Words on Wellness

Guest Column
Kelsey Salow
Human Sciences Specialist, ISU Extension & Outreach

Did your exercise goals take a holiday?

     The holiday season is a busy time of year, which may make it hard to get in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. Even when these recommendations are met, there is an increased risk for chronic disease when you are sitting for a prolonged period of time. There are plenty of ways to get moving, though. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the hallways at work on breaks, stand while you’re on the phone, or stretch a couple minutes for every hour of prolonged sitting. At home, complete floor exercises during commercial breaks or march in place while you’re cooking in the kitchen. There are small steps to reduce sedentary time and increase activity.

     You can even enjoy the winter weather while getting in some exercise. Activities like ice skating, snowball fights, sledding and making snow angels count toward your daily physical activity minutes.

Small changes add up for better health

     Food portions can be a challenge, but choosing sensible amounts of all food is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to make small, long-term changes in what you eat and drink, along with getting daily physical activity.

     Follow the “MyPlate” (www.choosemyplate.gov) healthy eating plan:

     • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables – think variety and make it colorful.

     • Make half your grains whole grains.

     • Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.

     • Vary your protein – poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts and beans.

Other helpful tips:

     • Avoid portion distortion – read labels, measure, and place servings into containers or baggies.

     • Record the amount of food you eat with a three- to five-day food journal – you might be surprised!

     • Use smaller bowls and plates at mealtime.

     • Choose food with less saturated fats, sodium, and added sugar.

     • Cook more often at home to control the ingredients in your food.

     • When dining out, look at nutritional information before ordering.

     • Drink water or low-calorie beverages with meals.

     • Get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

     Set realistic and achievable goals for your health. Remember, if you slip up one day don’t dwell on it, just press on with your health goals in mind. Download “Key Nutrients” from the Extension Store (store.extension.iastate.edu/product/4184) for additional information.



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