Many local residents step up for the February challenge

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Last week I gave you a February challenge — to select a few ways that you can improve your eating habits from a list of 25 ways that I had in my column.

Several Carroll County residents have taken up the challenge and you can too.

Read over the list from last week. Select some you wish to do to prove your health.

Send me an e-mail with what you are doing or stop by the Extension office with what you plan to do.   I have a small gift for you. At the end of the challenge we’ll see how many took the challenge. 

Heart health

February is American Heart Month, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women.

Factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease include tobacco use of any kind, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, as well as lack of physical inactivity.

While exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, if you are obese you may feel discouraged from exercising in order to get your heart healthy. Losing as little as 10 pounds can help you to get walking three times per week for 10 minutes each time.

Being physically fit only has three Ingredients

The recipe for being physically fit is simple:

• 30 minutes cardio

• 8-12 repetitions of strength training

• A dash of stretching

Directions: Take 30 minutes or more of cardio activity five or more times a week. Add in eight – 12 repetitions of strength training three times a week. Toss in a dash of stretching every day.

A well rounded physical activity routine only needs three things: cardio, strength training and stretching.

Many people do one or two of the three because it is what they like to do. However, having a well-rounded routine with all three is best.

Cardio. This is a fairly common part of many people’s physical activity routine. Whether it is walking, running, swimming or cycling, this activity gets your heart pumping. Many people are trying new activities such as dancing or jumping rope.

Cardio activity uses a lot of muscles, all at once over an extended period of time. Remember when doing cardio, set a comfortable pace.

Do not push yourself to the point of exhaustion in just a few minutes. Do not walk too slowly - to tell if you are going at a good pace “use the talk test”. Can you comfortably carry on a conversation with a partner while walking? If you cannot, then you are going too fast.

Strength training.

Typically, if you love doing cardio, you may not be too fond of strength training. The good news is that you can improve your cardio with the help of a strong stomach and back, called the core of the body.

You can improve your core with strength training. All of your muscle groups—legs, arms, chest back, and hips—benefit from a little weight training.

If you have never done strength training, make sure to start out slowly and use lighter weights. It is much easier to add on weight than recover going too far overweight.

Stretching.Stretching is something that you may or may not think about. When you wake up in the morning do you stretch? For many people, in the morning, stretching the arms high above the head and reaching for the ceiling while letting out a large yawn feels great.

In fact, people who stretch regularly know the benefits of stretching. Warm up your muscles before stretching then once you stretch, hold it 15 to 30 seconds.

These are the three ingredients for a well-rounded physical activity routine; you will like some better than others, but by having all three in your routine you will get the most out of physical activity.

Dates of interest

Feb. 14:Diabetes Support Group, Find Your Joy Inside (Depression), 10 a.m. – noon, Carroll County Extension Office.

Feb. 19: Learn with Us! “Sprucing up your Wardrobe with a Scarf,” 1:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.


Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.