My Week at Uni – Moving Forward

Onwards and upwards. Getting back on track this week. After getting off to a rocky start, this week I’m feeling a lot more grounded and present. This week I prioritised my mental health over uni work and funnily enough the uni work felt easier and more manageable. There’s a great quote from Mahatma Gandhi “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” It’s easy for our self-care to be the first thing to go when we’re busy but making time for the processes that keep us grounded help us to feel less busy and manage the workload in front of us.

Monday we had an awesome 4 hour lecture on behaviour change and diet, Mondays are becoming my favourite day, the lectures are so interesting, none of the learning was new or ground breaking but it was definitely interesting. Tuesday we had a later start than normal and being able to meditate and exercise in the morning changed the day for me. We had a great lecture on muscle growth which was so fascinating. Thursday I decided to attend the lecture from home enabling me to get my exercise and meditation in during the morning and miss the chaos of rush hour underground travel in central London – particularly as there were severe delays on my line!

I didn’t get as much achieved as I’d hoped with my assessments but I got some work done. The most sensible way for me to navigate my way through this semester is to pick and choose where I spend my time – this may be completing lectures online, spending less time commuting and more time looking after my physical and mental well-being.

Personal learning this week: Self-care is always the most important priority.

Interesting things I’ve learnt this week:

  • Our muscle cells do not increase in number but in size – Unlike our bones and organs which lay down more cells, muscle cells do not increase in number, instead they get bigger to contain more sarcomeres. This is what’s known as hypertrophy!
  • Muscle memory is totally a thing – I thought this was just a saying but it has scientific grounding. During a period of training a muscle cell gets bigger and it gains more nuclei, during a period of no training the cell gets smaller again but the additional nuclei do not disappear. This means that when training resumes the muscle regains volume quicker. This is also why exercising when you are younger is so good for you when you get older. This also has interesting implications for doping – if an athlete is caught doping and is banned from competing for a couple of years, are they still at an unfair advantage when they return to competing? What if someone takes steroids at a younger age, comes off them and then competes, nothing would be picked up by any tests but might the athlete still have an advantage over others?
  • Neophobia is a fear of new foods – most children have this; it takes about 8-10 exposures of a new food for a shift to occur and the child to no longer fear the new food. It’s also so useful to add new foods in frequently, the more new foods are added to the diet the less time it will take for the food to be accepted.
  • Barely anyone eats enough fruit and veg – 2018 data showed that only 29% of adults and 18% of children get 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. We all know that we need a lot of vegetables in our diet to provide vitamins and minerals and fibre to help our minds and bodies stay healthy and function optimally. So we do we still struggle to eat enough of these foods? The table below shows what equates to a portion of fruit/veg. How many do you have?

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