8 Reasons to Run Outside


For many, running is one of the greatest pleasures in life. As children we learned to run by chasing our friends, playing sports, or running after pets. We ran because we could and because we wanted to, not simply because we needed to stay in shape. For some people this is still true, but for others reasons may be different. Whatever the reason you have for running, it is a great one. Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, yet is also one of the best for you. Besides the obvious health effects that you can get from running, there are many other lucrative reasons why people should run, and run more! My personal preference is running outside.  Here are 8 reasons to run outside:

1. Change of Scenery

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If you, like me, aren’t a fan of running laps around a track, running outside may be your best option. Running outdoors gives you the chance to see things that you have never seen and take in views. It can make running much more enjoyable when you are able to run through nice and interesting areas, thus making what may initially be viewed as pure exercise a little more fun. Running outside also brings the added benefit of exposure to sunlight, which when managed correctly (wear appropriate sun protection) can bring lots of added health benefits such as increased Vitamin D!

2. Save Money

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Besides saving you trips to the doctor by improving your health and decreasing the risk of disease, running can help to save you valuable cash. Gym memberships can be very expensive, whereas running outside is a very inexpensive thing to do. Running only requires a pair of shoes which you would have needed to go the gym anyways!

3. Do it Anywhere

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One of the great advantages of running is that it can be done anywhere. All you need is land, which unless you live on a boat is all around you! Sometimes you don’t have the time to commit to driving to and from the gym along with the allotted time for your exercise. Running can easily be done in very small intervals, allowing for the maximization of your time. The ability to get up and go also is a bonus for people who may not have the motivation to get up and get to the gym. Simply having to put on clothes and shoes is much easier to do!

4. Improve your Brain and Body

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Studies have shown that regular exercise can boost the circulation and flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain.  People who get out and run tend to have lower levels of stress, and thus have decreased risk of diabetes, heart attack, and other ailments. Running also lowers high blood pressure, making runners healthier overall than those who do not run. Cardiovascular disease is much lower in people who exercise regularly

5. Sleep Better

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For those who may have trouble sleeping, running can be a great cure. Running helps to reduce stress and anxiety, thus making falling asleep easier. Your body heat is also raised during a run, and when it drops down to normal post-run, this can make you tired which makes it easier to sleep. Many runners enjoy running at night or before they go to sleep, as an obvious effect of running is tiredness post-run.

6. Enjoy Others Company

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One great advantage of running is that it can easily be done with a buddy. Running with friends is an easier way to get motivated to get up and go and can also improve your relationships. Exercising with someone else puts you both in a place where you may be healthier and have less stress. Less stress leads to an overall happier mood.  Running can also promote unity as setting running goals together or accomplishing benchmarks as a team can be a great feeling that can be shared.

7. Increase Stamina

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Running is also great because it allows you to increase your stamina. This will allow you to go further in subsequent runs and also will improve other aspects of your life. Other workouts at the gym or other places will be more bearable and you will be able to do more in your day without getting as tired. Although boosting your endurance and stamina can be difficult at first, the advantages of doing so are well worth the effort!

8. Give Yourself Time To Think

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Although it may not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think of the advantages of running, the ability to think and be alone with ones thoughts is one of the greatest advantages that running outdoors has. Personally, I love being able to go on a long run as it gives me the chance to disconnect from the world and just be alone with my thoughts. Running past beautiful scenery and through interesting areas, you can easily forget all issues and think about what you want.

I hope that all of these reasons to run outside will inspire you to get there this summer and run!

Comment below with other great reasons you love to run outside! 

Fit and Flirty


We all know the importance of staying in shape, but sometimes keeping up with your workout schedule can be difficult when classes are in full swing. What’s a busy college student to do when hitting the gym isn’t an option? Read on for dorm friendly workouts to keep you ahead of the game.

1. Burpees

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Burpees are the Monday of exercises: everyone hates them. Literally everyone. But this doesn’t negate the fact that they are extremely effective as well as convenient because they can be done in a very small space such as a dorm room. Try different variations to suit your fitness level. Add a pushup in the middle of the burpee and a jump at the end!

2. Pushups


According to webmd.com, the push-up is considered by many fitness experts to be the “perfect exercise” because many muscles between your shoulders to your toes are engaged. Since the push-up is a resistance exercise, you are also building bone strength as well as muscle strength.

3. Squats and Lunges


Squats and lunges are arguably the only two exercises you need to build lower body strength. As long as you’ve got the proper form, these two exercises will become your best friend.

4. Jumping Rope and Jumping Jacks

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Running is fantastic but when you don’t have the space, a more convenient cardio session can be completed with jumping rope. If you don’t have enough space for jumping rope, try jumping jacks. Mix up your jumping jacks a little by adding a squat to each one!

5. Crunches and Toe Crunches

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Crunches reign as the universal default ab exercise and for good reason: they’re easy, effective, and don’t require a gym membership! To target your lower abs, try adding in toe touches to your workout!

How do you stay in shape in a small living space? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Ways to Fight Summer Boredom


We all know that when it comes summer and everything is winding down, it can be pretty easy to slip into the feeling of not wanting to do anything.  However, once you’ve arrived at that point, it doesn’t take long until not doing anything morphs into being bored.  While it is perfectly acceptable to feel that you have deserved a break after duking it out with the school year, don’t let too much of a “good” thing bore you down!  Try some of these ideas to still maintain the freedom of a vacation, but also keep your summer exiting and memorable.

1. Travel

Planning a fun road trip with some high school friends, or perhaps college friends who live nearby, is a great option and relatively inexpensive if you split the gas cost amongst four or five people.  Another alterative could be driving to visit other friends a few cities away, which then provides you with a place to stay overnight without having to pay hotel/motel fees.  Or, if you’ve decided to save up for a travel splurge, going abroad or flying domestically – either to tour or visit friends – is very rewarding and calls for a great way to spend some of your vacation.

2. Get a Job

While working isn’t always the ideal way to spend a summer, the money racked in can more than make up for it.  A summer job doesn’t necessarily have to be related to retail or food service.  There are a lot of opportunities to make good money but also enjoy what you’re doing (but that’s not to say that some retail and food service jobs will never meet that criteria!).  Working at a day camp or water park is a good option if you like working with kids.  You can serve either as a counselor or a lifeguard, be able to relax in the sun all day, but still earn your keep.  Babysitting is another viable option if you have the qualifications and the ability to reach out to your community as a trusted sitter.

3. Do Some Summer Cleaning

If you’re one of those people (like me!) who enjoy cleaning out that cluttered basement or garage, take on one of those projects this summer.  It’s a great way to be on your feet and concentrate on a worthwhile task at the same time.  Once the space is cleared, you can even decorate and make the place more “live-able”—who knows, you might have just created a new summer hangout spot!  Even better, your parents may offer to pay you a small sum for the service.

4. Make Some Money off of Your Clutter

Once you’ve cleaned out that living space, you’re probably going to find a lot of old furniture/toys/clothing that you don’t really need anymore (or didn’t even remember having as a kid!).  Talk it over with your parents and see if a garage sale might not be a bad idea.  Other options for your nicer furnishings are to take them to a consignment store in your area.  These stores will typically accept and display your belongings on the storefront for a specified amount of time (perhaps 60-90 days on average) and cut you part of the profits if they sell.  Many other thrift stores will pay you cash on the spot for your items (usually in the clothing and toys category).  Hop online and type in those keywords and your zip code to find such places near you.

5. Earn Money by Taking Surveys

On those slow days when you’re not sure what to do, and feel like making some extra cash, enroll in a few online survey websites that pay you by check or by PayPal for the redemption of a certain amount of points.  This is fun if you already love sharing your opinion.  However, always check first to make sure the site is legitimate (there are scams out there, after all).  The best way to do this is by searching for reviews online by people who have used the site, and likewise by checking the Better Business Bureau website for accreditation.  Once you find the right survey site, you can take multiple questionnaires that may award you points immediately so that the site knows what kind of surveys to match you up with.  It is also recommended by survey takers that you join multiple panels to yield better results and increase the amount of surveys that you qualify for (you will screen out after the first few questions if your answers don’t match the type of person the survey giver wants).  Despite that, if you put the time and effort into it, you can rack up enough points that can be redeemed for a cash payout, or other type of reward.  Just make sure you understand how each site regulates their points/payout system, and you’re good to go!  You won’t get rich off of this by any means, but you may make some spending money.

6. Take on a Crafting Project

I’m also one of those people who love being creative.  One of my early summer projects this month was making a T-shirt quilt out of some old shirts I found shoved into the back of my dresser.  Seeing as I already had sewing materials, the shirts, and one black throw blanket to sew them onto, it only cost me approximately $15 to complete:  $10 for another black throw to sew as the back of the quilt, and $5 for some quilt batting from the local crafting store.  It’s an excellent way to keep yourself busy and make something useful at the same time!

7. Exercise

Whether it’s joining a local gym for the summer, jogging around the neighborhood, or exercising at home, keeping active is a great way to avoid gaining weight during a summer of being stagnant, and to promote positive energy and self-esteem.  Exercising outside especially helps you to get a safe amount of sun (as long as you monitor how long you’re outside and make sure to wear sunscreen) and release more endorphins.  Make it a group activity when you can as well.  Exercising in a social setting can make the act of exercising in itself more enjoyable and doable.  And in the end, who doesn’t want to come back to school in the fall looking their best?

8. Attend a Seminar or Workshop

If there’s something you’re really interested in but don’t have time to pursue at school, summer is the perfect opportunity to let that interest take hold.  If you like art or writing, for example, take some summer writing workshops or art classes that may be offered at your local library or on a nearby school’s campus.  Explore something you’ve always wanted to try, but just never had the time to.

9. Explore the City

I never knew how many attractions were available in my own hometown until after I had already gone away to college.  When I came home for my first summer, many of my college friends who were also from my hometown (but had attended other high schools), showed me a wide array of places I had never been to.  Keep an eye out for areas of town that have great restaurants, bars, and clubs for that fun Friday night with your friends—but also check for some good theatre, museums, and concerts that you may have never known existed.  Larger city parks (like, for me, Forest Park in St. Louis) usually house more than one of these attractions, so just by traveling to one area you can discover a multitude of fun activities.  But as always, remember to stay in a group if you’re in an unfamiliar part of town.  Be safe—while also being classy!

10. Take Some “You” Time!

While it’s great to have an eventful summer, remember to relax and focus on you.  Some alone time can be a good thing.  Keep a journal, decorate your room, shop around the mall—do something that you enjoy that doesn’t necessarily have to be done with other people all the time.

Your entire summer shouldn’t be limited to these ten things, but the most important concept is making sure that you maintain an active summer but also get that feeling of elation.  After all, you did make it through that school year; perhaps you didn’t get all the grades you wanted, or perhaps you were more stressed out than you would have liked.  But regenerating over the summer can certainly lead to a more positive school year in the fall.  The more relaxed and prepared you are for the upcoming semester, the more successful you will be.



Summer Makeovers Just In Time for School


Starting now, there are just over two months of summer until we hit the books! Two months is plenty of time to change for the better and look amazing next time you walk onto campus. I have come up with a few ideas that can really help improve your outer appearance this summer. All of my ideas can be accomplished in two months with a little dedication and a lot of self-control.

The first one involves weight. If you feel that shedding a few pounds will help you to feel better about the way you look there are a few things that you need to start on right away. Your diet is essential when trying to drop extra weight fast. Cut out all sugary beverages, especially pop. If you are a routine pop drinker, simply cutting it out will instantly allow you to drop a couple pounds and feel less bloated. Along with beverages you need to watch what you eat. Try and cut out extra calories you don’t need such as condiments. Eat grilled food instead of fried. Eat a side of veggies or fruit instead of a side of fries. You might feel like your depriving yourself at first, but eating healthy can be fun and become a habit. I used to drink a soft drink a day, I completely cut it from my diet about three years ago and now the thought of drinking it makes me sick. I don’t even want it anymore, the closest I get to carbonation is carbonated water and that’s a rarity.

Besides your diet, you need cardio! Cardio is the only way to burn fat. I hate to break it to you, but sitting still doing yoga poses is not going to burn the fat you want. You have to get busy. Either run, bike, elliptical, or swim. You need something to really get you moving in order to lose extra weight.

If you are satisfied with your weight but you’re what they call “skinny fat,” which is skinny but not toned, it’s time to tone up. Try working with dumbbells to get your arms toned and pretty. Do lunges with weights in your hands to tone up your legs and squats to tone your booty. Yoga and Pilates come in handy for toning as well. You could also do abs videos.  Doing abs in a video always helps me work a little harder than trying to do crunches on my own. There are tons of videos on YouTube that can strengthen your stomach and help you get the lean look you desire. One of my favorites is Thin Q ten minute abs. This video has really helped me out because it slows the abs down and makes you really feel them. You need to do abs every other day, doing them every day will actually not allow you to see the results you want to see.

Another idea to help improve your appearance besides weight is hairstyle. You don’t have to dye your hair a new color to create a change. Try to either grow it out or cut a new style. This summer my goal is to grow mine really long! Another thing to try is to get a nice and pretty tan. Jergen’s natural glow lotion is a healthy way to get an even all over tan in just a week!

Have fun this summer and get to work! It will all be worth it when you walk onto campus confident and happy with the way you look. Surprise all your friends with the new you! Come ready to tackle the books without anything else in your way, be healthy, active, and happy this coming school year.

-Speedy G.

It Is Time to Stop Stressing Out


In college, sometimes things get tough. I’m going to shed some light on how you can help yourself get through these “tough” times and not get too stressed out.

Scenario number one: I need a job! Money is tight for most all college students. If you have time to work but are worried you won’t be able to find a job in your new town, don’t be! I moved from Iowa to Omaha and I wanted a job more than anything. You have to be proactive. I went around to various stores and introduced myself to many managers.  I filled out numerous applications and sure enough, quickly got multiple interviews. The key is to look for a job right at the beginning of the school year. Most part time jobs have seasonal workers who maybe live in your college town but go to school elsewhere. When these employees to away to school, they need people to fill their shoes fast during the school year, it’s perfect! Be confident and go get em!

Scenario number two: Homework overload! College is interesting because although you will suddenly have an abundance of free time, you will also find yourself with insane amounts of homework. If you put two and two together, do your homework in your free time! I know it doesn’t sound like the most fun to use your free time for your studies, but it will benefit you. If you use time between classes or at lunch to study, you can use your evenings to relax. I’ve found myself mastering the art of getting everything done early in the day or afternoon; it’s so nice to be able to relax when dinner time rolls around.

Scenario number three: I got dumped! I know the initial thing to do after being dumped is going to one extreme or the other. Either you don’t eat or you eat the whole pantry. Either you don’t sleep or you sleep your life away. Either you don’t work out or you never stop. Point is, neither extreme is healthy. College brings change that sometimes high school relationships or summer flings can’t handle. If you find yourself suddenly riding solo, embrace it! Think of all the new fish in the college sea. I know at first it will seem as though no one can compare to the one you were with, truth is; only time will tell. If you are supposed to be with that person, eventually it will happen if not, it might as well end sooner than later.  Have fun, remain confident, and don’t always think you NEED to be in a relationship to be happy.

Scenario number four: I’ve gained weight! Everyone has heard of the so called, “freshman 15.” It’s true that college can initially lead to weight gain. This is due to eating at later times in the night, eating more fast food, and not working out as much. Alcohol is also one of the main causes of weight gain in college students.  To fix your sudden weight gain, start with eating right. Pick meals that include each food group, and attempt to snack less. Along with eating the right foods, try and eat all your food before 9 at night. The later you eat, the more food sticks on your body once you sleep. Eating breakfast is one of the main contributors to a healthy diet. Breakfast gets your metabolism going sooner, and leads to less hunger overall throughout the day. If you must go to a fast food restaurant to eat, try and pick a subway or order off the lower calorie menu. The best advice is to just avoid fast food. Other things to avoid include pop and alcohol. These beverages are loaded with a ridiculous amount of calories. If you feel a good workout is in order, just do it! Now that the weather is getting nice, try going for a run or a bike ride. Getting active is a step in the right direction.

I hope if any of my scenarios related to you, my advice will also. Have an awesome last few weeks of school!

-Speedy G.