Walkingspree

Eating more fruits and vegetables

Improving eating habits can be as simple as including plenty of color to your plate, according to the American Dietetic Association.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

THE BASICS:

Fruits and vegetables are edible plants that can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your food plan results in weight loss and fights chronic diseases.

RECOMMENDED SERVINGS:

Guidelines suggest women should eat 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-2.5 cups of vegetables. Men should eat 2 cups of fruits, and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables. Bottomline: Aim for five 1-cup servings a day.

THE RESEARCH:

A variety of fruits and vegetables protect you from a variety of health risks, and their color provides a key associated to these benefits. Try to eat some of these at least once a week:

Green produce promotes healthy vision and may reduce cancer risks. Choose avocados, apples, grapes, honeydew, melons, kiwi, limes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach.

Orange and deep yellow promotes healthy vision, immunity, and may reduce cancer risks. Choose apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruits, mangos, papayas, peaches, pineapples, carrots, yellow peppers, yellow corn and sweet potatoes.

Purple and blue has anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and may reduce cancer risks. Choose blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage and purple-fleshed potatoes.

Red helps maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks. Choose cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grapefruit, red grapes, watermelon, beets, red onions, red peppers, rhubarb and tomatoes.

White, tan and brown contain nutrients that promote heart health and may reduce cancer risks. Choose bananas, brown pears, dates, white peaches, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potatoes and white corn.

QUICK TIPS:

  • Buy in season, when flavors are at their peak and produce costs less.
  • Buy pre-cut packages of fruits or vegetables for snacks, instead of chips or candy.
  • Keep a bowl of fruit in sight, or wherever you go first to find a snack. If you see them, you will eat them.
  • Add fruit to food you already eat, like cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt and salads.
  • Add veggies to food you already eat, like pasta dishes, canned soups, frozen pizza.
  • Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, quick bread, muffins.
  • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
  • Dip fruit in yogurt, low calorie pudding, peanut butter.
  • Dip veggies in salsa or low calorie dressings.
  • Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables.
  • Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
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5 ways to keep your diet and fitness goals on track through the summer

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It’s summer. BBQ’s, patios and sunshine. It just feels right to indulge while relaxing at the cottage or in the back yard. However with a little bit of awareness you can stay on top of your fitness and health so you’re not playing catch up the rest of the year.

1. Plan for flexibility. Watch for changes in routine. Are you a social eater or do you snack when you’re alone? If you’re running late to something, do you have a tendency to grab something unhealthy on the go? Keep health snacks on hand and plan in advance for the random changes in summer. For longer road trips, locate in advance the grocery stores you will pass. Stop and buy fresh fruit, vegetables and prepared deli food. Or purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from roadside stands. Always have a water bottle so you don’t get dehydrated, and use that water to wash any produce.

2. Avoid dog days of summer boredom. Sometimes you’re just relaxing and maybe a bit bored. Be careful that you’re not snacking out of boredom. Download an audio book or podcasts to keep you entertained.

3. More people doesn’t mean more food. If you are a social eater, treat yourself to a reasonable portion of something that you love. Pick one treat. Don’t have chips, beer and wings. If you love beer, have one with a healthier meal. If you don’t love beer but you love wings, drink a low-calorie alcoholic beverage or water and indulge in a few wings. Stay hydrated. That way you won’t mistake dehydration for hunger. If you are attending an event at someone’s home, offer to bring something. That way you have at least one healthy option.

4. Make good Patio/restaurant food choices. Before going to a restaurant, preview the menu online and decide what you will eat. On arrival, don’t look at a menu. Order your predetermined choice. Place your cutlery down between bites so that your brain has time to register that you are full.

5. Make exercise part of your vacation. Don’t let a change to your routine be an excuse not to exercise. You don’t need a gym to get a good workout; you can move and be active anywhere! Explore your vacation destination on foot or on a bike. Use your activity tracker and take advantage of even higher step counts on vacation explore days.

Summer is full of fun and yes some indulgence, but it’s still possible to make healthier choices. It just takes some awareness and advance planning. If you make a choice you are not proud of, don’t feel guilty. Instead, use it as learning experience so you can make a more informed choice next time. Moderation is the key and your future self will be grateful.

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Move! Protect yourself from the sun

Protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays

Summer is just around the corner, so why not celebrate with a fresh bottle or two of sunscreen?

You are probably walking outside more, so it makes sense to take a few minutes and protect yourself from skin cancer.

You are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays all year round, even on cloudy days, so it makes sense to cover up. Take these precautions when you go out walking this summer, and all year round.

- Stay in the shade during midday hours
- Cover exposed skin with clothing — if you can see through the fabric, so can the UV rays.
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade face, head, ears and neck
- Wear wraparound sunglasses with both UVA and UVB ray protection
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protective factor) of 15 or higher, regularly and generously

Sunscreens contain chemicals that interact with the skin to block UVB rays. The SPF number equates to UVB ray exposure. For example, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 means you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in in sun. So, one hour in the sun with an SPF 30 is the same as spending 2 minutes in the sun unprotected.

Sunscreens come in SPFs ranging from 15 to 100+, but higher numbers do not mean more protection — an SFP of 30 does not provide twice the protection of an SPF of 15. An SPF of 15 filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 about 97 percent, SPF 50 about 98 percent and SPF 100, about 99 percent.

The key is to reapply sunscreen generously every couple of hours when exposed to the sun. Use 1 ounce, about a shot glass size, to cover your arms, legs, neck and face. Apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Also, sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years, so check the expiration date, too.

When you grab that bottle of water for your walk, you may want to grab the sunscreen, too.

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National Walking Day! April 1, 2015

National Walking Day – Benefits of Walking Infograph

Go for your personal best this Wednesday – National Start! Walking Day

The American Heart Association’s annual National Start! Walking Day – Wednesday, April 4 – is about fighting heart disease and stroke by becoming more active.

Did you know that one hour of vigorous exercise increases your life expectancy by two hours?

Did you know that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease?

Now challenge yourself this week and go for your personal best. If you haven’t been hitting your step goal, resolve to do it every day this week.

  • - During the week create more walking opportunities at work:
  • - Track the steps up a set of stairs or hallway and put up a sign “50 steps for this staircase or hallway”.
  • - Take the long way to the restroom, water cooler or coffee machine.
  • - Put up “Walk instead of Ride” signs beside the elevator doors to encourage using the stairs

With our busy lives, we are all fighting sitting disease. This is a problem when you consider the fact that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease and places you at risk for many other illnesses. The good news is that walking can significantly reduce your risk of many diseases. To highlight all the benefits of walking, we’ve created this infographic that you can print and put up in your workplace or share online.

So we encourage employees and everyone to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your coworkers a friendly push toward a healthier life.

Learn more about the other amazing benefits of walking.

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Are you Walking Right? (Infograph)

Download this Walking Infograph for placing in your home or workplace.

Then check out the tips under the infograph on how to how to measure the intensity of your walk.

Measure the intensity of your workout
As you walk, measure the intensity. Knowing your level allows you to increase the intensity to maximize your workout or slow down to avoid overdoing it.

The Talk Test is one way to rate your intensity. You should aim for Moderate to Hard Effort.

  • Very light effort – you can carry on a conversation and talk in sentences
  • Moderate effort – you can talk, but not in full sentences
  • Hard effort – you can talk, but would rather not
  • Very, very hard effort – you cannot say a word

Keep track of your progress
Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you’ll feel when you see how many miles you’ve walked each week, month or year.

Reference your walking using the Walkingspree pedometer activity tracking. Your walking history can all be found when you upload and sign in.

Cool down after each walking session
To reduce stress on your heart and muscles, end each walking session by walking slowly for about five minutes. Then, repeat your stretches.

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