Even though it's been quite a while since I've hurried through my high school halls and navigated my way around college campuses, one thing that sticks with me is my desire to learn. I love the History channel, Animal Planet, Morgan Freeman's "Through the Wormhole," and am known to frequent sites such as Iflscience.com and ScienceDaily.com, all of which provide tons of interesting "did you know" factoids and up-to-date studies.
However, sometimes I want more detail than what a one-hour show or scanning of the internet can provide. Of course, my particular interests involve health and wellness...and the occasional heartwarming or hilarious animal video, but I digress. I can't get enough information about physical and mental health!
A while ago, a friend turned me on to Coursera.org, a web site that offers free...yes, FREE (who doesn't like that?!) courses from prestigious educational institutions ranging from Princeton University to the University of Copenhagen. Better yet, upon completion of a course, participants are sent an official certificate from the institution. While a person doesn't earn credits for any courses, the information gained from them is undeniably beneficial.
Here's a few health-related ones that I think are worth exploring. They're great in that they can be coordinated to work with your own schedule; the flexibility of the online world is amazing, isn't it?
These health-related courses are right around the corner, so consider signing up for them sooner than later. Remember, they're completely free, no strings attached.
I'm considering the September 15 course on nutrition. I'm super excited to immerse myself in the world of food label reading and all things nutrition. What about you?
FREE Online Health Courses Worth Exploring
1. Diabetes - a Global Challenge
September 2, 2014 - November 5, 2014
5 weeks of study
3-5 hours of work / week
It's estimated that obesity will affect as much as 1.1 billion people worldwide by 2030.(1) Excess weight not only jeopardizes many aspects of health from increased blood pressure to putting unnecessary strain on the heart, but it's also linked to Type 2 diabetes.(1)
This course is best suited for those who already possess an understanding of diabetes and/or life sciences, however it's not a prerequisite. The sessions include coverage of topics such as genetics and diabetes, physical activity and its influence on insulin resistance and diabetes, and stem cell based therapy.
2. Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights
September 15, 2014 - November 9, 2014
8 weeks of study
2-4 hours of work / week
An introductory-level nutrition course that teaches a range of topics from understanding labels (thank goodness, because this one makes me nuts) to supplements and even food allergies are discussed.
3. Gut Check: Exploring your Microbiome
University of Colorado, Boulder
October 6, 2014 - November 14, 2014
6 weeks of study
3-5 hours of work / week
Much as we spend time trying to keep our gut in check with all kinds of over-the-counter liquids and tablets, we may be doing more help than harm. Our collective efforts to get rid of what is meant to naturally exist in the body can negatively impact health. I'm a huge fan of not popping a pill at the drop of a hat and instead, turning to healthy foods that can keep the body functioning optimally.
This course aims to shed more light on the human gut and its microbes, explaining the important role they play in nutrition, health and even behavior. Who knew?
Go for it! Have fun and happy learning!
Sources for this article include:
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.