Don't Let a Tick Make You Sick

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    Physical Activity

    One of the best things that parents can do for their kids is help them build an exercise habit. That might mean dance, yoga, hiking or aerobic exercise. It should be something they really enjoy, so they're inspired to keep doing it. Why is exercise so essential for teens? Because physical activity has significant benefits for teen mental health.

    During this time of mandated school closure, it is important that students continue to participate in physical activities. Exercise helps to prevent excess weight gain and allows students to maintain a healthy weight while they are at home. Regular physical activity will improve muscle strength and boost endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps the cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

    Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that will leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious. While it is important that students make exercise a part of their regular routine, it is also important that they do not overexert themselves. Students should stay active, eat well-balanced meals, and drink two liters of water a day. Being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This keeps your blood flowing smoothly and keeps your body healthy. Staying active boosts your immune system and allows for your body to fight infections. Stay healthy and safe everyone!

    Here are 30 tips to help you and your family be more active:

    1. Wear what you’ve got. You don’t need special clothing to simply get out and walk. A comfortable, supportive pair of shoes and a few basics will keep you ready to go.

    2. Work out while working. Add some healthy activity to your workday. Take walking breaks or walk and talk during your meetings, do some yoga or stretching during downtime.

    3. Schedule it. Having trouble making time for physical activity? Set an alarm on your phone or schedule it on your calendar – and treat it like any other important appointment.

    4. Be sweet to your feet. Keep your feet happy (along with your knees and legs) so you can move more without discomfort.

    5. Set a goal. Having a commitment or goal, like being active for at least 150 minutes each week, will help you stay on track. Share it with others to keep yourself accountable. If you’re the competitive type, virtual challenge friends, family or coworkers and see who can consistently meet their goals over time.

    6. Go mobile. Catching up on phone calls? Walk your talk – in your neighborhood. If you use a headset or earbuds make sure you can still hear traffic.

    7. Pick up the pace. When walking, running or cycling, increase your speed from leisurely to brisk or choose a route with more hills or inclines. Or alternate moderate and vigorous intensity. You’ll get a more intense workout in the same amount of time.

    8. Buddy up. Find a physical activity accountability partner and ask a friend to virtually hold you to your deadlines can also help you reach your fitness goals.

    9. Fitness first. Shake up your family’s routine. Join your kids for a bike ride or jump rope before starting on homework and chores. You’ll all feel better and think better!

    10. Timing is everything. If you find you’re better at sleeping in than making it to that morning workout, try getting active at a different time of day.

    11. Just dance. Clear some space, put on some music, and take a dance break! It can re-energize a work meeting, study session, lazy Sunday or game night. Let each person take a turn as DJ so everyone’s favorites get played.

    12. Get your garden on! Gardening, lawn mowing and yard work are a great way to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden.

    13. Put the screens on hold. Instead of heading right for the TV or game console after dinner, make that family activity time. Take a walk, practice a sport, or play a game of tag or hide-and-seek.

    14. Be an active parent. Experts say that what kids want more than anything else is time with their parents. To give them that, don’t just send them out to play — go play with them!

    15. Get a kinder, gentler workout. Try mindful movement like yoga, tai chi or qi gong. These gentle mind-body practices may leave you less stressed and can be done just about anywhere.

    16. Stress is no excuse to skip your workout. Regular physical activity can help you manage stress, sleep better and have more energy.

    17. Tune into fitness during TV time. Walk or jog in place or on a treadmill, lift weights, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows. Break up a TV binge with a bit of activity between episodes. Or challenge the kids to see who can do the most burpees, pushups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

    18. Do what you love. Find activities that fit your personality and motivate you to stick with them. If you’re a social person, try joining a virtual exercise class or calling up a friend to workout together. If you prefer time alone, yoga or running might be a better fit for you.

    19. Make active chore cards. Let each family member draw a card each day with a different active task that needs to be done. Cleaning up after dinner, walking the dog, taking the trash out, folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher are all good ways to get your family up off the couch – and get the chores done.

    20. Get active for a cause. If you live to help others, active community events like the Heart Walk are a great way to do something healthy while giving back. Some even offer fitness training, team opportunities and prizes!

    21. Change up date night. An evening out with your spouse or bestie doesn’t have to mean dinner and a movie. Keep a list of activities that would be fun to do together, like walking, bowling, miniature golf, dancing, indoor rock climbing, or hula hooping! Get creative – the possibilities are endless.

    22. Fit in walking. Being more active doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. You can walk just about anytime, anywhere, and every minute counts toward your goal of at least 150 minutes per week.

    23. Warm up to warming up. A proper warm-up (and cool-down)  can help you improve flexibility and avoid injury. You’ll feel better after every workout and be more likely to stick with it.

    24. It’s a dog’s life. A dog can be a great walking or running companion.

    25. Move anywhere. Create your own circuit workout at home! No equipment needed, just a little willpower and creativity.


    March is National Nutrition Month

    Now that we are all home, this is a good time to start thinking about what we are eating. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet will help us to remain healthy, as well as prevent future health issues.Now’s the perfect time to think about ways to make healthy choices in food and beverages for you and your family.

    Making changes in your diet can be overwhelming, but youdon't have to make all changes at once. Some changes can be as simple as changing from white bread to whole wheat/whole grain bread or from soda (which has added sugars) to water or seltzer. Making small shifts in your diet can get you and your family started on making healthier choices in the future, as well as teach your children about eating well and living a healthy life.  

    Eating a variety of foods across all food groups will provide your body with the nutrients needed to keep your body healthy. With all of the current health concerns, getting the nutrients your body needs is an easy way to fight off disease as well as lower your risk for future health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Keep in mind, there is no "one right" way of eating well. You can visit Health.gov for dietary guidelines to get ideas on simple changes you can make. These changes can be made over time, so you are not changing everything about your diet all at once. If you stick with the changes, they can become habit over time.  

    Recommendations based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines are as follows:

    For someone following a 2000 calorie a day diet, recommendations include:

    • 2 cups of whole fruits 

    • 2 1/2 cups of a variety of vegetables 

    • 3 cups of fat free or low-fat dairy 

    • 6 oz. of grain (at least half of which are whole grains)

    • 5 1/2 oz. of a variety of protein foods

    • 5 tsp. of oil (like canola and olive oil or foods that are sources of oils like, nuts and avocados) 

    Not everyone will follow a 2000 calorie a day diet. To determine what yours should be, use the My Plate Daily Checklist to find a plan that will be right for you.  

    Making changes in your diet is not easy. Here are some tips to help you start making changes for you and your family:

    • Start off each day by eating a healthy breakfast. Your breakfast should include whole grains, lean protein, as well as fruits and vegetables. Making a vegetable breakfast burrito is a good start. 

    • Keep healthy snacks on hand, such as apple with cheese, cut up vegetables with low fat ranch dressing, or pretzels. 

    • Make half your dish fruits and vegetables.

    • Have your kids help you with preparing meals. Making meals together is a good way to teach your children good eating habits as well as spending quality time together.

    • Let your kids choose some healthy snacks they would like when you are grocery shopping. Allow them to pick some fruits and vegetables they like or would like to try.

    • Eat dinner together.  Make sure you have a time that your family will be together to schedule dinner. Turn off the TV and devices during meals.

    • Drink more water with meals and throughout the day. Low fat milk is also good to drink with meals.

    • Avoid buying foods with added sugar or syrups. Canned fruits packed in their own juices is better than canned fruits with added syrup.

    • Limit sodium intake. Read labels of foods you are buying. Buy the ones with lower or reduced sodium.

    This is just a few ideas to get you started on your path to a lifetime of healthy eating. Using this opportunity when most people are home or working from home can change your family's eating habits. Remember that small shifts can become big benefits!

    For further information visit:



    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- https://www.cdc.gov/HealthyLiving/

    Choose My Plate- https://www.choosemyplate.gov