Safety First!

Wear A Sunscreen

Apply a sunscreen 30 minutes before you step outside to do your exercise. The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) recommends to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest. A sunscreen that is water-resistant for 80 minutes could be effective if your physical activity will require a tremendous amount of sweating.

Dress Accordingly

Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing that is made from moisture-wicking fabric; this keeps moisture away from the skin and dries quickly.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Outdoor fitness training during the summer months will require you to keep your body extra hydrated. Even if you are not thirsty, drink plenty of water. For extra precaution, drink a glass of water before going outside to workout; this will ensure your body is hydrated during the first 45 minutes of your physical activity.

When Running or Walking, Be aware

Avoid using headphones, or at least use one earbud, so you can hear approaching strangers or cars. Carry your cell phone at all times. Consider carrying pepper spray as well.

Stretching

Flexibility is a main component of fitness.STRETCHING improves our flexibility!

Having adequate flexibility is key to decreasing the likelihood of accidents/falls, and it improves performance in our jobs and everyday activities that require movement.

Stretching as a Warm-up to exercise

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  • Allows blood to pump to your muscles (increases blood flow)
  • Raises body temperature and heart starts to pump faster
  • Prepares our body to do work

Stretching as a Cool-down to exercise

  • Provides quicker recovery (less aches and pains tomorrow)
  • Removes toxins
  • Improves overall flexibility

It is important to stretch at least 1-2 times per day. Make sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds with a gentle pull of the muscle. Make sure you are not bouncing and that each stretch is a static stretch. Take deep breaths as you stretch to help you relax.

What are Habits

Every habit starts with a psychological pattern called a "habit loop," which is a three-part process: 1. A cue, or trigger 2. The routine/behavior itself 3. The reward, which helps to remember the "habit loop.”

Some habits are positive (brushing teeth, eating on time, etc), They allow the brain to somewhat shut down so you can devote mental activity to something else. Others are less so.

There are four stages to changing a health behavior: 1. CONTEMPLATION "I'm thinking about it." 2. PREPARATION "I have made up my mind." 3. ACTION "I have started to make changes." 4. MAINTENANCE "I have a new routine."

Don’t create too many habits; be sure to add variety and stay motivated. Mix up your routine with new activities, physical activity buddies, foods, recipes, and rewards.

Eat the Colors of the Rainbow!

Eat the Colors of the Rainbow!

Hopefully you have already heard meals should have a variety of colors. That is not to just make the meal look more appetizing! The more colors in your meal the more nutrition and health it will provide your body! The colors are important because they have different kinds of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are substances in plants and can provide health benefits beyond what essential nutrients provide. Thousands of them have been identified and they are known to have disease-preventing properties. Here are the produce colors of the rainbow:

Blue/Purple: Provide anthocyanins that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure. Some Examples are eggplants, blueberries, blackberries, prunes, and plums.

Green: Rich in isothiocyanates which can help assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds, and indoles which may have anticancer properties. Some examples are broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts

Red: High in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers. Some examples are tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, cranberries

Yellow/Orange: Provide carotenoids and can be converted in the body to vitamin A, important for vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. Some examples are carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.

Flavonoids are the largest class of phytochemicals and are mostly colorless, but they are powerful antioxidants, helping prevent damage to body cells and tissues. They are in many plant foods some including berries, grapes, onions, broccoli, parsley, beets, peppers, citrus fruits, tea, and legumes.

After hearing about all of the benefits fruits and vegetables provide why aren’t we at least eating the 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables recommended? Let’s start now or at least at the next meal! It’s easy. Include fruits and vegetables at every meal and maybe as a snack or two. They can easily be added to casseroles, cereal, or sandwiches. Add an extra fruit and/or vegetable side dish to meals and substitute fruits, vegetables and beans for meat in recipes. Plan your meals around produce instead of meat and start improving your health today!

Stretch it out

Let’s face it as a society we spend a lot of time sitting these days.  Our bodies were not designed for the sedentary lifestyles we are leading.  Computers have changed the way we work.  Most of it is for the better except for the sitting. Neck and shoulder stiffness, lower back pain, stiff leg muscles and tight joints, are all common complaints these days.  All of those aches and pains are our bodies telling us that something is wrong and that we need to move and stretch. 

Come up with a plan – after every hour of sitting whether it is at work or home, take a few minutes and get up and stretch, your body will thank you for it. My plan is that if I am watching TV, I have to stretch during the commercials (with the number of commercials you will have plenty of time to stretch). If I am at work, I set the alarm on my watch for every hour to move and stretch.  A few important things to remember are: To hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds, not to bounce and don’t aim for pain, just stretch and hold until you feel tension.

Keep in mind that stretching is not only good for the body but also the mind. In a short amount of time, you will feel calmer, clearer and recharged. Who does not need that these days?   So get up right now – and stretch.