Posts tagged with "healthy habits"

Step It Up This October With Walking

Step It Up This October With Walking

Walking is a great way to increase your physical activity and improve your health. It’s an easy way to start and maintain a physically active lifestyle. It’s the most common physical activity for people across the U.S. Walking provides many opportunities to incorporate physical activity into your busy life – whether it’s for work, school, leisure, or to improve your health.

Physical activity such as walking can help control weight and improve health even without weight loss. People who are physically active live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.1 

We Need More Physical Activity1

  • Adults need at least 2 and 1/2 hours (150 minutes) of aerobic physical activity per week . This should be at a moderate level, such as fast-paced walk for no less than 10 minutes at a time. Aerobic physical activity makes you breathe harder and makes your heart and blood vessels healthier. Examples include brisk walking, running, swimming, and other activities.
  • According to the CDC, less than half of all adults get the recommended amount of physical activity.
  • Women and older adults are not as likely to get the recommended level of weekly physical activity.
  • Inactive adults have higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
  • Walking routes in and near neighborhoods encourage people to walk to stops for buses, trains, and trolleys.

Should You See a Doctor First? 

  • Most people do not need to see a doctor before they start a walking program.
  • However, you should check with your doctor if you have a chronic health problem such as a heart condition, diabetes, or high blood pressure, are over 40 years old and have been inactive.
  • You should also talk to your doctor if while walking, you get dizzy, feel faint or short of breath; or have chest, neck, shoulder or arm pain.2 

How to Start Walking More

1. Set realistic goals and how you plan to achieve them. Set realistic goals such as walking 10 to 15 minutes three times a week.
  • Create an action plan for how far and how often you will walk.
  • Where would you like to be in 6 months to a year in your walking program?
  • Plan where you will walk, what days of the week you will walk.
  • Identify a walking buddy or support person.
2. Be prepared.
  • Make sure you have everything you need to get started such as shoes that fit right and have good arch support; a firm, well-cushioned heel; and nonskid, flexible soles.
  • Ensure you have clothes that keep you dry and comfortable, a hat or visor for the sun, sunscreen, and sunglasses; a hat and scarf to cover your head and ears when it’s cold outside, and layers of clothing in cold weather that you can remove as you warm up.
3. Get moving.
  • Divide your walk into three parts: warm up by walking slowly; increase your speed to a brisk walk; and cool down by slowing your pace.
  • When walking be sure to use proper form: keep your chin up and your shoulders slightly back and relaxed.
  • Look forward, not at the ground.
  • Keep your back straight, rather than arched forward or backward.
  • Let the heel of your foot touch the ground first, and then roll your weight forward.
  • Walk with your toes pointed forward.
  • Swing your arms naturally.
4. Add on.
  • As walking gets easier, start to go faster and farther. Add hills or stairs to make your walks more challenging.
  • If you are walking less than three times per week, give yourself more than 2 weeks before adding time to your walk.

How To Make Walking a Healthy Habit

  • Don’t give up. Stick with your walking program.
  • Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping center. To stay motivated, try different routes to keep it interesting.
  • Listen to your favorite music as you walk, remembering to keep the volume low so you can hear sounds around you.
  • Bring a friend or a family member. Having a regular walking buddy or support person may help you keep going. You can cheer each other on and serve as role models for friends, family members, coworkers, and your community.
  • Have a “Plan B” for when bad weather or other roadblocks get in the way. Be ready to walk indoors rather than outdoors.
  • Track your progress on paper, online, with a fitness app, fitness tracker or a pedometer. Record dates, distance, and how you felt when you were done.
  • Reward yourself with something pleasant after you walk, like a relaxing shower or a 30 minutes of time to yourself.
  • Be prepared for setbacks. If certain obstacles prevent you from walking, get back to your routine as soon as you can.

With time, walking can become part of your daily life and may even make it easier to try other types of physical activity.

20 Ways to Add More Steps

  1. Find a buddy who can take walks with you.
  2. Walk your dog in the morning for 15 minutes and in the evening for 10 minutes.
  3. March in place while brushing your teeth.
  4. Exercise indoor with a workout DVD.
  5. Play hide and seek with your kids.
  6. Have a dance party with your kids.
  7. Walk your kids to school or the school bus.
  8. Walk while chatting on the phone.
  9. Make it a nightly habit to go for an after-dinner stroll with the family.
  10. If you’re going to the mailbox, take a tour around the house first or a lap around your block.
  11. During commercials, don’t fast forward your DVR – stand up and march in place or pick things up around the house.
  12. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  13. Park far from the office.
  14. Get off the bus/train one stop before or after your regular stop to take extra steps.
  15. Walk to a coworker’s office instead of calling or emailing them.
  16. Use the restroom that is one floor up (or down) at work instead of heading for the one closest to your office.
  17. Use the water or coffee machine one floor up (or down) at work instead of heading for the one closest to your office.
  18. Set reminders on your phone or calendar to take a walking break.
  19. Take afternoon “brainstorming” walks.
  20. Pick up your lunch instead of ordering takeout.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/walking/index.html
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/walking-step-right-direction
Get motivated to start or amp up your physical activity

Create an Active Lifestyle for More Good Years

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month to raise awareness of the importance of active living. Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and become more active during the month of May and beyond! Some activity is better than none. The more you do, the greater the health benefits and the better you’ll feel.

The physical activity guidelines recommend that adults:

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, or swimming.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities like lifting weights or using exercise bands at least 2 days a week.

If you haven’t been active before, start at a comfortable level. Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Then try getting active more often.

What kinds of activity should I do?

To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

  • Aerobic activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.

Did you know?

When you are not physically active, you are more likely to:

  • Get heart disease
  • Get type 2 diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Have a stroke

Build up over time

Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do more. If you have not been active for a while, start out slowly. After several weeks or months, build up your activities—do them longer and more often.

Walking is one way to add physical activity to your life. When you first start, walk 10 minutes a day on a few days during the first couple of weeks. Add more time and days. Walk a little longer. Try 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes. Then walk on more days a week.

Pick up the pace. Once this is easy to do, try walking faster. Keep up your brisk walking for a couple of months. You might want to add biking on the weekends for variety.

Do it your way

Pick an activity you like and one that fits into your life.

  • Find the time that works best for you.
  • Be active with friends and family. Having a support network can help you keep up with your program.
  • There are many ways to build the right amount of activity into your life. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Make physical activity a part of your life

Physical activity experts say that spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, do each activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. There are many ways to fit in 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day, for 5 days.

On the other 2 days, do activities to keep your muscles strong. Find ways that work well for you. Talk to your health care provider about good activities to try.

Keep it up, step it up

  • To get more health benefits, add more time of aerobic physical activity.
  • Try to move from 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-level activities a week to 5 hours or more a week.

To learn more, visit www.healthfinder.gov and type “activity” in the search box.

My Drive to Exercise WorksheetFREE Worksheet

Download a FREE My Drive to Exercise Worksheet to help get you going to exercise. Identify the benefits you hope to achieve from active living as well as any potential roadblocks.

 


References:

  1. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/get-active
  2. https://health.gov/PAGuidelines/pdf/adultguide.pdf?_ga=1.180799588.236832206.1486744829
Debunking the Weight Loss & Diet Myths

Debunking the Weight Loss & Diet Myths

Learn the facts and tips about weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity to help you make healthy changes in your daily habits. Speak to your health care provider who can help you answer questions about weight loss. A registered dietitian may also give you advice on a healthy eating plan and safe ways to lose weight and keep it off.1

Myth: Fad diets will help me lose weight and keep it off.

Fact: Fad diets are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. These diets often promise quick weight loss if you strictly reduce what you eat or avoid some types of foods. These diets may help you lose weight at first, but they are hard to follow. Most people quickly get tired of them and regain any lost weight.

Fad diets may be unhealthy. They may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs. Also, losing more than 3 pounds a week after the first few weeks may increase your chances of developing gallstones (solid matter in the gallbladder that can cause pain). Being on a diet of fewer than 800 calories a day for a long time may lead to serious heart problems.

TIP: Research suggests that safe weight loss involves combining a reduced-calorie diet with physical activity to lose 1/2 to 2 pounds a week (after the first few weeks of weight loss). Make healthy food choices. Eat small portions. Build exercise into your daily life. Combined, these habits may be a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. These habits may also lower your chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Grain products such as bread, pasta, and rice are fattening. I should avoid them when trying to lose weight.

Fact: A grain product is any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples include brown rice and whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.

People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet may lower their chances of developing some chronic diseases. Government dietary guidelines advise making half your grains whole grains. For example, choose 100 percent whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, and brown rice instead of white rice.

TIP: To lose weight, reduce the number of calories you take in and increase the amount of physical activity you do each day. Create and follow a healthy eating plan that replaces less healthy options with a mix of fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein foods, and low-fat dairy: 

  • Eat a mix of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. 
  • Limit added sugars, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and saturated fat. 
  • Eat low-fat protein: beans, eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts, and poultry. 

Myth: Some people can eat whatever they want and still lose weight.

Fact: To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat and drink. Some people may seem to get away with eating any kind of food they want and still lose weight. But those people, like everyone, must use more energy than they take in through food and drink to lose weight.

A number of factors such as your age, genes, medicines, and lifestyle habits may affect your weight. If you would like to lose weight, speak with your health care provider about factors that may affect your weight. Together, you may be able to create a plan to help you reach your weight and health goals.

TIP: When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods as part of a healthy eating plan. But you must watch the total number of calories that you eat. Reduce your portion sizes. Find ways to limit the calories in your favorite foods. For example, you can bake foods rather than frying them. Use low-fat milk in place of cream. Make half of your plate fruits and veggies. 

Physical Activity Myths2

Myth: Lifting weights is not a good way to lose weight because it will make me “bulk up.”

Fact: Lifting weights or doing activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can help you build strong muscles, which can help you burn more calories. To strengthen muscles, you can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or yard tasks that make you lift or dig.

TIP: Government guidelines for physical activity recommend that adults should do activities at least two times a week to strengthen muscles. The guidelines also suggest that adults should get 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense or vigorous aerobic activity each week—like brisk walking or biking. Aerobic activity makes you sweat and breathe faster. 

Myth: Physical activity only counts if I can do it for long periods of time.

Fact: You do not need to be active for long periods to achieve your 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week. Experts advise doing aerobic activity for periods of 10 minutes or longer at a time.

TIP: Plan to do at least 10 minutes of physical activity three times a day on 5 or more days a week. This will help you meet the 150-minute goal. While at work, take a brief walking break. Use the stairs. Get off the bus one stop early. Go dancing with friends. Whether for a short or long period, bursts of activity may add up to the total amount of physical activity you need each week.

For more helpful information, tips, and tools on healthy eating and physical activity, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.


References

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/myths/Pages/weight-loss-and-nutrition-myths.aspx
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/myths/Pages/weight-loss-and-nutrition-myths.aspx 
How to Create Healthy Eating Habits for Life

How to Create Healthy Eating Habits for Life

An eating pattern can be defined as the combination of foods and beverages that make up an individual’s complete dietary intake over time. It represents all of what individuals habitually eat and drink, and these dietary components work together to impact health. A healthy eating habit should be tailored to the individual’s personal, cultural and traditional preferences as well as food budget. An individual’s healthy eating pattern will vary according to their calorie level. Healthy eating habits can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease. The most nutritious or nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean meats and poultry – all with little or no saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

  1. Create healthy eating habits across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choosing a healthy eating habit at an appropriate calorie level can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Create an eating habit low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.1

Key Recommendations1

Create healthy eating habits that account for all food and beverages within an appropriate calorie level and include:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups— dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Added sugars, and
  • Sodium

Several components of the diet should be limited which are of particular public health concern, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating habits within calorie limits:

  • Consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt per day

If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men – and only by adults of legal drinking age.

How much should you eat?

You should eat the right amount of calories for your body, which will vary based on your gender, age, and physical activity level. Find out your daily calorie needs or goals with the Body Weight Planner by visiting www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp.

Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.

Healthy eating patterns are adaptable. Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.

Consult with your healthcare professional before making significant changes in diet and nutrition.

Tips to Save More at the Store2

Stretch your dollar with these helpful tips:

  1. Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices.
  2. Read the sales flyer. Sales flyers are usually released mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website.
  3. Use coupons – but only for items that you know you’ll use. If you don’t need an item right away, save the coupon and see if it goes on sale.
  4. Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking at the upper and lower shelves too.
  5. Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands.
  6. Choose fresh foods. Stores typically stock shelves from back to front, placing the newest items behind the older ones. Reach in the back for the freshest items especially in the produce, dairy, and meat aisles.
  7. Ask for a rain check. If a sale item has run out, ask the store for a rain check. This allows you to pay the sale price after the item is restocked.
  8. Join your store’s loyalty program. Most stores offer a free loyalty program. Get special offers and discounts that non-members do not.

References:

  1. Health.gov, Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/healthy-eating-patterns/
  2. ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget-save-more
5 Things We Can Do To Cut The Prevalence of Chronic Disease

5 Things We Can Do To Cut The Prevalence of Chronic Disease

Today’s health care costs in the United States are a consequence of poor health. Poor health has cost consequences to organizations, industry and our economy. The impact of poor health on employers includes not only the medical and pharmacy costs but also costs from productivity losses. “As of 2012, 117 million Americans have one or more chronic illnesses, which account for 75% of all health care costs and 70% of deaths in the United States.”1,2

However, there is a light at the end of the health care cost crisis tunnel, and that is prevention. In fact, 96% of all Medicare dollars are spent on chronic conditions that have lifestyle health risk factors.3

Michael Roizen, M.D., Chair Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has determined that there are five behaviors that mitigate chronic disease:

  • walking 30 minutes a day,
  • eating healthy,
  • not smoking,
  • having a waist size that is less than half of your height, and
  • drinking alcohol only in moderation.

If an individual engages in these five behaviors, they typically spend 33% to 50% less on health care costs compared with people who have health risks. Currently, only 4% of Medicare beneficiaries possess these five health behaviors. If 75% of all Americans had these characteristics, more than $600 billion and perhaps up to $1 trillion per year could be saved.4,5,6,7


Dr. Roizen and Dr. Loeppke VideoWatch this video where Dr. Roizen from the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Loeppke from U.S. Preventive Medicine discuss the 5 things you can do to reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Watch Video!

 

 


Be part of the movement to prevent the health risk factors that lead to chronic disease, to help us move from a reactive sick care system to a proactive health care system.

Here’s to More Good Years®!


References:

  1. Shin-Yi Wu and Anthony Green, Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Health, 2000).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,“ Chronic Disease Overview,” 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm
  3. Partnership for Solutions, Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2004).
  4. Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Ted Spiker, This Is Your Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want (New York, NY: Scribner, 2015), introduction, xxiii.
  5. Agneta Åkesson et al., “Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 64 (13) (2014): 1,299–1,306.
  6. Andrea K. Chomistek et al., “Healthy Lifestyle in the Primordial Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Women,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 65 (1) (2015): 43–51.
  7. Meir J. Stampfer et al., “Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women through Diet and Lifestyle,” The New England Journal of Medicine 343 (2000): 16–22.

Copyright © 2019 U.S. Preventive Medicine. All Rights Reserved.