The shortest route to better health comes in small steps rather than giant leaps. Little changes are easier than big ones, yet add up to great improvements over time. Each small step is movement in a healthier direction and far better than grand goals that prove too ambitious to attain. Here are 10 small steps to get you on the road to good health.
1. Take a 5-minute walk. Take a five-minute walk during your lunch break. Almost everyone can walk for this short time period. Next week increase it to ten minutes.
2. Give yourself a lift. Lifting a hardcover book or a 2 lb.weight a few times a day can help tone your arm muscles. When that becomes a breeze, move on to heavier items.
3. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day. Fruits and vegetables, packed with fiber and phytochemicals, taste good, and are good for everything from your brain to your bowels.
4. Make breakfast count. Start the day with some fruit and a serving of whole grains, like oatmeal, bran flakes, or whole-wheat toast.
5. Stop drinking your calories. Cutting out just one sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-laden latte can easily save you 100 or more calories a day. Over a year, that can translate into a 10-pound weight loss.
6. Have a handful of nuts. Try grabbing a handful of heart healthy walnuts, almonds, or peanuts instead of chips or cookies when you need a snack.
7. Sample the fruits of the sea. Eat fish or other types of seafood once a week instead of red meat .Seafood is good for the heart, the brain, and the waistline.
8. Breathe deeply. Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes daily. It can help you relax. Slow, deep breathing may also help lower blood pressure.
9. Wash your hands often. Scrubbing up with soap and water often during the day is a great way to protect your heart and health. The flu, pneumonia, and other infections can be very hard on the heart.
10. Count your blessings. Take a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life and to start tapping into other positive emotions. These have been linked with better health, longer life, and a greater well-being, just as their opposites — chronic anger, worry, and hostility — contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Don’t give up. Getting healthier is a minute-by-minute process. It’s all about small choices you make throughout the day. Be confident that you can make a healthier choice, and don’t be hard on yourself even if it takes a while to get with the program.
Crunch Out Obesity begins in all county elementary schools on Monday, October 3rd. Nearly 650 elementary school students will be “getting on the ball”... the exercise ball that is! Area 4th graders (and Centerburg 3rd graders) will be learning how to use an exercise ball as a fitness tool during physical education class. During the 6 week Crunch Out Obesity program, students also learn about good nutrition, making healthy eating choices, and the importance of daily physical activity. Families are encouraged to learn and practice 5-2-1-0 and discover fun ways to get moving with their children.
Approximately 30% of children living in Knox County are currently overweight or obese. The longer that children are overweight the more likely they are to be overweight into adulthood. Research suggests that the best way to change a behavior is to teach a skill and then provide students with the opportunity to practice that skill. That is what Crunch Out Obesity does for Knox County youth.
Crunch out Obesity Partners include: Knox Community Hospital, Knox County Health Department, YMCA of Mount Vernon, gethealthyknox.org, St. Vincent’s and all the county schools. Lisa Rutter at United Way is the program’s coordinator and is happy to answer your questions about Crunch Out Obesity.
Here’s what past participants have told us about Crunch Out Obesity:
“The Crunch Out Obesity program has changed my life a lot.”
“This amazing Crunch Out Obesity program has helped me to do amazing new exercises that I have never done before.”
“The Crunch Out Obesity program helped my arm muscles because I used my fitness ball while watching TV.”
“Through the Crunch Out Obesity program, I learned that staying fit is important for lifelong health.”
“This program not only made me healthier, it also helped me do better in school, and in life.”
“This program got me moving and exercising more than I have ever been before.”
“The Crunch Out Obesity program changed my life. I was eating candy and junk food, and now I am eating healthy, and that makes me proud.”
“I now eat healthy and exercise, so now I will live a long and happy life. Thank you Crunch Out Obesity.”
“The Crunch Out Obesity program helped me decide to play basketball for the first time. Thank you for that. I love basketball, it is now my favorite sport.”