Being Healthy & Fit in Metro-Detroit

Updated: April 28, 2016, 12:42 pm EST

By Finessa Bedoun

It’s no secret that the benefits of eating well and getting regular exercise are endless. In a state like Michigan, where there are as many cold months as there are warm ones, being creative with how to sneak in a little physical activity when it’s colder comes in handy.

IMG_9443

Wayne State University students can use the fitness center on campus. Carole Gist, M.Ed., the Wellness Coordinator and Personal Trainer at Mort Harris Recreation & Fitness Center at Wayne State University, said that a membership to the Mort Harris gym is included with tuition. The fitness center’s hours accommodate even those with jam-packed schedules.

IMG_9442

Mort Harris Fitness Center

“If you do just a little bit every day, within just a few weeks you’ll start to see the psychological and physiological benefits of regular exercise,” said Gist.

IMG_9445

IMG_9454

Lifetime Fitness Center, Canton, MI.

IMG_9447

For Metro-Detroit residents who live in neighborhoods where they wouldn’t feel comfortable going for a run or walk outside, working out indoors is always an option. Doing simple things like push-ups, jumping jacks, using weights or even following workout programs online or using fitness DVDs are other options. In neighborhoods that aren’t the safest, driving to a park or school and running or walking around the track is another good way of getting a little exercise.

IMG_9450

Canton resident, Dave Thomas, said he enjoys getting outdoors with his dog. He said that walking around his city’s side streets is a great way for he and his dog to get some fresh air and exercise and that he feels safe in his neighborhood.

20160428_110642

 

In the Detroit Tri-County area, there are multiple public gyms in every city.


Metro Detroit Area.


These are just a few results in a Google Maps search of Metro Detroit gyms.

20160428_110821

There is endless evidence and countless resources that show how beneficial getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet are to both the body and mind. A gym membership isn’t the only way to get exercise, nor is it for everybody. Getting outside and going for a run is an excellent way to get in a little physical activity. Something as simple as taking the dog for a walk or using the stairs instead of riding the elevator are great ways of getting extra steps in. There are many reasons why some may not prefer working out in a gym, such as the cost. Other folks may enjoy doing workouts in the comfort of their own homes or enjoy working out outdoors.

20160428_110716

Canton resident, Phil Nelson said he lost 80 pounds by just biking around local metro parks.

Aside from the physical benefits of regular exercise, there are also mental health benefits. Mark Lumley, Ph.D., a professor at Wayne State University and Director of Clinical Psychology Training, explained how regular exercise can have many different positive effects on mental health. Conditions such as depression and anxiety can be eased with exercise.

20160428_110621

 

Similar to how the production of antibodies is connected to exercise and happiness, the “feel good” endorphins that are released with exercise create a positive feeling within the body. According to WebMD, “When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.”

20160428_110555

Here is a list of family fitness centers in Southeast Michigan. More information regarding the benefits of regular exercise can be found here, here and here.

Review of Going Viral

Last Updated: April 5, 2016, 3:22 pm EST

By Finessa Bedoun

goingviral

Image found here.

Going Viral, by Karine Nahon and Jeff Hemsley, was a lot more interesting than I initially thought it would be just by reading the back cover. The concept of something going viral online seems fairly simple, however I learned that there is a more intricate process to it in this book.

Nahon and Hemsley’s included their description of what it means for something to go viral early on in the book – “Viral events are a naturally occurring, emergent phenomenon facilitated by the interwoven collection of websites that allow users to host and share content, connect with friends, and people with similar interests, and share their knowledge. Collectively, these sites have formed a social infrastructure that we refer to as social media. In this new information ecosystem, an individual can share information that can flash across our digitally supported social networks with a speed and reach never before available to the vast majority of people.”

One term I’d never heard previously in this context is “gatekeeping” or “gatekeepers.” Nahon and Hemsley describe gatekeepers as “people, collectives, companies, or governments that, as a result of their location in a network, can promote or suppress the movement of information from one part of a network to another.” One example is Facebook and how Facebook’s network gatekeepers can either promote posts in user’s newsfeeds or “control the flow of information by channeling, ranking, and promoting particular content over other content.” What this means to me is that Facebook’s gatekeepers can control what I do and do not get to see from my friends in my newsfeed, hence controlling the potential virility of some posts over others.

I’d always assumed that once someone published something online, viewers or readers would stumble on it or that they’d see it once it was shared and choose whether or not to share it themselves. I didn’t realize there were gatekeepers who could decide whether or not I see something within my own newsfeed.

Online, people who have large networks can affect how far their tweet or post can reach. Those with smaller networks won’t necessarily have the same impact on how far a post goes as those with larger networks. Regular Joe’s also may not have the same response to their tweets or posts as those who are more influential. Journalists, for example, who are deemed as trustworthy, might have a larger response to their posts and tweets and will reach a greater audience.

Another misconception I had prior to reading the book was that a viral post could include ones that were a little old but that had millions of views. The book clarifies this by stating that a viral post is one that gains many views over a very short period of time. An example of this is Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent audition, which went viral almost immediately, reaching almost 100 million people in just under 10 days.

In the book, the authors also discuss that just because something is popular, either on television or online, that doesn’t necessarily make it viral. When something goes viral, its because it was shared many times over a short period of time. Social media has a lot to do with this. It is incredibly easy nowadays to share things online. I can easily re-tweet a tweet on Twitter or share a post on Facebook or Instagram with something as simple as the click of a button.

I felt that the majority of the book, overall had strong content with lots of examples to support its main points. For example, when the authors describe “gatekeeping” and “gatekeepers,” they immediately dive into giving multiple examples of what gatekeeping is.

One of the major weak points in the book, for me, was that in many parts throughout each chapter, the authors start out with “In this chapter, we will talk about this, this and this,” etc. They do this many times, in every chapter and I found it unnecessary to preface a chapter or many chapters with this same phrase. I found myself skimming through the parts where they said, “we will discuss in this chapter” or “as we discussed in previous chapters.” I thought it distracted from the text and I found myself wanting them to just get to the point. I would have preferred if they had just jumped into the content without stating what they were going to discuss or what they had already discussed.

Overall, I found the book to be interesting and thought it was a good read. I would recommend it to other readers and learned a few things I hadn’t known before about the ways that things can go viral online.

More information about Going Viral, including reviews, can be found here, here and here.

 

Journalistic Integrity

Last Updated: March 31, 2016, 10:02 pm EST

By Finessa Bedoun

Getty Images, Photo Alto/Sigrid Olsson

To what degree is a journalist required to identify himself when using a social network?

Journalists are almost always required to identify themselves using their real names and who they’re working for in the biographical area of whatever social networks they’re using. Seeing as how important it is for journalists to obtain accurate identification from their sources, it only seems fair that they provide the same accuracy when offering information about themselves.

By providing honest, accurate information about themselves, journalists give the impression that they can be trusted, which is something that is important to convey when trying to obtain information from a source, as is discussed in this NPR article.

As with in-person interactions, providing accurate and honest identifying information may help the journalist in getting an interview or in using certain content from a source’s social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Anyone can contact a source and claim to be someone they’re not, so I think it adds to the credibility of the journalist to offer their real name and organization they’re working for. If anything, sources might be more forthcoming with their information if they know they’re dealing with an actual journalist.

On the other hand, however, I do support the idea of journalists being able to go undercover or in using pseudonyms when they absolutely have to and when they have no other choice.  If a journalist is in a situation where they’d rather not be identified as a journalist and are obtaining information while they’re undercover, they should be able to use a pseudonym if it means protecting their own safety.