Challenge #8

Improve Your Posture!

QuasimodoHere are some tips for improving your posture so you don’t end up like this because of bad posture!

• Be mindful. The first step to good posture is being aware of how your body is aligned and adjusting it throughout the day.
• Don’t hunch over your desk. Sit comfortably with your legs flat on the floor or supported on a foot stool. Avoid crossing your legs.
• Adjust your seat. When driving, your knees should be level with your hips and your arms should be close enough to the wheel that they are slightly bent.
• Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Try to sleep in a position which helps you maintain the curve in your back, such as on your back with a pillow under your knees.
• Take breaks. Whether you’re sitting at your computer or driving in the car, take a stretch break every 30 minutes to prevent muscle fatigue.

To win this week’s raffle: Upload a picture to Sargent College’s Facebook page with your perfect posture, or post how Karen Jacobs’ tips helped your posture!

Challenge #7

MyPlate Challenge

To help you complete this challenge, follow the tips below:

• Find recipes, information and helpful tips at
• Make at least half your grains whole grains
• Boost your nutrition and feeling of fullness by rounding out meals and snacks with vegetables and fruits. Most people have to make an effort to get the recommended amounts. To make it easier, keep your freezer stocked for convenience. Use whole fruit instead of juice to boost fiber intake.
• Avoid allowing yourself to become too hungry. You know the feeling, you become so hungry you would eat absolutely anything. Eating the MyPlate way becomes that much harder in that state of mind. Become a smart snacker to avoid those “hunger-goggles.”
• Pace yourself. Eat slowly and savor every bite. It can take time for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.
• Don’t forget to remain physically active, click here for some tips.

To win this week’s raffle: Upload a picture to Sargent College’s Facebook page with the appropriate portions as shown in the MyPlate food icon, or post a description of your MyPlate meal.

Challenge #6

Embrace Mini-Meditations

Watch this video on YouTube

Adam's tips to complete this week's challenge:

1. Sit comfortable with your feet on the floor.

2. Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Fill your lungs from the bottom up like a water jug. Commit to a good exhale with each breath.

3. Choose a word that has some soothing significance to you and say it to yourself each time you breathe out.

4. Allow yourself to get lost in this rhythmic breathing and your key word for a few minutes. Throughout the time feel stress drop from your shoulders and your body with each breath.

5. After five minutes, return your focus to the world around you - feeling a renewed energy and clarity of mind.

Mini-Meditation Goal - Find three times each day to settle yourself and practice your mini-meditation.

To win this week’s raffle: Post a comment to Sargent College’s Facebook page & tell us how the mini-meditations have affected your mental and physical health and stress levels.

Challenge #5

Stretch it out!

This week, we’re working with FitRec to challenge you to take a look at your flexibility. Flexibility is very important because it helps to reduce muscular tension, decrease soreness, better perform activities of daily living, and prevent injury.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching all major muscle tendon units 5-7 days per week. Each stretch should be held for 15-60 seconds and repeated up to 4 times.

For this week, we challenge you to watch the videos below and see if you can perform these stretches at least 5 times during the week. Remember, stretching should be done when the muscles are warm and supple, so walk around or do 5-10 minutes of cardiovascular activity before your stretches.

*Please note: Consult your physician for clearance before engaging in physical exercise. If you have any questions regarding your numbers or exercise, ask your physician, a trainer at FitRec or a trainer at your own gym.

Dates 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

To win this week’s raffle: Either post to Sargent College’s Facebook page with the stretches you did this week or upload a picture of yourself stretching (with good form, of course!)


1.       Calf Stretch

2.       Quad and Hip Flexor Stretch

3.       Gluteal Stretch

4.       Back Stretch

5.       Hamstring Stretch

6.       Gluteal/ Low Back Stretch

7.       Inner Thigh Stretch

8.       Chest Stretch

9.       Tricep Stretch

10.   Bicep Stretch

Challenge #4

Get Moving!

walk photo

Okay, it’s not summer anymore but it’s still nice out! All the more reason to get outside and walk around – and what better place to do it than the city of Boston?

Regular exercise is essential to weight management and improves overall health, well-being and mood, but it often gets pushed aside due to our many other commitments.  However, even if you don’t have enough time to get to the gym during this busy time of year, you can still renew your commitment to making exercise a part of your life. One of the easiest and best ways to get this exercise is simply to walk –and it’s a great cardiovascular activity! So what if you don’t have lots of extra time? Use the following ideas to help you get the exercise you need:

  • Schedule a time to walk. Set aside a time to go on a short walk outside just like you schedule time for homework or other activities.
  • Have friends join you. The more fun you make your exercise routine, the easier it will seem.
  • Park farther away and walk a little more to your destination.
  • Set a goal. Use the pedometers we handed out at the Comm Ave Fair to track your steps each day. Set a goal for the week and walk each day to meet that goal. The ultimate goal: Try to reach 10,000 steps each day!

Need some inspiration? Our very own Danka Charland started a pedometer walk from Boston to San Francisco on March 17, 2010 and when she reached SF, continued on to pursue Anchorage, Alaska. After reaching Anchorage, she will continue on to Moscow and then to Poland through Gdansk, and finally to Borzestowo, her home town in Poland. Danka’s total route is 11,093 miles long and she hopes to reach her destination on July 15, 2013.

To win this week’s raffle: If you have one, upload a picture of your pedometer that shows the amount of steps you’ve taken so far to Sargent College's Facebook page. If you don’t have a pedometer, time yourself when you walk and post a comment telling us how long you’ve walked so far.

Challenge #3

Go Vegetarian!

This challenge comes from Sargent Choice – our partner in healthy eating. In honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, we’re challenging you to go vegetarian at least 3 days this week! There’s a whole national backing to this idea, it’s called Meatless Monday. It’s pretty incredible to think that producing a hamburger requires the same amount of water that you would use by taking 40 showers using a low-flow shower nozzle! Imagine the difference you can make if you went vegetarian just once a week every week!

Sargent Choice partnered with Sabrina Pashtan, Sustainability Coordinator for Dining Services, to create a campaign called Make a Difference Mondays. Each Make a Difference Monday the dining halls go pork- and beef-free and serve as many local foods as possible. The first Make a Difference Monday is today so be sure to check out the dining halls’ selections & gather ideas for the rest of the week!

What are some other reasons for going vegetarian?

  • Like we said, what an impact on the environment!
  • Cheaper on your wallet
  • Good for your health
  • More variety in your diet
  • An excuse to try out new recipes!

Tips for Going Vegetarian:

  • Start small - if an entire day of vegetarian eating is too much try out just one meal
  • Think it might be too hard to go veg as a student eating in the dining hall? Keating Simmons, Dietetic Intern, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center is here to help, check out her tips here and check out our other vegetarian-related posts.
  • If you’re a parent with picky kids, and think vegetarian meals are way out of the picture turn to Meal Makeover Moms.  Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD are both Sargent Alumni and cook up some tasty kid friendly vegetarian recipes.
  • Experiment with new recipes! Check out Vegetarian Times and Post Punk Kitchen for some inspiration!

To win this week’s raffle: Upload a picture of one of your vegetarian meals to Sargent College’s Facebook page or tell us what your vegetarian meal was!

Challenge #2

Know Your Numbers

This week, we’re working with FitRec to challenge you to calculate your numbers and put them to good use during your fitness activities. FitRec encourages you to find your Body Mass Index (BMI) and your Target Heart Rate. These will, in turn, help you figure out how hard you should be working out, how long you should be working out for, and how to achieve a healthy BMI.

For this week, we challenge you to find your numbers and use them when you exercise. Use the formulas below and work to complete the recommended amount of exercise time for the week.

*Please note: Consult your physician for clearance before engaging in physical exercise. If you have any questions regarding your numbers or exercise, ask your physician, a trainer at FitRec or at your own gym.

Gender Age in years Weight in pounds Height in inches

1) BMI (Body Mass Index)

Your BMI is a weight to height ratio that is used as an indicator of health and disease risk. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute).

Here’s how you figure it out: BMI = Weight (kg)/ Height (m2)

a)      Weight in pounds __________ x 0.45 = __________ kg

b)      Height in inches __________ x 0.0254 = (a) __________

  1. (a) __________ x (a) _________ = __________ height in m2

c)       BMI = weight ______(kg) / height __________ (m2)

Your BMI = __________

Here's what that number means:

Body Mass Index
Under weight <18.5
Normal 18.5-24.9
Overweight 25.0-29.9
Obesity, Class
I 30.0- 34.9
II 35-39.9
III ≥ 40

(Modified from Expert Panel: Executive summary of the clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation and treatment of overweight and obesity in Adults. Archives of Medicine [1998] 158: 1855-1867.)

2) Target Heart Rate Range/ Target Heart Rate

Your target heart rate is an indicator of intensity and a range of how fast your heart should be during exercise. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends cardiovascular exercise for health benefits such as: reducing risk for heart disease and diabetes. ACSM 2010 recommendations are as follows:

  • Exercise 3-5 days per week.
  • Work out at a moderate intensity at least 30 minutes 5 days a week or work out at a vigorous intensity 20-25 minutes 3 days a week.
  • Exercises should include continuous large muscle movement for a prolonged period of time and increased heart rate.
Frequency 3-5 days per week
Intensity 40-85% of HRRa combination of moderate 40-60% HRR (you can converse in short sentences 3-5 words) and vigorous ≥ 60-85% HRR (conversation is limited to one word answers) intensities is recommended although deconditioned individuals will benefit from levels as low as 30-40% HRR
Time moderate intensity ≥30 minutes on ≥ 5 days per week or 20-25 minutes of vigorous intensity >3 days per week
Type Exercises should include continuous large muscle movement for a prolonged period of time and increase heart rate. Examples: biking, swimming, walking, jogging, skating, rowing

American College of Sports Medicine. 2010. ACSM’s Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription [8th ed.]. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Here’s how you figure it out:

1)      Find your resting heart rate. You will need a watch or clock with a second hand for this activity. Sit quietly for 5-10 minutes and relax. At the end of that time you will take your pulse at your radial artery (inside of the wrist, thumb side). Count the beats for one full minute. This is your resting heart rate (RHR) __________ bpm (beats per minute)

2)      Next you will plug numbers into this equation:

(a)    220-age = Age predicted max heart rate (MHR)
220- __________ = __________ MHR

(b)   MHR- RHR = Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)
__________ - __________ = HRR

(c)    (HRR x 0.40) + RHR = low end of your range

(__________ x 0.40) + ________  = _________ bpm (low end of your range )

(d)   (HRR x 0.85) + RHR = high end of your range

( __________ x 0.85) + RHR = __________ bpm (high end of your range)

(e)   Your Target Heart Rate Range is: __________ bpm to __________ bpm

3)      You can narrow your range depending on:

(a)    Goal

(b)   Fitness Level

(c)    Risk Factors or orthopedic limitations

(d)   Level of motivation

To win this week’s raffle: Find your target heart rate and post it to Sargent College’s Facebook page or tell us how you did with the ACSM’s exercise recommendations!

Challenge #1

Give Yourself a Breakfast Boost

You probably hear all the time that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but it’s the truth! Starting your day off right with a healthy breakfast gives your body the energy and fuel it needs to perform well during your busy day.

Omitting breakfast does not lead to weight loss. In fact, it likely does the opposite. Research conducted by the Harvard Medical School reveals that people who eat breakfast are a third less likely to be obese than those who don’t eat breakfast. Additionally, breakfast-eaters are half as likely to develop blood-sugar problems. By eating breakfast, you decrease your chances of becoming overly hungry during the rest of the day, and therefore decrease your chances of overeating in later hours.

So what should a healthy breakfast include? A balanced breakfast should contain protein (low fat meats, beans, eggs or soy) and fiber (whole grains, vegetables or fruits) to keep you satisfied until lunchtime. Avoid sugary cereals, white breads and pastries which are digested quickly and will leave you feeling hungry. Also, beware of high-calorie muffins (go for a Sargent Choice muffin instead!).

Try these suggestions for quick and healthy breakfasts you can easily incorporate into your daily routine:

  • Low-fat yogurt sprinkled with low-fat granola and fruit
  • Oatmeal with low-fat or fat-free milk and an apple
  • Whole-wheat toast with a thin spread of low-fat peanut butter
  • Low-sugar cereal with sliced banana and an orange
  • Fruit smoothie made with frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt and juice

To win this week's raffle: Upload a picture of your breakfast or post a comment to Sargent College's Facebook page & tell us what your healthy breakfast was. Each person who posts will be entered into the raffle to win this week's prize!

Take the Challenge!

HLS Logo

Get your sneakers on, your cook book ready, and get ready for the challenge - BU Sargent College is helping you stay healthy! And we’re inviting the BU Community (students, faculty & staff) to participate. Each week, we will post a new challenge for participants to complete over the course of the week. We've partnered with a bunch of fantastic BU organizations and Sargent faculty members to bring you these challenges so each will be focused on a different area of health. Challenges will range from fitness to nutrition to overall healthy living strategies and will help you in your quest to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

At the end of each week, we will raffle off a prize. Here’s how to win the raffle: follow the directions posted for each challenge on and you’ll be entered into the weekly raffle to win gift certificates to fun places around Boston!

The Challenge Begins

The first challenge will be posted to our Facebook wall on Monday, September 12 and we'll be celebrating with a kick-off event in the Sargent lobby! Starting at 7:15am that morning, we'll be in the lobby promoting the very first challenge and handing out a special treat to help you kick off your Monday and send you on your way to completing the first challenge. These treats are first come, first serve so make sure you come by early to snag one!

Challenges will be posted every Monday so be sure to check the blog each week. We'll also be posting them to Facebook &  Twitter so you won't miss it!