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Exercising for Fun

While spending some time searching through my PLN, I came across an article that brought attention to the fact that many people do not view exercise as an enjoyable activity anymore. As kids, when you are running around outside and playing sports, you participate in those activities because you enjoy them. As we get older, the things that keep us physically active tend to be viewed as a chore or an obligation. Exercising is no longer seen as something we are fortunate enough to do, but instead something we force ourselves to battle through.

Personally I have been fortunate enough to find different forms of exercise that work for me that I genuinely enjoy. I realize that that can be fairly uncommon so I came up with a few different ideas to help those struggling with enjoying exercise!

  • Try new classes with friends, or use group classes as an opportunity to connect and meet new people. Exercising can be a lot more enjoyable if you have friends to motivate you
  • Set goals consistently and watch yourself become stronger. Achieving the goals you set for yourself is a great motivator to keep pushing yourself and working towards something every day
  • Don’t take it to serious. If your workout routine is too strict, it is typically easier to fall off track if you are too hard on yourself for missing a workout or two. Have fun with your routine and it won’t feel as much like an obligation or chore
  • Change your perspective! Be grateful that you are healthy and have the ability to be physically active, because not everyone does. Try viewing working out as a reward by being healthy and active instead of a punishment

Research and Applied Project Prospectus

My research article is centered around the regulations of food labeling. Through my research I would like to uncover what regulations food companies have to abide by when labeling their food, and what they can basically make up on their own in an attempt to mislead customers. Many people are not aware that there are few regulations surrounding food labeling. The regulations that are in place have many loopholes and are typically very vague, allowing companies to print things on their labels to fool customers into thinking their product is something that it is not. In my research article my intention is to bring light to these areas and inform customers about what they are actually consuming so they can make more informed decisions at the grocery store.

This topic is important to me because growing up I knew very little about health and the importance of what I was putting in my body. As I got older and became more interested in health and fitness, I started taking my nutrition more seriously and did a lot of research on the topic. Creating my Interdisciplinary Studies program “Health and Fitness Marketing” has allowed me to take many classes that have added to my knowledge and love for nutrition. As I became more knowledgeable in this field I also became more aware of how misleading food labels can be. I realized how many people go to the grocery store and see labels that say things like “heart healthy” or “reduces cholesterol” and do not think to question the authenticity of that information. I myself, was in that same position for a long time where not only did I not know how to correctly read food labels, but I also did not think to question any of the claims these food companies made and fell for misleading information. My idea behind this research article is to broadcast the misleading information that food companies are legally able to sell their customers, then let customers make their own educated decisions from there.

For my applied project I plan to create a booklet of information and tips that can act as a guideline for customers to make healthy choices when shopping in the grocery store. This booklet will be filled with information on false advertisement food labels, healthy food alternatives and what things you should focus on when walking through the isles at the grocery store. My intention behind this applied project is to give individuals the tools they need to make the best healthy choices at the grocery store. Many people have the desire to lead a healthy lifestyle but lack the education and tools needed to be successful with it. This booklet can act as a guideline for people to gain knowledge on proper nutrition and the foods they should be buying, and staying away from, to reach their health goals.

Timeline:

Week 1: Start research and adding sources

Week 2: Continue researching sources and start outline

Week 3: Outline complete, begin adding content to outline

Week 4: First rough draft complete, begin revising

Week 5: Final draft complete

Sources:

  • Vaughn, Peggy, editor. Food Markets : Consumer Perceptions, Government Regulations and Health Impacts. Nova Science Publishers, 2016.
  • Curtis, Patricia A, editor. Guide to Us Food Laws and Regulations. Second edition., Second ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
  • Berryman, Paul, editor. Advances in Food and Beverage Labelling : Information and Regulations. Woodhead Publishing, 2015.
  • Gupta, Rajul Kumar, et al., editors. Food Safety in the 21st Century : Public Health Perspective. Academic Press, 2017.
  • Watson, Ronald R, and Victor R Preedy. Genetically Modified Organisms in Food : Production, Safety, Regulation and Public Health. Elsevier Science, 2016.

Research and Applied Project Ideas

  • I am working on the topic of food label regulations because I want to find out the laws and regulations behind the industry in order to help my reader understand better how to decipher which of their food labels are regulated and which are not.

This topic interests me because there are so many misconceptions in the food labeling industry that the general public are not aware of. Many food products claim to be heart heathy or all natural, yet the laws for regulating that information are very vague, allowing companies to misinform buyers. 

  • I am working on the topic of the cost of living a healthy lifestyle because I want to find out if eating healthy is more expensive than eating processed junk foods in order to help my reader understand better the cost difference between lifestyles.

The reason why I find this topic so interesting is because the argument that eating a balanced nutritious diet is much more expensive than eating high calorie processed foods has been around for years. Most people can agree that fast food might be more convenient and more readily assessable at times, but is it really cheaper? 

  • I am working on the topic of the effectiveness of popular fad diets because I want to find out their benefits and risks in order to help my reader understand better healthy ways to go about weight-loss. 

The reason this topic interests me so much is because the popularity behind different fad diets has created an extremely profitable industry. Despite these diets being so popular, I would like to research whether any of the most current ones are actually effective and safe. 

  • I am working on the topic of the risks of consuming genetically modified products because I want to find out the danger behind GMOs in order to help my reader understand the facts behind this controversial topic

This topic interests me because there is a lot of conflicting information today about the harmful side effects of producing and consuming GMOs. Although there is not a lot of research to back many claims, much of the general public is lost when it comes to the dangers of GMOs. 

Applied Project

  • Create a pamphlet that instructs individuals that are interested in adopting a healthy lifestyle on how to get started in the process. Many people have the desire and want to change their lifestyle but are unsure about the first steps they should take. My idea is to create a reference for them that can assist in starting their journey.
  • Creating a workout and nutrition plan for a handful of friends and family and documenting their progress and journey.

My PLN Plan

My plan for my personal learning network is to continue utilizing my Twitter account for networking and connecting with other professionals in my field. Most people view this social media platform for entertainment purposes only, but Twitter can actually be a great tool for sharing informative articles and connecting with others in the industry. I have discovered so many informative and useful accounts since creating my PLN Twitter account that I look to often for new information.

Twitter is a great way to keep up to date on what is going on in both aspects of my major. Both in the health and fitness fields as well as business and marketing, I was really impressed with how much great content there is if you just take the time to look. Twitter has given me the opportunity to connect with personal trainers, nutritionists as well as professionals in the business and marketing industry, which is so important for me as I approach graduation in just a few short months.

I would like my PLN to be very public. The idea of connecting with other young professionals in the industry and collaborating with them is something I’m very interested in. The best way to further an industry is for industry professionals to collaborate and work together. I would love to be able to connect with other students and people with shared interests, and hopefully be able to make contributions of my own in the future.

Updated IDS Journey

I came to Plymouth State University three years ago, unsure of what direction I wanted to go. I spent the majority of my time here as an undecided major, constantly thinking about what my future at PSU would look like, or if I would even have one. It was not until my second year at Plymouth State that I discovered an intense passion for health and fitness. I would spend hours every night at the HUB gym releasing all my frustration and stress. At the time, I was going through a lot personally and I truly believe that my newfound passion for fitness was exactly what I needed during such a difficult time in my life.

I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my mother about a year ago. She told me that as a kid growing up I never finished much. I would play a sport for a while, then get tired of it, pick up new hobbies and then move on to something different. I always had a new favorite thing whether it was a movie or food, every couple weeks it would change. Despite this continuous pattern of mine, health and fitness was the first thing my parents have seen me light up about more and more as time went on as opposed to seeing that light dim over time. After discovering the health and fitness world, I decided in my sophomore year of college to leave an unhealthy relationship, better myself mentally and physically, and devote my life to sharing this new passion of mine. Since making these lifestyle changes I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. After seeing how the fitness industry has impacted my life, I have decided my mission is to teach others as a fitness instructor in hopes that it could impact others lives as it has mine.

The first experience I had training an individual was with my mother. She was roughly 70 pounds overweight and suffered from high blood pressure that required medication. Although I was only learning, and still am, I convinced my mom to let me show her how these lifestyle adjustments could change her perspective on health, fitness, and life in general. Reluctantly, she agreed and after many weight training sessions, meal plans and a lot of hard work, my mother successfully lost all of her excess weight and became a much healthier individual. Ironically enough, my mom was so inspired and passionate about this new lifestyle, just as I was, that she decided to open her own personal training gym in our hometown. Being able to coach someone that had very little knowledge of health and fitness, and knowing I was a small part of my mom’s new passion to live a healthy and inspiring life is indescribable. This motivated me even more to push myself towards creating a degree I know will benefit my future career immensely.

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At first glance, a degree in Health Promotion seemed like exactly what I was looking for. I began taking some health-related courses last year but still felt there was something missing. My dream is to open my own personal training gym one day and be able to train clients online as well as in my own gym, one on one. Although a Health Promotion degree would help me towards this goal, I felt as though combining a health degree and a business degree is exactly what my future goals require. Just last semester, not having any knowledge of the Interdisciplinary program at PSU, I never thought this would be possible. Luckily enough, I met with an amazing advisor to discuss my options, and found out about the possibilities of receiving an Interdisciplinary degree. This option seems like the perfect fit for me to build my knowledge in the health and fitness industry as well as the necessary knowledge and foundation I need to start my own business.

I’ve carefully selected classes I believe will benefit my future in the health and business fields. BU 2450 Principles of Marketing was one of the first business classes I took at PSU which taught me a lot about different aspects on how to market a business. Having the knowledge I do about my mom’s gym, I know marketing is a huge part of this industry. BU 3340 Consumer Behavior covered a lot of information on what consumers look for and how to better market towards the demands and needs of consumers. BU 3370 Branding and Marketing Communication teaches you how to make your brand stand out from competitors through advertising and marketing strategies. This class has taught me how to analyze data and figure out the best marketing techniques to maximize profits. BU 3480 Social Media Strategy focuses on promoting your business through the always changing social media, and the power of communicating and engaging with consumers through different social media platforms. This will be particularly important for the online portion of my future business. BU 4260 Interpersonal Relations teaches necessary managerial, communication and problem-solving skills required to run a successful business. BU 3420 Organizational behavior is another course I plan to take at Plymouth State that develops leadership skills, organization skills and other core things that are necessary when owning a business.

In regards to the health portion of my major, I have selected classes that are not only extremely interesting to me, but will give me the necessary knowledge I need to be a successful part of the health and fitness industry. HE 2400 Physical Activity and Health provides me with a foundation for examining health and fitness, assessing fitness and learning about exercise guidelines. HE 3200 Stress Management provides you with different modes of managing stress, which is a big contributor to weight gain. PE 2428 Flexibility, Core and Balance Training provides instruction necessary for health fitness professionals including preforming, analyzing and instructing a variety of physical activity applications. PE 1999 Health Risk Appraisal is a course I had transferred from a previous college. It provided me with important knowledge on how to safely preform exercises including proper form and posture and how to analyze the body to avoid injury during physical activity. PE 2755 Intro to Exercise Science Profession /Essentials for Exercise Science is the other class I had transferred to PSU that grew my knowledge in the fitness field a lot. This course covered basics of exercise science including nutrition, analyzing body composition, developing workout plans for clients and how to conduct meetings with new and potential clients. PE 3570 Kinesiology is the study of human movement, which for a fitness professional is key to understanding proper form during movement. In order to be prepared for these classes I will be taking several other courses including anatomy and physiology as well as Resistance Training techniques but did not include those in my contract.

PE 2850 Wellness Choices for a Healthy Active Lifestyle is a class that taught me how to encourage positive healthy goals in all aspects of life. This included nutrition, fitness, weight management and body image, among many other aspects of health. PE 3580 Physiology of Exercise teaches you about how the body functions during physical activity to understand the effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal systems. PE 4010 Exercise and Health Psychology focuses on physical activity behavior including health behaviors, psychological growth and different techniques to enhance the health of other individuals.

I believe the combination of these courses will provide me with the degree and foundation I need to create a successful personal training business. Instead of just having vast knowledge in one of these fields, receiving a degree that is both business and health/fitness focused will prepare me that much more for my future in owning my own personal training business. I am extremely grateful to have found a career path that I am not only passionate about, but that the Interdisciplinary program has allowed me to create.

Updated Journey:

Since submitting my application and having my program accepted, I’m one step closer to earning my degree. I can’t really say that much has changed as far as my application and program go, although I’ve definitely been preparing myself for graduation and whats to come after that. One thing that has changed since my application essay is the summer internship I recently completed. I was given the opportunity to work for a local real estate company based out of the White Mountains. Over the course of the summer I was in charge of the companies blog posts, ads and social media marketing. Through this I was able to really expand my knowledge in the marketing field as well as put some of my prior knowledge to the test. I learned a lot about myself and my abilities throughout the summer and gained a lot of confidence within the marketing field. Although marketing is only one half of my degree, it has really opened my eyes to the different possibilities that could be available to me after graduation. My dream is still to work within the health and fitness field but it was really interesting to see what I could do if I eventually decide to utilize my marketing skills in a different way.

Intellectual Journey

Looking back on the path that led me to my current IDS major and where I’m at in terms of my education, I think my time at Plymouth State has definitely taken me in a direction I never really thought I would be. I grew up in Southern New Hampshire and attend the largest high school in the state, Pinkerton Academy. I always knew I would go to college but was never really set on a particular major. Because of this, I decided to take a year off between college and high school to really figure out the direction I wanted to go. Despite this gap year, I always remained hopeful that if I could increase my workload, I could ultimately graduate with my class. When I got to PSU four years ago, I entered as an undecided major and remained that way for almost 1 year. Finally I decided to declare a business administration major, which seemed like the sensible decision at the time. While I have learned a tremendous amount from the business classes I have taken over the course of my college career, for me personally, if I don’t feel passionate about the material I’m learning, I find it hard to motivate myself to put forth my best work.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I really got into fitness. This year was by far the hardest of my college career, and arguably my life, dealing with stress at home, in school and in a very toxic relationship. The gym quickly became a place for me to clear my head and gave me a much more positive outlook on many aspects of my life. By my junior year, I began taking different health courses that interested me, and my passion for health and fitness really grew from there. After speaking to my advisor about changing my major to a health focused one this late in my college career, she didn’t recommend it for someone in my position, still hoping to graduate with my original class.

This is when I was introduced to the Interdisciplinary Studies major. My advisor explained how it was a great option for someone like me who at the time was almost halfway done with my college degree and had an almost equal combination of business and health classes. At first I was skeptical like many people when they hear about IDS majors, but looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding my college education. Interdisciplinary Studies has allowed me to combine my more practical interests for business and marketing with my passion for health and fitness. Another thing I love about my IDS major is that it encourages you to look at situations from different angles. As I’m approaching graduation I feel as though I’m almost at an advantage because not only do I have this knowledge about health and fitness, I now know how to market those skills much better than someone with a health focused degree would. Although it was a long road to get here, I’m really happy with my decision to declare and Interdisciplinary major and all the doors it will open for me in my future career.

Scholarly Article

The article I found explains the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in college majors and how entry level students, or new college students should be exposed to this kind of learning before graduating. The author argues that most colleges teach majors so focused in one disciple, which only exposes students to one way of learning. It is common for students to go their whole college career without being exposed to interdisciplinary approaches to learning.

There are many issues associated with extremely discipline focused majors and that style of learning. Interdisciplinary perspective gives students insight to questions that traditional learning can’t provide. “While hearing professors talk about disciplines as disciplines, and thereby distinguishing and connecting fields of study, students develop tools to frame questions about a single topic from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. And, with the introductory and summary materials presented by the course instructor, students specifically begin to decode their field of study.” Although I’m still very new to this style of learning and Interdisciplinary studies in general, I already feel like to have the tools to solve problems from a different approach.

“Insiders or experts know that disciplines, interdisciplines, and area studies are more than methods, tools, and queries. They are professional homes—places to

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interact with colleagues, to test ideas, and to organize support for the study of an area.” This reminded me of of the PLN that we have created over the course of the semester. This type of learning encourages professionals to interact, connect and share ideas and thoughts with those that have similar interests. This proves the theory of connected learning and openness in education. Collaborating across different disciplines is growing to be the new way of learning!

https://www-tandfonline-com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/doi/full/10.1080/87567555.2014.977215

Personal Learning Network

A PLN, or personal learning network is a place that individuals develop just that, their personalized network of fellow professionals and resources in their field. In our Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies class, we used Twitter as our PLN where we were encouraged to connect and engage with others in our field of interest over the course of the semester.

The cool thing about this assignment and PLNs in general, is that it doesn’t feel like work. I spend a lot of my free time following fitness professionals as well as business and marketing professionals, so developing my PLN was a pretty easy task. A lot of the people I chose to follow are certified personal trainers that post informative articles, studies and other things that were really interesting to

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connect with and learn from. I also followed a lot of business professionals over the course of the semester. In my social media strategy class we were required to develop a PLN as well, so it really pushed me to develop my person learning network in both areas of my major.

“Open Pedagogy,” as we engage with it, is a site of praxis, a place where theories about learning, teaching, technology, and social justice enter into a conversation with each other and inform the development of educational practices and structures.” This is a place where you have the freedom to share whatever content you want relating to your profession to learn from and build off of. This goes hand in hand with connected learning, which encourages open digital learning and communication that is accessible to anyone.

My PLN has given me the opportunity to connect with other individuals and professionals in my field that I can learn from and connect with. It also allows me to share things I’m passionate about in my future profession and build a respectable PLN that hopefully in the future will inspire others to do the same.

Favorite Courses

The majority of the courses I took this semester were more business based. Although I wouldn’t necessarily say these classes were the most interesting, I did learn a lot through them. Personally, business courses to me can be very boring, but I think the skills they teach you can be applied to almost any job you have in the future. Two courses that I took this semester that taught me a lot were Branding and Marketing Communication, and Social Media Strategy.

Branding and Marketing communication was a really interesting course because there is a lot of openness for interpretation in that class. Every week you write an essay on an assigned topic, but there is a lot of room to get creative with it. For example, one week we were required to write an essay about brand acquisition. There is a general outline to follow, but you are free to write about whatever brands stand out to you and interest you. Another one of my favorite assignments was to use The Aacker Brand Personality Scale which includes the following five factors of brand personality: Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication and Ruggedness. For all of these categories, we had to pick one brand we felt fit in that category best and explain why. I like this approach to learning because instead of just memorizing definitions and being tested on them, you learn things in real life situations and apply that knowledge in the essays each week.

Social Media Strategy was honestly probably my least favorite course this semester, but I do feel like I gained a lot of knowledge from it. Aside from it being really difficult and time consuming, it really pushed me to to learn new concepts of marketing and how they can be applied to real life situations in business.

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Some of my favorite things we did in this class were utilizing Instagram polls to gain public opinions and feedback. We also used Twitter at least once a week to expand our network and connect with classmates and other professionals. I like that this class provided me with the skills to utilize social media in a way that will generate business. In the fitness industry, social media usage is huge so I know I will be able to use what this course taught me in my future career.

The skills I’ve learned through these two courses connect to my major because like Interdisciplinary studies, they don’t necessarily follow the traditional approach to learning. They give you the opportunity to be creative and look at things fro, a different perspective. This style of learning really helps me retain the information I’ve learned over the course of the semester and provides me with skills I can actually see myself using in my future career which is really exciting!

What IDS has done for me

Coming into the Introduction to Interdisciplinary studies class, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t really even familiar with what Interdisciplinarity is. The major was suggested to me by a previous advisor after I had gone back and forth between several majors, transferred schools, then came back to PSU. At that point I was extremely frustrated with the direction my degree was going. After two years of college complete, I felt like I had accomplished nothing and was almost ready to give up. Luckily, this is where IDS saved my chance at earning the degree I could actually be passionate and proud of. I would define Interdisplinarity as combining different studies into one complete package. I could have continued down the path I was going and received a health degree or a business degree. In either of those cases, I felt as though I was missing a huge part of what I needed to be successful. I’m extremely thankful that I was presented with the opportunity to customize a degree that will give me all the tools I need to start a successful career.

I came into the course with an open mind, but I knew the style of the class in general was going to be a lot different than many classes I had taken in the past. I did some research before committing to the major and looked into the different majors previous students had created. I knew right from the start that if I was going to create my own major, I would base it around health, fitness and business. I saw some previous students had created similar majors, so I knew this was a good direction I was heading in. Receiving an Interdisciplinary studies degree was a little scary at first. Most students take a more traditional approach to college and receive a degree in a structured major. I’m glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go against the norm to do what works best for me and my future.

My understanding of IDS has changed so much over the course of the semester. At the start, I knew nothing about what Interdisiplinarity was. Now, in just one short semester, I have created my own major and have a new understanding and appreciation for this style of learning. Traditional learning seems very outdated now. There are so many different components of jobs and businesses, so it makes much more sense that an education would have the same approach.

Open educational resources is a huge part of this Interdisciplinary class. Having

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access to materials without being required to purchase hundred dollar books is amazing. I believe everyone should have the same opportunity to expand their knowledge and grow no matter their financial status. This could potentially be the new way of learning. Instead of teachers requiring their students to purchase five different books because just one doesn’t have the right material, they could provide their students with everything they need in one place, for free.

Another concept that really stuck out to me was drilling down. This is the process of breaking problems down into smaller pieces to better understand and solve that problem. This can really be applicable to any situation in life, but with my major in particular it has been very useful. My future goal is to own my own personal training gym, so this concept can be applied in business as well as fitness aspects of my career to effectively problem solve.

My hope for the future is to have a career I’m passionate about. After graduating I plan on working to become a certified personal training and gain experience in the field. My ultimate goal of owning my own personal training gym still seems like a big dream, but I’m confident that my degree and the education I’ve received at PSU will help me to get there.