Marching Toward a Healthier Lifestyle

By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern

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By March, New Year’s resolution motivation may be dwindling down, which is why it’s the perfect time to celebrate National Nutrition Month and get back into a healthy lifestyle.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promote informed food choices and habitual exercise.

Here are some small changes you can make that will have a big impact on your health:

  • Pack on the go healthy snacks such as apple slices
  • Eat seafood twice a week
  • Visit a physician to get the best advice for you
  • Use an app or website to keep track of your progress

If you need an interactive approach to healthy eating, visit www.choosemyplate.gov, and get to know the different food groups and other important information. It takes equal parts healthy eating and exercise to contribute to your overall health. Adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and kids need at least 60 minutes.

Some people may think the only form of exercise is running, so they shy away from physical activity. But, there are many ways to fit exercise into your life.

  • Many gyms now offer fitness classes such as Zumba, kickboxing, water aerobics and Pilates.
  • There are at-home videos that incorporate group activities and upbeat music to keep you motivated.
  • Even walking around the block for half an hour after dinner makes a big difference to your health.
  • Eat carbs before your workout to give you energy
  • Eat carbs with protein after a workout for muscle recovery

There are a number of blogs and magazines that have recipes to walk you through eating healthy. EatRight has tips and information categorized by audience; Men, women, kids and seniors can find specialized information on topics like food, health and fitness.

university farmers market lA great way to make buying fruits and vegetables fun is to visit a farmer’s market! And we have one right here! The University of Maryland Medical Center hosts a farmer’s market on Tuesdays from May through November from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get more information at http://umm.edu/about/green/farmers-market.

So, if you’re looking for some motivation to make a lifestyle change or to keep pursuing your New Year’s resolutions, this is the month to do it!

Making Heart Health a Year-Round Priority

By: Hope Gamper, Editorial Intern

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February and American Heart Month are ending, but just because March is around the corner doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about keeping your heart in tip-top shape.

The American Heart Association (AHA), whose mission is to fight cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and the UM Heart Center offer a series of lifestyle recommendations for optimizing your heart health all year round.

Move More

Working out regularly is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week (if you can’t do 30 minutes at a time, you can add up 10-minute sessions throughout the day).

Also try working in exercise to your normal routine:

  • Instead of driving to the store, walk or bike.
  • Park in a spot farther from your destination.
  • Keep dumbbells near the remote so you can stay active while watching TV.

Skip the Snacks

What you eat is just as important as what you do. Swapping out foods heavy with added sodium and fat for nutrient-rich foods can help you manage your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Here is a list of foods to fix and foods to nix.

Fix more foods high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, including:

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, barley and buckwheat
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Protein sources – poultry, fish and nuts

Nix processed foods and those that tend to be high in sodium and fat, including:

  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • Red meat
  • Deep fried foods or foods cooked in butter

Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco and other ingredients common in cigarettes frequently contribute to heart disease. Even secondhand smoke kills nearly 70,000 people each year.

The good news is that when you quit smoking you see short term benefits right away, and it only takes about 5 to 15 years to reduce stroke risk to that similar of a nonsmoker. There is still time to reverse the damage caused by tobacco and ensure that your heart keeps pumping for many years to come.

Click here for a list of Smoking Cessation Classes in your area.

 

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Heart disease accounts for 1 in 4 deaths each year, making these types of incremental changes vital to reducing your risk of heart related illness and keeping your heart well for all of life’s challenges, in February or any other month.

UMMS “Spring Into a Healthy Summer” Event Serves Up a Dose of Wellness

By Kate Hancock , Public Affairs Intern, and Sharon Boston, Media Relations Manager, University of Maryland Medical System

Good staff pic newAs part of our commitment to giving back to our communities, the University of Maryland Medical System’s Community Benefits and Outreach Committee sprang into action with the “Spring Into a Healthy Summer” event June 14 in University Plaza Park, right across from the Medical Center.

Our dedicated health care providers started off the summer by providing hundreds of people with essential health information, free screenings and fun fitness activities.

Nearly 100 guests took advantage of free blood pressure and cholesterol checks, and many people expressed their excitement by playing with fitness equipment and sampling healthy foods at the Healthy Groove van.

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While some visitors were content to merely read about health and fitness, a few enthusiastic guests showed their newfound commitment to health with an invigorating line dance right in the middle of the park!

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Magic 95.9 broadcast live from the event and radio personality Tim Watts interviewed UMMS health professionals on topics ranging from breast cancer to smoking cessation and childhood obesity

Thanks to this event, the UMMS team shared health and wellness information with hundreds of Marylanders who have a healthier start for summer 2013.