The Charger Blog

ChargerREC Wellness Guru Gives Tips to Be Healthy During the Holidays

Gabriella (Bella) Miceli, assistant director of campus recreation for fitness, wellness, and adventure recreation, outlines ways to reduce stress and stay in shape during the holidays and to keep your resolutions in 2019.

December 20, 2018

By Gabriella (Bella) Miceli, assistant director of campus recreation for fitness, wellness and adventure recreation

Image of exercise class
The Beckerman Recreation Center's new fitness area with a turf floor, a Synergy exercise machine, and other equipment provides space for a great workout

It’s that time of year again. The plates of holiday cookies and pumpkin pie are being passed around and around. Soon the calendar will flip to 2019, and we will take on our New Year’s resolutions.

According to a recent survey on Americans’ New Year’s resolutions, the two most popular resolutions people will make for 2019 focus on losing weight or getting into better shape.

"Though it’s cold outside, it’s important to get the heart pumping."Gabriella Miceli

The possibilities for staying healthy and improving fitness on campus are plentiful. I am pleased to share some ideas and tips for making healthy choices and keeping resolutions.

The holidays are a time when the campus slows down, but that doesn’t mean that you should too. This is a perfect opportunity to focus on some much-needed self-care.

The Beckerman Recreation Center is open throughout Winter Break. ChargerREC offers massage therapy for members and non-members. A massage is a great way to take care of the body after shopping, cooking, and hosting family and friends.

students hiking
Students enjoy a winter hike.

Though it’s cold outside, it’s important to get the heart pumping. If walking outside isn’t your thing, ChargerREC’s indoor track is perfect for a brisk walk or jog. We recently turned a racquetball court into a functional fitness area with a turf floor and a Synergy exercise machine that provides a great space to relieve some of your finals/holiday stress.

If you need more Zen in your life, the Beckerman Recreation Center has two studios for open use, so you can work on yoga poses, meditation, stretching, or ab exercises. We’re also open for pick-up basketball or badminton games or a workout in one of our two fitness areas.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions in 2019.

  1. Be realistic. Too many times we tell ourselves, "I’m not going to eat chocolate or chips ever again." Trying to stay completely away from our favorite’s foods or snacks can feel nearly impossible. Instead, use your favorite treats as a reward for something that you accomplished. Say, "I will have a bowl of my favorite ice cream after I put my taxes in order or after I apply for this internship."
  2. Choose healthy snacks. If you love to snack on potato chips at night, try buying sweet potato chips or bean chips. When eating out, opt for a side salad, vegetables, or sweet potato fries instead of French fries.
  3. Begin with small goals and plan ahead. If your resolution is to lose a certain amount of weight, set up your weekly planner to include three visits to the gym, healthy meal prep on Sunday nights, and a stress-free day or evening. Taking a lavender Epsom salt bath, reading a book, or diving into something creative like painting or drawing reduces cortisol levels, which is your body’s main stress hormone.
  4. Step outside into nature – even on the chilliest days. Walk around campus, a local park, or, if you are in the area, along the shoreline. Being outside in nature can help lower blood pressure and heart rate and can help decrease muscle tension and stress hormone levels.
  5. Track your progress, but go easy on yourself if you slip. Reflect on the overall progress you’ve made. Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient. If you find out your resolution isn’t working out, start over. Each day is a new day, so each step can be a new step toward a new goal.