Katie Kage is a myth buster on a mission. The coordinator of Fitness and Wellness at UNC's Campus Recreation Center is a registered dietitian and health fitness specialist.with a Ph.D. in human science.
As we start a new year, she took a break from busting fitness and nutrition myths in her blog, "Krazy Talk with Dr. Katie," to provide some simple truths and tips to start 2014 off on the right foot.
- Practice active living. Park farther from the office or classroom, take a longer route to or from a meeting or errand and take the stairs instead of elevators.
- Breathe deeply. Taking a break on a stressful day may be hard, but that's exactly when you need it most. Take 10 seconds to stop, breathe deeply and relax, then return your focus to work or studying.
- Stay flexible. Stop periodically through the day—especially during long stretches at the computer or when focused on a task—to roll your shoulders, stretch your neck and open your chest. (If you spend a lot of time at your computer and need break reminders, try a timer app such as "Time Out Free," provides for "microbreaks" as well as longer breaks.)
- Walk away. If you can, set a timer for a one-hour interval, and step away from your desk to walk to a co-worker's office, fill your water bottle, or take a lap around your building. Ten minutes away from your desk can bring clarity and focus when you return to your task.
- Be accountable. Whether you work out with a friend, or simply set goals with him or her, it can help keep you accountable and on-track. Kage says that she and co-workers set a weekly goal for themselves. If everyone makes their goals that week, they are all rewarded with a trip to Greeley's Batter Up bakery for a cupcake. The desire not to let the group down helps keep everyone focused on their individual goals.
- Be realistic. Start with an attainable goal, and you'll be more likely to stay motivated.
- It's not "all or nothing." Kage points out that just because you may miss a workout or overindulge at a meal, you shouldn't write the whole day off or toss your goal for the week. If you can't get out for an hour-long workout, go for a quick walk. Every little bit helps.
- Be kind. "We really need to get rid of the guilt and shame," Kage says. So, along with cutting some calories or bad habits, cut yourself some slack and be kind to yourself.
Kage also urged UNC employees to take advantage of the the campus rec center, which offers faculty and staff reasonably priced resources such as personal training and nutrition consults and massage and fitness classes. The center recently started offering a special rate for faculty and staff during non-peak hours (6 a.m.-2 p.m.). More info.