January 26, 2012

Come On Missouri! Let's Get Moving!

Unfortunately Missouri has slipped to 40th out of 51 in America's Health Ranking. In 1990, we ranked 24th. The United Health Foundation's report indicated that troubling increases in obesity, diabetes and children in poverty are offsetting improvements in smoking cessation, preventable hospitalizations and cardiovascular deaths. Since 1990, we had been seeing a slow but steady improvement. There was no improvement from 2010 to 2011.

We need to get serio0us about fighting this epidemic. Make exercise a habit. Stick to a regular time of day. Make a contract with yourself to exercise. Put "exercise time" on your calendar. Keep a daily log or diary of your exercise time. Check your progress. Can you walk a certain distance faster than you could when you began? Or, is your heart rate lower? Ask your doctor to write a prescription for your exercise program such as what type of exercise to do, how long and how often. Think about joining the Scotland County Community Fitness Center. The cost gives some people the incentive to exercise.

Start by talking with your physician. This is especially important if you have been inactive for a long period of time. You can start by sneaking exercise into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk during your coffee break or lunch. Walk all or part of the way to work. Do housework at a fast pace. Rake leaves or do other yard work.

Some suggestions to help you stick to it are: Choose something you like to do and that fits you. Swimming is easier on arthritis sufferers. Get a partner. Doing it with someone makes it fun. Vary your routine - walk, swim, bike, play tennis. Choose a comfortable time of day - not too soon after eating or too early if you are stiff in the mornings. Don't get discouraged. It can take weeks; even months before you see some of the benefits from exercise such as weight loss. Forget "no pain, no gain". While a little bit of soreness is normal after starting a program, if you hurt or are injured, take a break. Make exercise fun!

Remember, some of the benefits of regular exercise are: reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity; keeps joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible which makes it easier to move around; reduces some of the effects of aging; contributes to your mental well-being and helps you reduce depression; helps relieve stress and anxiety; increases your energy and endurance; helps you sleep better; helps you maintain a normal weight by increasing your metabolism.

Once again, the Health Department in cooperation with the Scotland County Fitness Center will be offering a walking program on Thursday evenings from 5:15 to 6:15 starting January 26, 2012. It will coincide with the very popular BLOG. This year it will be a little different. Each week participants will be given daily goals for the following week. Those who are able to accomplish the goals for five of the seven days, not counting the rest day will be entered into a raffle for a six month membership to the Fitness Center. The first 25 to sign up will receive a free pedometer. Hope to see you there!

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