Coached by the Best

By Erica Jenkins

If you’re looking for a way to fit exercise into your day without going to the gym, try these coach-approved exercises.

Step-Up + Backward Lunge

By Leslie Gillies, Assistant Head Coach of the UT Martin Women’s Soccer Team

  1. Step with right foot onto box, pressing the right heel down while pushing off with the left leg and bringing it next to your right foot.
    Leslie standing upright with right foot planted on step
  2. Pause then step your left leg down in a slow, controlled manner 6-12 inches from the box. Let your right foot follow once the left has safely made contact with the ground.
    Leslie stands upright on step
  3. Step the foot back, landing on the ball of the foot. As this occurs, bend both knees and drop your hips straight down.
    Leslie standing upright with right foot planted on step
  4. When your front thigh is parallel with the floor, extend your knees and hips to stand back up to the start position. The leg you step up with is the same leg you step back with on the backward lunge.
    Leslie lunges in squat position with left foot forward and her right knee bend downward

Variations:

Novice: Novice individuals should use a box that is significantly lower (i.e. ankle or shin height)

Active: Individuals who are very active in strength training may select a box that is no higher than knee height and add dumbbells held at one’s side.

No box: If no box is available, using the bottom step of a stair would also work.

High Plank w/ Variations

By Chris Gillies, UT Martin Strength and Conditioning Coach

Performing the high plank and its different variations can offer excellent options for those who are looking to improve their fitness level. A high plank is simply the “up” position of a push-up and can be performed on time (i.e. 30 seconds) or by number of repetitions (i.e. 10 touches per side).

Proper Positioning

Chris Gillies with both hands on floor balancing on toes

    • Hand Position – Hands are placed under one’s shoulders while being shoulder width apart. Fingers point forward and elbows are fully extended.
    • Foot Position – Feet should be no wider than hip width with weight pressed forward on the tip toes.
    • Flat Back – One’s head should be in front of their hands, forcing the chest to be located between the hands. Force the abdominals and lower back to tighten by squeezing the buttocks together while drawing in the belly button to the spine.

Variations:

      1. Add an alternating toe tap
        Chris Gillies plants both hands on floor stretching right leg
      2. Alternate moving the knees to the chest
        Chris Gillies in crouching position with one knee forward
      3. Incorporate an alternating shoulder tap (touch the right shoulder with the left hand, return to the high plank, followed by touching the left shoulder with the right hand, repeat)
        Chris Gillies positioning one hand on his chest, one hand on floor

Common mistakes include the hips rising up due to the weight shifting back and the head no longer in front of the hands, and the hips sinking to the ground because of not drawing in the belly button and tightening the buttocks. As one begins to tire, these mistakes can become more evident.

Benefits of the Exercise: Many times individuals feel they must go the gym and use weights and machines to get a proper workout. This could not be further from the truth. One’s own body weight can provide great challenges.

What the Exercise Targets: Holding this position challenges the chest, shoulders, abdominals, and back.


Erica Jenkins HeadshotErica Jenkins  Contact
UT System Administration

Erica joined the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing in 2011 and currently serves as public relations associate, specializing in measurement and analytics and managing communication planning for government relations and advocacy initiatives. When she’s not involved in community and campus organizations, Erica enjoys deep sea fishing with her family and working on music. 

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

6 Apps to Kickstart Your Healthy Lifestyle

By Erica Jenkins, PR Associate, Office of Communications and Marketing, UT System Administration

Maximize your smartphone’s capacity by using the six apps below to help jumpstart your healthy lifestyle or take it to the next level.

 

MyFitnessPalMy Fitness Pal app icon
This free app will help you track calories and set intake goals to reach your goal weight with its extensive database of recipes and restaurant items. Invite friends to join the app, and they can connect and encourage you to stay motivated.

 

SWorkItSWorkit app icon
If you’re on the go and still want a great workout, this free app is for you. Set your time and desired intensity or focus area, and this app will instantly create a strength or cardio workout that you can do anywhere.

 

Yoga StudioYoga Studio app icon
Increase your flexibility, strength and focus with this yoga app. For $2.99, you can have a customized yoga class wherever you go. From 15-minute flexibility sessions to quick stretches and hour-long strength training, this app has it all.

 

iTriageiTriage app icon
Not feeling well? Don’t panic or ignore your symptoms. Use this free app, designed by physicians, to check your symptoms and take recommended actions. You also can use the app to create a safe place to store insurance, records and allergies and to manage medications or conditions.

 

MindBody CONNECTMind Body Connect app icon
Save yourself hours of Google searches, and use this app to find classes and wellness activities in your area. From massage to yoga and spin classes, this free app will direct you to the resources you need to find a community of people that enjoy similar activities.

 

LumosityLuminosity app icon
There are plenty of apps to keep your body strong and limber, but Lumosity is the free app that works your mind. Next time you reach to play a game on your phone, try the games on this app instead that are designed to increase your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.


Erica Jenkins HeadshotErica Jenkins  Contact
UT System Administration

Erica joined the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing in 2011 and currently serves as public relations associate, specializing in measurement and analytics and managing communication planning for government relations and advocacy initiatives. When she’s not involved in community and campus organizations, Erica enjoys deep sea fishing with her family and working on music. 

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Fill Your Cup with Facts: Coffee Talk

By John Lacey

When you look at the facts, it’s pretty clear that Americans love coffee.

[Infographic] About 83% of American adults drink coffee, about 63% drink  at least 1 cup per day

According to a 2013 National Coffee Association market research study, about 83 percent of American adults drink coffee, and 63 percent drink at least one cup of coffee per day.

There’s no question that coffee is a big business, but what do the facts say about how all this consumption affects our body?

Here’s the brewdown from Chelsi Wolz, a nutrition research associate and registered dietician working in the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory at UT Knoxville.

[infographic] B2, B3, B5 vitaminsQ: What are the benefits of coffee?

A: Coffee is a low-calorie drink with three essential B vitamins and high amounts of antioxidant components.

 

Recent Research Findings

  • Caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of depression among women and men.
  • Men who consume 6 or more cups of coffee a day may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Coffee is associated with a lower risk of depression and stroke among women and men.
  • Caffeine consumption may have a positive effect on long-term memory.

Q: What are the drawbacks to coffee?

A: Most people add milk, half-and-half or sugar to their coffee or drink specialty drinks, thus increasing the calories. One cup of black coffee is roughly 10 calories, a tall skinny latte from Starbucks is 100 calories and a tall white chocolate mocha latte from Starbucks is 350 calories.

[Infographic] One cup of black coffee is about 10 calories. Sweetened drinks containing milk and sugar can increase caloric intake by ten times

It’s easy to overconsume calories when they’re hidden.

Coffee can lead to caffeine addiction, and trying to cut back can cause headaches and other side effects. And coffee is acidic, so someone with heartburn or acid reflux might experience stomachaches or increased symptoms.


John LaceyJohn Lacey  Contact
UT System Administration

John is a UT graduate and currently works in the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing as a project manager. When he is not enjoying time with his wife and two children, you can find him riding his bike or dreaming up big ideas.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Why I Play Paddleball

By Scott Gordy

Why I Play Paddleball:
Because I have a blast doing it! We’ve got a group of 10 to 12 people who play at lunch two or three times a week. If the weather’s nice, we play outside, and if not, we use the campus rec center.

My Motivation:
Physical activity helps me clear my mind, refocus and boost my metabolism. Going out there puts a fresh perspective on things and sometimes even helps me solve problems—a change of scenery can be good for that.

My Wellness Goal:
I try to keep my weight in check and focus on cardiovascular health.


Scott Gordy  Contact
UT Institute for Public Service
IT Manager

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Making Wellness a Workplace Conversation

Wellness doesn’t start when the workday ends, it’s a 24/7 commitment, and the University of Tennessee understands the role a supportive workplace plays in helping employees live healthy and balanced lives.

Work Healthy UT is a new statewide initiative led by the UT System Office of Human Resources to better communicate the dozens of health and wellness resources available to our employees and to create a network for connecting to others with similar interests, sharing success stories, recommending tips and offering support.

Let us know if there are topics you’re interested in learning more about or stories that would be helpful. We’re also looking for guest bloggers if you’re interested in contributing to the blog.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.