ban

As time passes, smoking becomes less and less accepted by society. Obviously, a large number of the American population smoke, but the law has made changes to keep smoking a private habit. Five or ten years ago you would go to a restaurant and the host or hostess would ask you "Smoking or non-smoking?". I remember this clearly as a young kid because my parents smoked. Today, research shows that second-hand smoke is more devastating to your health than being a smoker yourself.

Only 19 states don't ban smoking in public as of 2007. The following states permit smoking in public areas: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, etc. Massachusetts doesn't allow cigarette smoking in public, but it does have some smoking bars such as cigar bars. There are a number of fancy cigar bars in the North End. The majority of states in the northeast have made it illegal, while certain regions haven't passed any legislation yet.

Everyone knows the health risks of smoking, but it is up to individuals whether they choose to or not. I don't think it's fair for people to be forced to be in a smoking environment at a restaurant. If you smoke, you can go outside for a cigarette or wait until you're finished with your meal. As is, we are constantly exposed to a great deal of pollution and toxins in our environment, especially if you live in the city.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Break

Unlike the many people walking around with amazing tans, any color I have is the result of tanning at Campus Tan seldomly. The "fake tan" isn't nearly the same as a tan from laying on the beach in Jamaica for a week. It's funny because everyone who went somewhere warm and tropical was bearing alot of skin today in the 50 degree weather. Yeah, it was warm for Boston and it was a lovely day. I don't thing 50 degrees calls for shorts and flip-flops. Maybe I wish I was that tan, but the truth is short and tee-shirt weather hasn't arrived yet.

I went home to New York over break and had two co-op interviews. I was offered a job at a local tv station, but I missed my interview for Fox News because I was sick. I am going home Thursday night and I have the re-scheduled interview Friday morning. Besides my interview, I went to the gym pretty often, caught up on sleep, and played guitar hero. My little brother got it for his birthday. I had never played before, but I was surprised how fun it is. I don't play video games often, but I played it quite a bit at home. I also had some homework to do, so I tried to finish whatever I needed to and even get ahead on some work. I saw some of my old friends, but most people have a different spring break. I wish I had the same time off as everyone else. Our semester ends early as well and no one is home then. Northeastern is on a weird schedule.

Although I was bored at times, the break went by fast. Hopefully, next year I can go away because I have never vacationed for break. Until then, these are the only memories I have of myself relaxing at the beach.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

FiT Tv

The next biggest thing: Fit TV. If you go to the website, there is an alphabetical listing of all the shows. You can tell by the name that the station is based on fitness, but they cover the topic from a variety of angles. There are some reality shows narrated by fitness trainers and all the drama we see on normal television. I watched a show last night, which followed the lives of personal trainers all working at the same gym. It profiled each of the people as they went through their daily routines at work, helping clients. It also displayed alot of the animosity that occurs in the workplace. Besides these silly shows, which are a source of entertainment when you're bored, there are serious instructed fitness programs. Here are some helpful shows to watch if you're looking for some guidance:
All Star Workouts
Gilad's Bodies in Motion
Total Body Sculpt with Gilad
Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limit
Namaste Yoga

Go to for a complete list of shows and their times because the list goes on forever! Some of the programs are geared towards serious gym goers, but a fair amount offer simple workouts you can do in your living room. If you're going to watch tv, you might as well be active while doing it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stressful Times

Hmm.... I couldn't come up with anything too exciting for this post. I created a survey about the basic workout habits of Northeastern students, so I'll have those results soon. I think it will be interesting to see how often individuals workout and how the winter affects their normal fitness routines.

I mentioned in a post several weeks ago that I've been sick on and off this entire semester. Finally, the last week and a half I was beginning to feel back to myself. My roommate was very sick with a stomach virus last week. I spent as much time as I could out of the room, hoping I wouldn't get sick myself.

This doesn't change the fact we sleep in the say bedroom, so I knew there was a good chance I would catch the bug. And I did! I woke up this morning very sick. The worst part is that I had an interview for a co-op position at FOX News in NYC and had to miss it. I was able to re-schedule the interview thankfully, but being sick becomes exhausting. I think I speak for a majority of Northeastern students, when I say the co-op process combined with school is very stressful. At a typical four-year college, student aren't concerned with preparing for competitive internships, tough interviews, or living arrangements in another city. I believe the co-op program is an excellent opportunity, but I wouldn't consider the lifestyle of Northeastern students ordinary according to the stereotypical definition of college life.

I have no problem working hard for everything I do. I'm not trying to argue that college students should have the luxury of being lazy and barely slide by without attending class and partying constantly. I'm a very hard working individual and I like to be challenged. If everything was handed to you on a silver platter, you wouldn't learn important life lessons. Simultaneously, I think certain personalities are impacted by stress more than others. I am one of those people who worry alot and become stressed fairly easily. I am conscious of this problem and I constantly remind myself to do what I can do. I do wonder how this affects our health? How many college students are walking around like robots trying to complete daily tasks, fueled by stress and pressure? I know I fall somewhere in the middle on the continuim because there are people who are far more obsessed with achieveing perfection and what is expected of them than myself. When you think about it, anxiety never helps you complete something faster, it just makes you unhappy.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Energy Drinks cont.

A recent article on focused on an energy drink called "Cocaine." The drink was pulled from the shelves of 7-Eleven in Dallas, Texas because of the products name. The reason it is called cocaine is because of the white writing and lines on the can.

According to "7-Eleven Store Pulls Cocaine Energy Drink":
"Each 8.4-fluid ounce can contains 280 milligrams of caffeine _ more jolt than a cup of coffee, a can of Coca-Cola or the leading energy drink, Red Bull _ but no cocaine."

The creators of the drink wanted a provocative name and I think "Cocaine" fulfills their demand to be noticed. I personally never heard of the drink, before I read the article. The issue is difficult because where do we draw the line as consumers. I'm sure young people got a kick out of the name and bought the drink solely for its appearance. This wasn't a national decision to remove the drink from shelves, only 7-Elevens based out of Dallas.

"Our merchandising team believes the product's name promotes an image which we didn't want to be associated with," said Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven. According to this statement, the reason 7-Eleven didn't want to sell the drink because it was afraid for their reputation. If I was the owner, I wouldn't want to be associated with the word cocaine in anyway.

The drink's main website is is entitled "The Legal Alternative." There is one section of the site devoted to "Rumors." According to the site, "We don't advocate drug use. What you do with your drink is completely up to you!" The company also claims there is no crash with this drink and it isn't as sweet as other energy drinks. I guess the only way to find out is to have one.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mid-terms continued, gym habits, and RED BULL

Yesterday I was complaining about this past week and how it has been so stressful. I observed that alot of people still make time to go to the gym. I spoke to a few gym goers and they all explained they still make time to work out regardless of their hectic schedules. If you think about all the things you want to accomplish in a day, the gym is just something else to add to the long list. For me, working out helps relieve stress. The hardest part is finding the time to get over to Marino or go for a run if the weather is strangely warm.

A significant part of this issue is the need for a change of scenery. How much time do you spend cooped up in the library or in your apartment doing homework and studying? Sometimes you need to breathe in some fresh air, although during the winter you don't want to remain outside for too long. A change of scenery is always nice.

My roommate, Stacey, goes to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. She usually brings her gym clothes with her to class and heads over directly after her classes. I think this is a smart idea for two reasons: It saves you another trip into the frigid winter wonderland of Boston, when the weather is extremely cold. Secondly, you make efficient use of your time because you don't go home and procrastinate. According to Stacey, working out helps to alleviate stress. I agree with her because exercising makes you feel better immediately afterwards. Even if you're tired, you have a natural energy boost for a few hours. It's healthier than drinking a can of Red Bull.

The following are some links reviewing the nutrition value of energy drinks:

This link gives a chemical analysis of the ingredients in energy drinks. It discusses taurine, a common ingredient used:

Read the article "Energy drinks pack a punch, but is it too much?" on It's several years old, but provides some smart information for consumers: