Pursuing a Clutter-Free Life

October 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

There is a lot of information out there about “voluntary simplicity” and how pursuing it can de-clutter life so that we have more time to do what is important such as taking a bike ride or going for a walk. The biggest challenge in living a healthy, active lifestyle is to take the time to make time for it. So it seems to make sense to take a look at how we can “create time” for ourselves to pursue healthy living strategies and look after our heart health. Here are a few thoughts on how to achieve this:

  • Take baby steps. You can’t remodel your life in one grand sweep. Take little, “doable” actions that reinforce your resolve and make you feel successful.
  • Put the remote down and get on your bike or go for a walk. The average American watches 4 hours of TV per DAY! Get out of that chair and into the fresh air! Become a bit less than average and go outside. Your family and dog will love you for it, and really, Oprah or the Simpson’s won’t miss you in the slightest!
  • Get out of your car and walk or take a bike. With a bit of planning, you could take one of Rochester’s beautiful bike trails to work or the grocery store.  You can commute and get your exercise at the same time! And think of the money you save on parking and gas.

Simplify your schedule. We all want to help; pitch in for that garage sale, bring your ailing aunt some food, take Grandpa to the grocery store, or join that committee at school. The next time you find yourself raising your hand to tell them, “Yes, I can do it!” stop and think about how it can positively improve your free time and your pursuit of healthy living.

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Anticipate Your Triggers

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments

When it comes to our health and wellness we generally have good intentions to exercise more, eat less, quit smoking, and lower stress. However, even the best intentions can fail if we don’t first identify our triggers and then put a plan in place to address how we’re going to handle them.

A trigger is something that causes us to want to engage in a certain behavior. It can be emotional, physical or habitual, or a combination of all three. Here are a few examples of common triggers and the result:

  • A desire to take the elevator instead of the stairs due to fatigue
  • A cigarette after the morning cup of coffee
  • A food craving due to a negative emotion (sadness, anger)
  • Increased stress due to a perceived, but not yet realized, outcome

Of course, this is hardly an all-encompassing list, as triggers are very individualized. That is why we each must start by identifying what our triggers are. Only then can we begin to anticipate those situations that may get in the way of our intentions. Let’s get started by using the steps versus elevator scenario:

  • Be thorough. List every trigger you can think of that has, in the past, caused you to exhibit an unwanted behavior. Is fatigue the only reason you favor the elevator?
  • Make a plan. What will you do instead of succumbing to the trigger? For example, instead of pressing the elevator button, remind yourself that exercise can actually help you fight off the fatigue and increase your overall energy level.
  • Try it. Take the stairs today. See how you feel.
  • Give yourself time. Maybe you were a bit out of breath when you took the stairs, but you did it. Build on your success and try it again next time!
  • Analyze the results. If it worked, you now have the motivation to continue your plan. If it doesn’t, could you identify the reason it didn’t? In this scenario, if you usually take the elevator three floors catch the ride for two floors and hit the steps for one.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Remember, we all have different triggers that produce different results, and there is no one universal way to address each.

If this sounds way too simple, perhaps it’s because many folks tend to over-think this process and made their desired goals too complicated in the past. Small steps and changes will lead to small gains and achievements. Slowly work your way up the ladder (or steps) instead of trying to leap directly to the top! Give it a shot. What have you got to lose? For more information and ideas log onto our Healthy Living Rochester website to gain the facts and insightful details you need to live a healthier lifestyle!

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Fruits and Veggies – Make it Five a Day

August 8th, 2012 · No Comments

To eat healthy is to live healthy. Sounds too simple, right? It’s just food. It’s just eating, something most of us have done since we were born. The serious truth is poor nutrition impacts more than a person’s general health and well-being. Nutritional negligence can have an adverse effect on heart health, yet many people simply do not eat right. Why?

While some blame fast food and snack advertising for the bad eating habits many have developed, others attribute the poor nutrition problem to the mixed messages that have been given over the years about what is healthy to eat and what is not healthy. Convenience is another culprit in the poor nutrition blame game.

We do have a choice in what we eat and whether or not we are going to give into the culprits of negative nutrition. By focusing on the positive nutritional opportunities available to us rather than spending our time worrying about what or who is to blame when it comes to nutrition, we can take steps in the right direction. We can make good, gradual changes to the foods we and/or our friends and family members consume.

For those who live in Rochester, Minnesota there’s an ample amount of healthy food options that can be purchased from a variety of grocery stores, markets, restaurants and delis. When buying food look for fruit and vegetable opportunities. If there are places you go to that don’t offer any fruits or vegetables, you may want to consider changing the places you patronize to ones that do. Finding five servings of fruits and vegetables a day could be made into a game – a great one to play with children. To make it even more fun and even healthier, you could challenge each other to find five fruits and vegetables that represent five different colors.

To learn more fun ways to incorporate health into your day, visit local websites like healthylivingrochester.org. You could learn more and share healthy lifestyle goals by becoming involved with local organizations like Healthy Living Rochester as well as organizations that Healthy Living Rochester works with to help promote a healthy lifestyle that incorporates good nutrition.

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Give up the Guilt for a Healthy Lifestyle

July 27th, 2012 · No Comments

It’s something you see and hear over and over:  You’ve got to lose that weight.  News articles try to scare you into losing weight.  Advertisements try to shame you into losing weight.  And to make matters worse, you live in Rochester, MN, home of the Mayo Clinic, which can make it feel you should have no excuse for being overweight.

With all that pressure, it seems like you should have all the motivation you need to shed those pounds, but for some reason, for some people, it makes you feel guilty and ashamed.  Perhaps you should take another approach: Rather than obsessing about losing weight to hopefully achieve an eventual goal, instead, switch your focus and make it your ultimate goal to live healthy.

The problem with simply trying to lose weight is that you often gain it back after you’ve met your goal.  This is because you haven’t really changed the behaviors that caused the weight gain in the first place.  You need to get off the weight-loss, weight-gain roller coaster.  If you focus on living healthy, you make positive changes that improve your health which results in more energy, improved self-esteem, improved heart health, and yes, weight loss.

Rochester Healthy Living has links to local, Minnesota, and national resources that you can use to start living a healthy lifestyle.  These resources include information for eating right, how to exercise correctly, quitting smoking, and living with heart disease.  And you don’t have to go it alone.  Rochester Healthy Living also has on-line forums where you can meet other people who are on the road and making the same journey as you to healthy living.

Give up the guilt.  Put away the shame.  Emphasizing healthy living will go much further into making you a happier, healthier person.

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A tip for fellow Rochester, MN Residents to Live a Healthy Life – Give yourself a Break!

July 13th, 2012 · No Comments

Our battle to achieve the ideal weight, eat nutritious foods and, in general, live healthy lifestyles would be much less painful if counting our calories was more exciting than counting our money, if carrots tasted better than chocolate, if exercising was more enjoyable than lounging on the couch, and if taking heart health supplements and/or medications went down as easily as an icy cold beverage on a steamy hot day.

But, as we all know, that’s not how it is. Still, we are the ones that make it more difficult on ourselves than necessary to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We may find the old adage “everything in moderation” quite irritating, but the reality is this axiom is very wise to follow.

Don’t settle for all or nothing! Too often people take an “all or nothing attitude” to certain healthy living behaviors. For example, if we splurge and have a hot fudge sundae for breakfast, or skip our morning workout or heart health medications, chances are we’re going to be inclined to continue that unhealthy eating/exercise pattern for the remainder of the day – perhaps even longer if the weekend is coming. Because, hey, it’s just for one day, tomorrow’s a new day, or there’s always Monday, right?

It’s not easy to do, but it is possible to begin to change that attitude. Rather than wait until the next morning to try again, why not decide that your next meal or break is the start of a brand new day? After all, there’s nothing magic about the strike of midnight; any time of the day is the right time when it comes to making a healthy life style change! And the sooner you get back on course, the more quickly you can ease into your routine – and the better you’ll feel, emotionally and physically.

So, give yourself a break. Enjoy the occasional indulgence – in moderation – and then get back on track to living a healthy lifestyle.

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Ten Practices for Healthy Living

July 6th, 2012 · No Comments

With year-round access to indoor and outdoor activities and world-renowned medical facilities, Rochester Minnesota is a Mecca for the health and wellness-oriented. In conjunction with reasonable exercise and diet, there are many simple things that one can do at home to get and stay in good health.

Although the benefits of some of these health practices are well-known, you might just be surprised by some of the less obvious physical and emotional effects, both positive and negative, that they may have.

1. If you use tobacco, quit. The negative consequences are clearly documented and well known, and the benefits of quitting are equally known and start immediately.
2. Maintain a balanced diet. Did you know that there is a connection between food and mood? Yep, it’s called Serotonin; a neurotransmitter chemical that can be influenced by what we eat which in turn influences how we feel. Certain foods are not only nutritious but have been shown to improve overall mood as well!
3. Develop a consistent exercise routine. Did you know that physical exercise can reduce depression and anxiety?
4. Avoid stress when possible. Short-term stress can have some limited benefits, such as a temporary adrenaline kick and motivation to get something done. The long-term effects, however, can be incredibly and permanently damaging. Chronic stress affects almost every system in your body, and has even been shown to speed up the aging process, cause infertility, and “rewire” the brain, which could lead to mood instability.
5. Take your medications as prescribed. The health benefits are obvious. What may not be obvious are the potential detriments to not taking a medication as prescribed. Stopping them too early can lead to a recurrence of the condition or future immunity against the medication. Taking too much of a medication or too often can lead to addiction and other physical consequences.
6. Protect your heart and your health. Did you know that less than half of people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t even know they have it? Know your numbers, and prevent potential complications. Schedule a physical, and that includes all of you guys out there as well! It’s common knowledge that most men are less likely than woman to schedule a physical!

We are each unique, and our culture, ethnicity, family situation, career and finances impact each of these areas.  Therefore, some of us have to be more creative than others in order to adhere to these recommendations. For example, the desk jockey trying to stay active at work, the parent attempting to cook a nutritious meal for a family with widely varying tastes, or someone who is always in a rush and “on the go!” These are things we have to experiment with to find out what works for us and our family members.

While we are experimenting, here are some healthy living practices that are easy to implement regardless of your unique situation:

7.  Stay hydrated. Your body requires water for survival. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body is dependent on proper hydration to maintain appropriate function.
8.  Take 10 when you can. Your time is valuable, and there is rarely enough of it. But even just a 10 minute break from time to time throughout the day can provide a wealth of physical and emotional benefits. Shut the door or go to a quiet place, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
9.  Don’t be too hard on yourself. Establishing healthy living patterns does not exclude the occasional indulgence, and beating yourself up for it is hardly a health practice.
10.  Give yourself kudos. Did you drag yourself to the gym this morning, forgo the extra helping of dessert last night, cut down on smoking, or remember to refill your prescription on time? You should feel good about your accomplishments and you should share it with others. You deserve the satisfaction and the acknowledgement of a job well done.

As you can see, there are many small things we can do each day to create and maintain a healthier lifestyle. And remember to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your slips, embrace your accomplishments, and give yourself grace.

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Be Well. Become Active!

June 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Stay active. And if you stay active, your chances of staying well and healthy improve considerably. If you aren’t currently active, it’s time to get active.  You can never do it soon enough and it is never too late to start improving your health through activity.  After all, who doesn’t want to stay well and be as healthy as possible?

If living a healthy and active lifestyle is important to you, Rochester, Minnesota is a great place to live.  Wellness opportunities continue to expand in the city and surrounding areas with countless venues and programs that offer a wide variety of healthy living experiences and education.  There is a growing list of healthy hot spots on healthylivingrochester.org.

If you like to swim, Rochester has public pools that charge a minimal fee, Minnesota weather permitting of course, and many private facilities that offer pool passes for members and guests.  If you like to rock climb, you can do that in the city every season of the year.  There are plenty of golf courses to play on, public bike paths to ride and/or walk on throughout the city, and public parks to play games and swing in.  Being active here doesn’t have to cost a thing.

There are a lot of gyms one can join in Rochester.  There’s the YMCA, the Rochester Athletic Club, Northgate, WOW Fitness Centers, Empowered Wellness and many more.  For those visiting Rochester, many of the gyms offer temporary memberships or pay-per-visit opportunities.

When looking into a gym membership, you might want to ask yourself the following:

  • What types of activities excite me about doing and/or trying?
  • Do the gym’s hours of operation fit my schedule?
  • Will the gym’s location be a barrier to regularly attending and taking advantage of the fitness activities available there?

There are many ways to get active and stay active in Rochester. Healthylivingrochester.org can help you find many of them.  Staying active is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Don’t delay, start today!

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Be a Star and participate in HealthFlix 2012!

February 13th, 2012 · No Comments

The month of February is designated as national heart month.  It’s a perfect time to think about ways to improve our heart health!

Starting on Valentine’s Day, February 14th,  Healthy Living Rochester is sponsoring HealthFlix 2012, a health promotion campaign that invites people in Rochester and the surrounding area to produce and submit 30-60 second video messages aimed at promoting healthy living.

Basic details of HealthFlix 2012 include the following:

  • Individuals or groups can submit videos
  • Videos should be targeted to a general audience that includes viewers of all ages (“G” rated).
  • Videos should be focused on one or more of the following Healthy Living Rochester goal areas:
  1. Eat healthy
  2. Live tobacco-free
  3. Know your health numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight)
  4. Live well with heart diseas
  5. Be active (for those with heart disease)

Videos can be submitted from February 14th until March 28th.

The public will be able to vote online for their favorite videos, March 30th until April 9th.  Videos with the most votes will be reviewed by a panel of local celebrity judges who will select the top 3 prize-winning videos:  “Most Motivating”, “Most Humorous”, and “Most Original”.   The winning videos will be announced on April 11, 2012, with winners receiving cash prizes and the opportunity to be highlighted on the Healthy Living Rochester website and Facebook page.

Healthy lifestyles lead to good health, and the more we promote and follow healthy lifestyles ourselves, the healthier our community will become.  We invite all who live in Rochester and surrounding areas to make a difference in our community by participating in HealthFlix 2012.

To see more details about HealthFlix 2012, go to www.healthylivingrochester.org.

From the Healthy Living Rochester Team

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Congratulations Quit and Win 2011 Winners!

December 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Congratulations Quit and Win 2011 Winners!

Congratulations to all those who made the commitment to kick the tobacco habit (or help someone kick the habit) in November, in the Quit and Win 2011 campaign, sponsored by Healthy Living Rochester.

The following people were selected at random from all entrees as the winners of the prize drawings:

Quit Heroes:

1.  Roxy R. ($500)
2.  Renae J. ($100)
3.  Josh F. ($50)

Quit Friend Heroes:

1.  Dawn T. ($100)
2.  Patty J. ($50)

Congratulations to these winners, and to all the other winners who have kicked the tobacco habit this past month!  Keep up your efforts!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season!

The Healthy Living Rochester Team

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There’s Still Time to Join Quit and Win 2011, and Enjoy a Happy, Tobacco-Free Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

There’s Still Time to Join Quit and Win 2011, and Enjoy a Happy, Tobacco-Free Thanksgiving!

Healthy Living Rochester invites tobacco users and friends of tobacco users to participate in Quit and Win 2011. Entries close on November 28, 2011, so you need to act now!

For tobacco users:  Be a “Quit Hero” by committing to kick the habit now, then enter your name for a prize drawing that includes a grand prize of $500!

For friends:  Be a “Quit Hero Friend” by helping a friend kick the habit now, then enter your name for a prize drawing that includes a grand prize of $100!

As you gather with family and friends this week, think about how you or a friend can Quit and Win!

Tips for quitting include:

  • Set a quit date: Today would be great!
  • Get help and support from others:  Ask your friends who smoke to join you!
  • Substitute healthy habits for the tobacco habit: Go for a walk!
  • Seek help: Some smokers may need medication to help them quit.
  • Don’t quit on your quit attempt:  Keep at it!

For more information, please go to www.healthylivingrochester.org.

We hope you have happy and healthy holidays!

The Healthy Living Rochester Team

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