I hope that in these past few weeks, everyone has had the opportunity to get outside at least once and move around. It has been sunny and somewhat warm- take advantage of it when you can!
This past week we saw a beginning and an ending. I began another Cooking Matters para adultos course and Erika ended a Cooking Matters for Adults course. I’m really excited about the enthusiasm and energy that I encountered during the first class. We made Ratatouille with cous cous which was excellent- a warm, filling recipe that certainly packs a nutritional punch with all of the vegetables in it. Erika’s class ended with a variety of dishes- fruit smoothies, almond butter and sunflower seed balls and corn and black eye pea salad complemented by dishes brought in by class participants- sambusas and tamales, both delectable. I can’t wait to see what kinds of food we will have at my last class!
Because it has been so sunny recently, I think it’s important to discuss exercise. We’re moving into the time of year where the weather outside is so wonderful you’d have to make up an excuse to stay indoors on the couch! The benefits of exercise have been documented far and wide. It can help boost your mood, keep weight down, keep diabetes at bay, improve your fitness level, increase muscle and bone mass while decreasing fat mass and make you feel great all around. The USDA recommends that adults get 30 minutes of physical activity a day and that kids get 60 minutes a day. It may seem like a lot of time but it really isn’t! Think about ho many minutes there are in a day: 1440. Certainly you can move around for at least 30 of those minutes. It does not have to be intense exercise either, moderate activity (enough to make it somewhat difficult to talk) is sufficient and the 30 minutes do not have to occur all at the same time. You can break them up into 3 10 minute segments if that makes it more manageable and likely that you will do it. It’s also important to incorporate some strength training so that you don’t lose muscle. I like to count carrying groceries from the store to my home (about a 10 min walk) as a good arm workout. Sometime I even lift the grocery bags up and down and pretend that I’m doing bicep curls. Anyone who has volunteered with us knows that carrying all of the supplies from our car to the class room certainly counts as weight lifting!
Some suggestions for getting more physical activity:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Go for a walk after dinner
- Park further away from your destination so that you walk more
- Do something fun like dancing
- Ask a friend if they would like to go for a walk instead of going to a café to catch up
The Harvard School of Public Health has more suggestions here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/staying-active/tips-for-getting-exercise-into-your-life/index.html
Both the New York Times and the Harvard School of Public Health have great overviews on exercise and why it is important:
Now get out and do something active!