Live Healthy and Well in 2014

— Written By Christine Smith and last updated by Kim Davis

We all know the grim statistics related to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. Each year we loose loved ones to these devastating diseases. In many cases, practicing preventive health care maintenance may extend longevity and quality of one’s health status.

The New Year provides an opportunity for each of us to carefully evaluate our health status and plot a course of action to address key health issues. What are you waiting on, another week, month or year? Perhaps a bad test result or diagnosis from your physician will help you to realize that change is necessary. You do not have to wait, get on board today! You have only a more abundant life to gain.

Here are a few tips to help jumpstart your good health and vigor for life. Try to incorporate at least one of these strategies on a weekly basis to help you adopt a practice change to improve your health.

Get Moving. Walking daily can transform your life. Research shows there is a direct correlation between inactivity and weight related issues. Get off the couch and into a gym or take a daily power walk to get your heart rate up. Not only does it give you a cardiovascular workout but it has a positive impact on your mental health.

Eat a healthy diet. What you eat and the quantity of foods eaten affects your health. Try to incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low fat dairy products, fish and chicken. Eat fewer high fat foods, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. In addition, drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. Make water the first beverage choice.

Be selfish. It is important to create space and time for oneself. Temporarily, push aside household chores, marital responsibilities, and work related task to create “me time”, time solely for renewing YOUR spirit. You deserve it! Doing this will allow you to be a better mate, mother, father, friend and employee.

Reduce Stress. Have Fun. Relax. I sure can use my own advice on this one.  Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, take time to read a book, enjoy a leisurely bath, listen to calming music, take deep breaths, share your feelings and emotions with close friends, or simply meditate to enjoy the solitude of quietness. Try finding an activity that you enjoy and involve your entire family. You can lower your blood pressure and reduce emotional and physical pain by lowering your stress.

Get Routine Exams and Screenings. Sometimes they’re once a year. Other times they’re more or less often. Based on your age, health history, lifestyle, and other important issues, you and your health care provider can determine how often you need to be examined and screened for certain diseases and conditions. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and cancers of the skin, cervix, breast and colon. When problems are found early, your chances for treatment and cure are better. Routine exams and screenings can help save lives.

Say no to new commitments.  Avoid letting other people place demands on your time. Your time is your life, so, you want to spend your time on the goals and tasks that enable and enrich your life.

Say yes to Fit and Fabulous. We’ll help you get there in 2014. Stop procrastinating, now is the time to take personal responsibility of your health. And for less than $1.50 per week, what do you have to lose, except a few pounds and inches!

Fitness instruction will be offered twice a week by AFAA Certified group exercise and Zumba Instructors: Jesús & Daisy Nicho, will lead Zumba classes and Marilou Lugo, a certified personal trainer will share new and exciting fitness aerobic techniques and moves that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Pre-registration is required by the Jan. 6th deadline, or when 100 participants have registered. Please mail or deliver your $35.00 program fee to Kim Davis at Cooperative Extension, PO Box 68, Goldsboro, NC 27533. Make checks payable to the County of Wayne. Questions?  Call Kim @ (919) 731-1525.

You can do it! Take simple steps each day to live a safe and healthy life. Here’s to making 2014 your best year ever!

Thought to ponder:

`“You can simply dream of a better life, or you can take action to create it.” ~ Unknown

Christine Smith is an Extension Agent in the department of Family & Consumer Sciences with N.C. Cooperative Extension, NCSU,WayneCounty. Information on other services available can be found online at http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/ or call me at 731-1525 for additional information.