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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

Adopting our dog, Wes, was one of the best things my husband and I could have done, both for us and for him. We saved Wes’ life, and he has made ours better and healthier. Research has shown that owning a dog can benefit the owner’s health. Wes is an Australian cattle dog, and he needs a lot of activity. As with most dogs, a daily walk is a must. This extra incentive to get walking every day can have a positive impact on your heart health. Your furry buddy will thank you for making the extra time and effort for him or her as well!

WesOwning and caring for a dog can also have beneficial effects on your mental health by gaining a sense of meaning and companionship from your dog. The bond you can build with your dog is such a special one. I remember when we first brought Wes home, he was very timid and shy. As a result, he was not much for being pet or cuddling with his new parents. We all took our time, and he came to trust us. He is now the most loyal pet either myself or my husband have ever known. He loves to be spoiled, and he cuddles up with us on the couch or in bed regularly now. Blood pressure measurements have been shown to decrease while petting a dog, which can be a nice stress reliever. There’s nothing better than coming home to a furry “smile” and a quickly wagging tail at the door at the end of a long day.

If you can afford to care for one, I highly recommend rescuing your next best friend. There are many sweet and loyal dogs in shelters all across the state just waiting to be adopted into a loving “fur-ever” home. They can help you develop some healthy habits along the way, and you will gain an unconditionally loving best buddy!

Written By: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351901/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart–literally

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts-best-friend-201305226291

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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How many of you set fitness goals for yourselves this year? I know I have. While my husband and I have made a habit out of power-lifting that we both love, cardio is not my favorite. Even though I don’t enjoy it, I know it’s important for me if I want to continue to get healthier and to get more out of my lifts. Cardio can range from walking to swimming, biking, and running. Typically, I love doing things outdoors when the weather is nice, so it’s much easier for me to find cardio activities then. It can just be extra tough this time of year to get excited about a treadmill or an elliptical when it’s so cold and dark outside, and the only acceptable option for me is to stay indoors.

Whether it’s finding a way to stay excited about and committed to your physical activity goals or looking for something completely different to try this year, there are lots of ways to keep yourself motivated and on track for the whole year. Take small steps in the gym. Try one new exercise at a time to really focus on what you like or don’t like about it. When setting goals, consider keeping them short-term; set a small weight goal for just a couple weeks down the line to help you better visualize progress, or set a goal for how many times you want to make it to the gym in the next month, giving you a more definite time frame. Having these smaller, shorter SMART goals can help to make your overall resolution feel less overwhelming and will allow you to continue to have multiple achievements throughout the year.weight-lifting-1284616_1920

As you are thinking about your SMART goals, it is important to consider exactly how you want to achieve them. The best workout for you is the workout that you are going to do. Going to a commercial gym is not a feasible option for everyone. While having a gym membership could sound appealing in theory, the time and effort required to plan for and make it to the gym may never work with your schedule. As a result, it’s important to figure out the best workout setting for you. This could be outside. Being outside is wonderful for your mental health, and soaking up the sun and hearing the birds chirp might serve as extra inspiration for your exercise, whether it be walking, running, hiking, or yoga, for example.

If exercising outside isn’t of interest to you, have you considered working out in your own home? Your home is a comfortable, familiar environment that you likely find yourself in each day, so why not use it as a safe space to try out some exercises? If you don’t have any exercise equipment at home, no worries! There are plenty of exercises and routines that can be done with either just your body weight or with everyday items you might already have in your home. Feel free to get creative and find what you enjoy. Only when you enjoy an exercise will you stick with it long-term and continue to build on that success.

My husband and I have found enjoyment in weight lifting, and we know that we will continue exercising this way for as long as we can. As for my cardio journey, I have found that tabata and interval style cardio suits me best, usually between the elliptical and rowing machines. I hope you find something that you love too and that you are able to achieve all of your fitness goals! Feel free to share your SMART goals or your favorite fitness activities with us!

Written By: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist, The Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Sources:

http://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/woods-485osu-edu/a-walk-in-the-woods-2/

http://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/lobb-3osu-edu/be-kind-to-yourself/

https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6593/top-25-at-home-exercises

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/12/30/373996649/why-we-sign-up-for-gym-memberships-but-don-t-go-to-the-gym

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Do you have a regular exercise routine? If so, maybe you feel like you are in an exercise rut- you’re tired of doing the same thing over and over but you don’t know how to mix it up. Or, maybe you have found a form of exercise that you really enjoy, so you feel compelled to keep doing what you have been. While finding an activity you view as fun rather than work is central to sticking with and benefiting from an exercise program, it’s still important to mix up your exercise routine. When we continuously repeat the same activities, our muscles become accustomed to the movement and fail to be challenged.

Personally, I have spent the past year attending hip hop fitness classes. While I very much enjoy these classes, I know my body would benefit from other types of movement. Maybe that means trying out another fitness class, like kickboxing or cycling, taking a morning walk or jog, or adding pilates or weight training to my fitness routine.

To reap the biggest benefit from your exercise program, experts suggest you include at least three different types of activity in your workout routine. See the infographic below to learn more about the different types of exercise.

Types of Exercise

To create a well-balanced exercise routine, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity in at least 10-minute increments throughout the week. Add 2-3 sessions of strength training per week, with each session containing 1-3 sets of 6-10 exercises, each set containing 10-12 repetitions of each exercise.  (Repetitions are the number of times you perform a specific exercise without stopping. A set is a group of repetitions). Perform stretches 2-3 times per week, perhaps after your cardio or strength workout. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds. You may wish to do multiple repetitions of each stretch.

As you get comfortable in a routine and feel the need to mix things up to challenge yourself, consider increasing the frequency, duration or intensity of your workouts. For strength training exercises, this may mean increasing the number of reps or sets you complete, or the amount weight you use to complete your sets.

How will you mix up your workout routine? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Harvard Health Letter (2017). The 4 most important types of exercise. https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2011). What Does a Well Rounded Fitness Program Include? https://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/news/2011/09/what-does-a-well-rounded-fitness-program-include/

Werle, C., Wansink, B. & Payne, C. (2014). Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. https://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/research/it-fun-or-exercise-framing-physical-activity-biases-subsequent-snacking.

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OSU Extension 4H clubs Highland Youth Garden Groveport ButtoneersDo you enjoy gardening? Growing your own healthy fruits and vegetables?  Looking at the beautiful flowers that you have grown? I’m sure many answered yes to these questions, but if I ask, “Do you enjoy weeding your garden?” I would probably receive a different answer!

June 13th is actually National Weed Your Garden Day!  Who would have imagined that there is a day dedicated to such an unpopular pastime!  However, the background for this day provides several good reasons that we should devote a day (or more!) to weeding our gardens.

First, weeding can lead to healthier crops.  The weeds compete with your desirable plants for water, sunlight and nutrients. This is especially important when the plants are young. If you can have your soil weed free before planting you are off to a good start.

One of the best tips for having a weed free garden is to stay in control.  Weeding for 5 – 10 minutes each day can help you keep ahead of the fast growing weeds. Be careful not to let any weeds produce seed. You can mulch between the plants to help prevent weeds from sprouting.

Weeding can also help lead to a healthier you.  Did you know that you can burn calories and work some of your muscles simply by weeding your garden? If you’d like to improve your shoulders, arms, thighs, and butt muscles, gardening could be for you!

Here is a simple calculator to help you determine how many calories you can burn while weeding. As an example, an average slice of cheese pizza contains 272 calories.  If you weigh about 150 lbs. and weed in the garden for about 45 minutes, you could balance out that slice of pizza!  You can also increase the intensity of your weeding session to have a cardiovascular workout.

So if you want healthier fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden and the bonus of a more fit body, take the time to regularly weed your garden.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Candace J. Heer, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-weed-your-garden-day-june-13/

https://www.fitwatch.com/caloriesburned/calculate?descr=weeding%252520garden&mets=4.5

https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1993/11-10-1993/exer.html

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walking_focus_destressThe recent stretch of nice weather has hopefully inspired you to get outside and get moving!  Many of us tend to exercise less over the cold days of winter but now would be a great time to plan your activities for the coming months.

Probably the easiest, cheapest, and most accessible type of exercise is walking. It is an activity that most anyone of any age can participate in and enjoy. Walking provides so many benefits for our bodies. It can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure and help you control your type 2 diabetes. Walking can also help manage your weight and improve your mood!

The Mayo clinic shared information from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  who developed a 12 week walking schedule that can start you on the path to better health. But before starting this walking plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you’re older than age 40 and you’ve been inactive recently.

At the beginning of your walk, take about 5 minutes to warm up your muscles. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for about 5 minutes to cool down your muscles. Don’t forget to stretch! Be sure and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.walking-shoes

There are many ways that you can work walking into your day:

  • Park farther from your office
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go up or down a flight of stairs each time you go to the restroom
  • Walk your dog
  • Take your family to a local park
  • Walk over your lunch hour with a co-worker
  • When meeting friends for lunch or dinner, park farther from the restaurant

Always keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Walk with a friend when you can. Carry your cell phone, put your name and contact phone number in your pocket. Avoid dark and deserted areas, carry a whistle or pepper spray in case of an emergency, and don’t use a headset that might keep you from hearing traffic.

How can you add a walk to your day?

 

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20050972

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walk-Dont-Run-Your-Way-to-a-Healthy-Heart_UCM_452926_Article.jsp#.WK3TWPKlzdV

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/walking_helps_prevent_chronic_disease

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County

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2017-loading-pic

While ringing in the New Year, many of us also resolve to make THIS the year that we finally realize our goals. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves off the resolution wagon before January has ended. Every year people say they are going to exercise more, be healthier, quit smoking, get organized, lose weight, manage money, etc. By the time February rolls around, those ambitions have gone by the wayside. Well, FEAR NOT! Using some scientifically proven steps, lasting change is achievable.

Researchers have identified distinct stages of change that people who are able to achieve success progress through. The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) was developed in the late 1970’s by James O. Prochaska, PhD and Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD, when they contrasted the experiences of people who were able to quit smoking on their own, versus those who needed additional treatment. People quit smoking when they were ready to quit. The TTM operates on the assumption that people do not change behaviors quickly and decisively. Rather, change in behavior, especially habitual behavior, occurs continuously through a cyclical process.1

The Transtheoretical Model

  • Pre-contemplation: Someone may realize there is a problem and they may be thinking about changing it, but they have not yet made a commitment to do anything about it. People can be stuck in this phase for many years.
  • Contemplation: Someone plans to make some changes in the relatively near future. They have started to think about the good and bad things associated with making these changes.
  • Preparation: Someone is going to take action soon. They may start taking small steps toward the change.
  • Action: Someone has recently started making some changes in their behavior to make progress toward their goal.
  • Maintenance: Someone has been continuing with the behavior changes for a period of time and they plan to stick with them.
  • Termination: Someone no longer has any desire to revert back to their previous behaviors. Most people don’t get to this point, so it is often not part of many programs.

changePeople do not succeed in achieving their New Year’s resolutions or other goals because they are unaware of these stages. In addition to this, the professionals people seek for help, may also be unaware of what stage of change the someone is actually in. They assume since a person has come to them asking for help, that they are in the action phase, when this may not be accurate. Consider whether the stage of change that you are in right now is appropriate for the expectations you may have set on January 1st. If not, adjust your timeline and your goals accordingly.

So, if achieving your goal weight, exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, managing finances, or whatever has slipped by the wayside, you can still be successful in 2017!

Author: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Washington County.

Sources:

Boston University School of Public Health http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285796052_Applying_the_Stages_of_Change

SAGE Journals http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.4278/ajhp.140627-QUAL-304

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162833.html

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162820.html

Harvard Business School http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-keep-with-the-help-of-behavioral-science-research

Case Western Reserve University http://www.centerforebp.case.edu/stories/stages-of-change-co-creator-carlo-diclemente-discusses-practical-applications-of-his-transtheoretical-model-for-health-wellness-and-recovery

University of California, San Francisco https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/12/405201/scientific-reasons-keeping-your-new-years-resolutions

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm

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