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20 Ways to Keep Your 2020 Fitness Resolutions

20 Ways to Keep Your 2020 Fitness Resolutions

walking, tennis shoes, fitness resolutions

Something about the clean slate of a new year lures us into believing we might just be able to do things differently this time. In a few short weeks, we’ll not only have the promises of a bright, shiny new year, but a whole new decade to fill with our hopes, dreams, and goals. If you’re planning new fitness resolutions this year, keep reading.

The trouble is, we’re still the same person on January 1 that we were on December 31. If that person didn’t eat well or exercise regularly then jumping into a new fitness routine on January 1 is likely to lead to frustration. We want you to succeed in your fitness goals in 2020 not just on January 1 but on February 15 and May 23 and all the days beyond. 

The key to successful navigation of your News Year’s fitness goals is preparing now. Why wait until January 1 to start taking more walks or joining a gym? Get started now with these simple steps.

  1. Start with a wellness check-up. Getting clearance from your medical provider before starting an exercise routine is particularly important if you have a chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma. Let your provider know you’d like to start exercising more and ask for his or her suggestions.
  2. Purchase a pair of good athletic shoes. Exercise doesn’t have to involve pricy gyms or expensive equipment. You will need the appropriate footwear. Your flipflops or slippers won’t cut it here. Choose shoes with good support that are made for the activity you’ve chosen. Running shoes will be lighter while cross-trainers will offer more support. Now’s the perfect time to put these on your Christmas wish list!
  3. Set a baseline. Every great goal starts by acknowledging where you are now. Take your resting heart rate. Record how long it takes you to walk 1 mile. Sit in the floor with your legs straight in front of you and see how far toward your feet you can reach without bending your knees. Count how many standard or modified push-ups you can do at one time.
  4. Choose activities you like and that offer easy access for you. Saying you’re going to ride your bike for thirty-minutes a day when you don’t own a bike won’t help you set your goals. If you plan to join a gym, choose one near your home or office so you have one less excuse for not going. 
  5. Set specific goals. Planning to exercise more is a great resolution, but what exactly does more mean? A goal to walk 1 mile three times a week is both specific and reasonable, especially if you haven’t exercised much in the last year. If you already exercise but want to increase what you’re doing, build on where you are. 
  6. Set realistic goals. In addition to specific goals make them realistic. Will you really get up at 3 a.m. to walk a mile every morning? Can you actually go to the gym after work if you have to pick up the kids? Know yourself and what you’re willing to do. Making fitness easy and accessible increases the chances you’ll stick with it.
  7. Set new goals every three months. Instead of setting a goal to stick with this fitness routine for a year aim for one month or three months. Re-evaluate after three months to decide if you like your current routine if you’re sticking with it, and what you may need to change.
  8. Be flexible. You thought you’d like swimming every day during your lunch hour, but cleaning up afterward puts you late getting back to work. Or maybe you still don’t feel comfortable at your gym after a month of going. You have more options. Choose another activity, another time, or another gym. Don’t quit one without a plan for how to fill your fitness time, but do allow yourself to change your mind.
  9. Reward yourself. We’re not talking about eating a cupcake after your fitness session. Choose other rewards like taking yourself to the movies, having a massage or purchasing that book you’ve been dying to read after you complete a certain number of exercise sessions in a row. Your reward don’t have to involve money. You might spend 30 minutes in a hot bath listening to music or allow yourself to watch an episode of your favorite television show.
  10. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. You wouldn’t skip your doctor’s appointment or hair appointment. Put your exercise time on your calendar like any other appointment. If it’s written it’s more likely to get done.
  11. Tell your family and friends. If taking 30 minutes to walk after work will affect the schedule of other people in your family talk to them about what you’re doing a why. Better yet, invite them to join you! Find supportive family and friends who will ask you if you’ve exercised or will text you encouragement when they know you’re working out.
  12. Join a fitness class. Lack the motivation to workout alone? Most gyms offer group fitness classes led by trained instructors. Many allow you to try a class free before you join. The end of December is a great time to try new classes before you join in January. Use your time wisely!
  13. Exercise with friends. This one gets a little tricky. Some friends will push you to work harder, others will spend the entire time gabbing and you won’t actually work out. Find friends who also have fitness goals to reach and work together to get healthy.
  14. Use a fitness app to track your progress. Many free fitness apps for smartphones will track your exercise and estimate the number of calories you’ve burned. If you’re wearing a fitness tracker like FitBit or Apple Watch these devices will pair with your apps for even more information. You can also set fitness trackers to remind you to move periodically throughout the day.
  15. Drink more water. If you’re increasing your exercise, you need to increase your water even in the cold months. Choosing water over sports drinks, sodas, or sweet tea also reduces your calorie intake. And if you’re drinking more water you’ll have to walk to the bathroom more often which increases your step count. Win-win-win.
  16. Add variety to your workouts. Walking is a great, low-cost fitness option, but make sure to add some resistance training as well. Multiple repetitions with small hand weights or resistance bands build muscle without requiring a lot of fancy equipment. YouTube and Facebook offer plenty of videos from fitness experts. This type of exercise gives you a break on cold or rainy days when you can’t walk outside.
  17. Listen to your body. “No pain no gain” isn’t the right exercise message. Reaching your fitness goals shouldn’t hurt. As your abilities increase you may push yourself to work harder but start off easy. If your body is out of breath or tired take a break. Allow yourself a day to rest if you had a restless night or you are sick. Don’t use 1 or 2 days off as an excuse not to return to your exercise routine. 
  18. Put on exercise clothes when you get home. Just putting on your exercise clothes and shoes is sometimes all the reminder you need to keep your commitment. If you’re exercising in the evening set your gym bag by the door to take with you to work or lay out your workout clothes so you see them when you get home. Remove as many excuses as possible.
  19. Monitor your progress. Remember that baseline you recorded? Go back every six weeks and record your progress. It might be small at first, but every extra push-up counts.
  20. Remember the best exercise you can choose is the one you’ll actually do.

We’re cheering for you and your 2020 fitness goals. Our providers are ready to talk to you about staying healthy this year and for years to come.

Your BMI’s Role in a Healthy Future

calculating your BMI

If you need to lose weight to manage your diabetes or simply get healthier and reduce your risks of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high bad cholesterol, start by calculating your body mass index (BMI).

What is the BMI scale and How Do I Use It?

The body mass index uses weight x’s height to calculate your BMI number. The number, measured on a scale, indicates if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. 

BMI Scale

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal Weight = 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight = 25 – 29.9
  • Obese = 30 or greater

You can calculate your BMI at home. Luckily, you don’t have to be great at math to do it, thanks to handy online calculators. Try this one from the National Blood Heart and Lung Institute. You’ll find other links here including the BMI table, which shows you where your weight lies on the scale and the ideal weight number for your height. You’ll also find information on how to get started controlling your weight and recipes to help you eat healthier. 

The keys to weight loss are support and an organized plan to not only lose weight but keep it off for good. Our Witcher’s Weightloss Warriors meet every Monday to support one another and learn healthy habits. The best news? The program is free! Contact Mantachie Rural Healthcare today to schedule an appointment to discuss your results and learn how to sign up for our Witcher’s Weightloss Warriors!

How To Handle Raw Chicken

It’s safe to say that chicken is America’s favorite meat. However, each year around 1.2 million people in America contract a foodborne illness like salmonella from cross-contamination with items including raw chicken and eggs. 

As tailgating season heats up and the holidays continue to creep around the corner, knowing how to properly handle uncooked chicken protects your dinner guests safe from foodborne illnesses. Check out our quick guide to handling raw chicken.

  • If you plan to pick up a pack of chicken at the grocery store, place it in a disposable bag to prevent it from cross-contaminating other items in your cart.
  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw chicken. Want an easy tip for making sure you’ve washed your hands for the proper amount of time? Sing the happy birthday song to yourself as you wash! 
  • Never, ever wash uncooked chicken. The juices can spread across the kitchen and contaminate countertops, the sink and other items present.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken.
  • Never, ever place foods or anything else on a surface that contained raw chicken. 
  • Wash countertops, cutting boards, dishes, utensils and any other item touched by raw chicken in warm, soapy water.
  • Always use a food thermometer to ensure you cook chicken at a safe temperature of at least 165℉.
  • Never eat undercooked chicken.
  • Store leftover cooked chicken within two hours of serving, or one hour if the temperature outdoors is over 90 degrees. 
  • Don’t forget to clean your grill after cooking chicken. This piece of cooking equipment often gets looked over during cleanup which often leads to heavy consequences later.

Diabetes and Gastroparesis

salad; diabetes and gastroparesis

We’ve written and talked a lot about nerve damage due to diabetes. Most of the time we discuss nerve damage to the feet, but nerves all over the body are subject to damage from diabetes. The vagus nerve, which controls the functions of the stomach, is another nerve that can be damaged if blood glucose levels stay too high for too long.

The vagus nerve controls stomach muscles, prompting them to move and digest your food after you eat. When the nerve is damaged, food doesn’t digest as quickly as it should or sometimes at all. This further complicates diabetes because the stomach may digest food at unpredictable rates, which means blood sugar becomes harder to control. This damage causes gastroparesis and it affects both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics.

Symptoms

When food lingers in the stomach longer than it should, patients often experience

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting of undigested food
  • Early feeling of fullness when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Erratic blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Lack of appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Spasms of the stomach wall

These symptoms may be present every time a patient eats, only when they eat certain foods or at random times. When nausea and vomiting persist for too long, patients may need IV fluids or hospitalization.

Treatment

The bad news is gastroparesis has no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage the disease. Each case of gastroparesis is unique and patients who think they may have gastroparesis should talk to their providers.

Medical providers may prescribe medications which can aid in digestion. They may also suggest diet changes. Eating smaller meals and consuming foods low in fiber and fat can also speed digestion. Some patients benefit from sitting up or walking after meals instead of lying down.

In severe cases, a feeding tube may become necessary.

Prevention

Now that we’ve given you the worst-case scenario, let’s talk about how to prevent Type 2 diabetes and gastroparesis if you already have diabetes.

Since gastroparesis is caused by damage to the vagus nerve from high blood glucose levels, one way to prevent gastroparesis is to keep blood glucose levels under control. If you’re struggling to manage your diabetes talk to your medical provider or a nutritionist to create a routine that helps you manage your blood sugar levels.

If you do not have diabetes find out how to create a lifestyle that reduces your risk of diabetes. Not only will you possibly save your stomach but all the nerves in your body. Eat a balanced diet low in sugar and processed foods. Stay active. Don’t smoke. Lose weight if you need to. All these activities give your body one more layer of protection against many chronic illnesses.

Diabetes isn’t the only risk factor for gastroparesis. People who have had abdominal surgery, who take certain medications such as narcotic pain medications, have an underlying nervous system disease or hypothyroidism maybe also experience a slow emptying of the stomach.

If you have any of these symptoms see your provider and discuss what might be the cause and how to treat your stomach problems so you feel better faster.

How to Choose the Best Dairy Alternatives

milk; dairy substitutes; milk substitutes

If dairy products leave you with digestive upset including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you aren’t alone. A report from the National Institutes of Health shows 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Science shows children’s bodies are equipped with an enzyme called lactase which breaks down the lactose in their mother’s milk. As children move into adulthood, many lose this enzyme leaving them unable to comfortably digest dairy products.

Luckily, grocery store shelves are filled with dairy alternatives to sweeten your coffee, pour over your cereal or substitute in recipes. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or have chosen to live dairy free as part of a vegan or paleo lifestyle, the most important step in choosing a dairy alternative is to consider the nutritional benefits.

One cup of milk contains:

  • 146 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 13 grams of carbohydrates

Luckily most dairy alternatives are lower in calories, but they do not offer the same amount of protein. When you’re checking out the nutritional label of any dairy alternative, look for:

  • At least 7-8 grams of protein
  • The words “unsweetened” or “0 grams added sugar”
  • Fortified with calcium and vitamin D
  • Low amounts of saturated fats
  • Less than 140 mg of sodium per cup

Milk Substitutions

 almond milk; dairy substitutions; milk substitutes; lactose intolerance

One of the most common dairy alternatives is soy milk. It contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk with fewer calories and fat content. It may have an odd taste for those making the switch. Try several brands, and check the nutritional information, before deciding it isn’t for you though.

Another popular alternative now is almond milk. With around 30-35 calories per cup, this option has much fewer calories than cow’s milk but it also contains only 1 g of protein. Almond milk may be used as a substitute in coffee and baked goods. Although almonds are known for their high concentration of protein and fiber, almond milk is often a watered-down variety of whole almonds. To receive the most nutritional benefit from almond milk, look for varieties with higher almond content, 7-15%.

Coffee drinkers looking for an alternative to dairy creamers find coconut milk a creamy, rich choice. With 45 calories per cup, 4 g of fat and 0 protein or carbohydrates, it’s a great option for those wishing to cut calories. If you’re looking to keep or increase your protein intake, however, you’ll need to keep looking.

In addition to these popular substitutions, you’ll also find rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, flax milk, cashew milk, and tiger nut milk in some specialty stores as alternatives to dairy. As mentioned above look at the nutritional values before snatching one off the shelf. Each has its pros and cons.

Butter Alternatives

butter; dairy alternatives; lactose intolerance

Good news for those who enjoy butter, this dairy product has a very low lactose level! Because of the way it’s produced, it has a low liquid level which is where lactose is contained in milk. If you’re still sure you want to substitute butter, we do have a few ideas for you.

Margarine is the top contender for replacing butter in recipes, but other options may fit the bill even better depending on your nutritional needs and your recipe.

Olive oil can effectively replace butter when sauteing foods. Coconut oil can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for butter in most recipes although it may add a slightly sweeter flavor than butter.

A ripe avocado or banana can also be substituted for butter in baked recipes.

Cheese

dairy; hard cheese; cheese, lactose intolerance; milk substitute; dairy substitute

Similar to butter, hard cheeses contain much lower levels of lactose than a glass of milk. Aged cheeses have even lower levels of lactose. Soft cheese such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, and Brie do have higher levels of lactose than hard cheeses, but may not cause symptoms in small portions.

Ice Cream

dairy free sorbet; non dairy ice cream; lactose intolerance; dairy substitute; milk substitute

What summer vacation would be complete with a little ice cream? You don’t have to completely give up frozen desserts because of lactose intolerance. Many brands offer lactose-free ice cream and sorbet contains no dairy.

If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier, schedule a visit with one of our providers to talk about your health and nutrition.


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