Physical activity can help prevent many chronic diseases. Did you know that there are more than 40 different chronic diseases helped by physical activity to treat and possibly prevent? Many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, lower back pain and high blood pressure can be positively influenced by physical activity. The best part is that the physical activity only needs to be 30 minutes a day and it can be done in 10 minute sessions. A quick way to get exercise is to take 3 ten minute breaks during your day. Walk 5 minutes in one direction and turn around and walk back.
Of course, by being physically active for longer than 30 minutes and moving at a faster than regular pace, you will be able to get even more benefits! Adding intensity will help the heart get stronger and muscles get leaner. This can lead to long term weight management and long term disease prevention.
If you have decided to start being more physically active, but it has been awhile, here is a reminder of a few essentials that you will need:
• Talk to your healthcare provider – Before you start any physical activity, especially if you have not been that active recently, you should talk to your healthcare provider. It is important to discuss what you are going to do and how often you plan to be active.
• Proper shoes – Having an appropriate shoe for being active is critical. When shoes do not fit properly, then there is a higher likelihood of injury. When shoes do not fit there can be an increased chance of blisters, ankle injury and even knee injury. If you are going to be active on a regular basis, finding proper fitting shoes is a must.
• Proper clothes – Although you can do some physical activities in jeans and a t-shirt, wearing clothes that are meant to be worn when you are sweating can be useful and certainly more comfortable. There are a lot of options when you are looking for clothes to wear when you are being active and many places where you can purchase them. Having a few pairs of pants and shirts will get you started. Perhaps as you reach your goals, you can reward yourself with a few more items.
• Water – If you are active for 30 minutes or longer, you will need water during your activity. Make sure you keep drinking during your activity. Dehydration can cause decreased blood pressure, dizziness or even fainting.
• Sun protection – If you will be active outside, wearing sunscreen even in the winter months is important. Sun burns can happen even when it is almost 0 degrees outside. Using a stick formula is usually best for the face so the sunscreen does not drip into your eyes when you start to sweat.
• Start slowly – If you have not been active, pushing yourself too hard, too fast can cause an injury.
By remembering these essentials, you will have an easier time sticking with your plan and continue being active throughout the year.
Do not be afraid to try something new. There are so many types of physical activity available. If you do not like to walk, then taking 10 walking breaks is going to be hard to do. If you love to dance try Zumba or ballroom dancing. If you like sports see if there is a league somewhere nearby for you to join. If you like to be out in nature, try a new hiking trail. If it is raining and you are stuck indoors, try an exercise DVD. There will be some physical activity that you will enjoy, as long as you are open to trying new things.
Any physical activity that you do will provide benefits for healthier and more independent living. The more physically active you are, the longer you can expect to live, the less stressed you will be and overall, you will feel good!
The recipes at the end of this week’s article are from previous editions of the Healthy Choices Newsletter produced by the Health Education through Extension Leadership program with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Low Sodium Vegetable Soup
3 cups water
1 can low-sodium tomato soup concentrate
1 cup diced potatoes
2/3 cup celery
1 cup diced onions
3⁄4 teaspoon low-sodium beef seasoning
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen mixed vegetables
1⁄2 cup diced low-sodium canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 1⁄2 teaspoon low-sodium chicken seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
Combine all ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 102 calories, 1 g total fat,0 g cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein
Yield: 6 servings
Source: Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition
Easy Chicken Pot Pie
1 2/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 (10 3⁄4 ounce) can condensed low-fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup reduced-fat baking mix
1⁄2 cup milk
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Mix vegetables, chicken, and soup in ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Stir remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl with fork until blended. Pour over vegetables and chicken in pie plate.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 190 calories,4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 25 g total carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugars;12 g protein
Yield: 6 servings
Source: USDA Recipe Finder
Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1⁄4 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup raisins
Margarine to grease muffin cups
Preheat oven to 400°F. Put the egg, milk, and oil in a small mixing bowl. Slowly stir them together. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and raisins. Stir until they are mixed.
Pour the egg-milk-oil mix into the medium bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are barely moistened. Do not over-mix (the batter should be lumpy).
Grease each cup in the muffin pans with margarine. Spoon the batter into the cups in each muffin pan, until each cup is half-full with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 180 calories, 7 g total fat,20 mg cholesterol,330 mg sodium, 27 g total carbohydrate, 4 g protein.
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Yield: 12 servings
For more information contact Cecelia Hostilo at the Trigg County Extension Office by calling 522-3269. Information for the article was obtained from Nicole Peritore, HEEL Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.