Ask an Expert // Why Stress Management Strategies Work

stress management


Stress is a universally experienced phenomenon. Although there are many causes, the methods of managing it are generally the same. Research from varying professionals helps explain how coping strategies work, broken into three categories – physical, mental and social.

 

PHYSICAL STRATEGIES

  1. Exercise – Research confirms that being physically active leads to physical, mental and emotional benefits, both immediately after and long-term. Exercise can be as successful at decreasing depression as anti-depression prescriptions, according to University of California  Riverside professor and author Sonja Lyubomirsky. Exercise stimulates the release of “feel good” chemicals that help improve mood.

 

  1. Get adequate and high-quality sleep – Even slight levels of sleep deprivation can affect judgment, memory and mood, according to the American Psychological Association. When you do not get enough sleep, the areas of the brain that experience anxiety and worry are impacted. In addition, while you sleep, your muscles are repaired and your memories are consolidated, preparing you for the next day. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and high blood pressure and cancause you to feel overwhelmed, less motivated and less able to concentrate.

 

  1. Maintain a healthy diet – The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability explains that certain nutrients, such as thiamin and folate, help with nervous system function. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to irritability, depression and poor concentration, causing stress. In addition, the APA notes that when you overeat or eat unhealthy foods, you will tend to feel sluggish and think negatively about your body, causing more stress.

 

  1. Hydrate  – Stress and dehydration affect each other and produce similar symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. Staying hydrated can help stave these off. 

 

  1. Take breaks – In order to avoid burnout, it is important to find an outlet that lets you relax and enjoy what you are doing. Taking a vacation, listening to certain types of music, checking email less often and laughing have all been shown to reduce stress levels.

 

MENTAL STRATEGIES

  1. Meditate – Relaxing the body through deep, controlled breathing helps fight off the physiological symptoms of stress. In addition, feeling in control of just one thing in life—in this case your breathing—is empowering. Meditating increases your self-awareness and helps you gain a new perspective, focus on the present and reduce negative emotions.

 

  1. Cultivate spirituality – Spirituality is not necessarily synonymous with being religious. It has more to do with finding purpose and context for your life through something larger than yourself. Spiritual people tend to be happier, have better mental and physical health, cope better, have more satisfying marriages, use drugs and alcohol less and live longer (Lyubomirsky, 2007).

 

  1. Write – Writing is a great way to calm the chaos of life. Because writing is, by nature, highly structured, it can help you put your thoughts together in a coherent manner, helping you find meaning in your experiences. It also helps you to learn about yourself and feel in control of your life (Lyubomirsky, 2007).

 

  1. Think positively – According to Mayo Clinic research, positive thinking allows you to “approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.” It improves your outlook on life and can lead to health benefits such as greater resistance to the common cold and improved cardiovascular health. Optimistic people often have healthier lifestyles as well.

 

SOCIAL STRATEGIES

  1. Talk to a friend – Knowing that you are not alone facing your stressors can empower you. The Mayo Clinic asserts that people with strong social support networks are healthier and live longer. This is likely because a social support network increases your sense of belonging, feelings of self-worth and of security. In addition, others often have a different perspective and may suggest changes or coping strategies you had not thought about.

 

  1. Spend time with a pet – Animals reduce tension, improve mood and can be a nice icebreaker in social interactions. According to health journalist Kathleen Doheny, having a pet yields unconditional love, a diminished sense of being alone, physical contact, a consistent daily routine (often including exercise) and an increased sense of self-esteem from caring for it. However, the benefits of having a pet are reduced if doing so causes worry, is not affordable or if you aren’t in a position to provide care. Therefore, a pet is not a one-size-fits-all solution for reducing stress.

 

  1. Learn to say no – The Mayo Clinic proposes that saying no to one thing means you are saying yes to another priority. Doing so can also open up opportunities to try new things and for others to step up to what you are turning down. Being able to say no reflects a healthy level of assertiveness and self-confidence. Always saying yes causes stress, which over time can lead to burnout, resentment and illness.

 

  1. Meet with a professional – If your stresses become overwhelming and burdensome, seek professional help. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance notes that a good therapist may help you cope with the stresses or traumatic events you have or are experiencing by helping you identify the triggers and develop a plan to help you cope with and make sense of them.

 

Since stress is part of everyday life, it is important that you learn healthy, effective coping skills. Understanding the reasons for common stress management strategies makes them even more empowering. As you apply them, your personal well-being and relationships with others are likely to improve.


This article was written by Dave Schramm, Utah State University Extension family life specialist, David.schramm@usu.edu and Jennifer Viveros, M.A.




6 Tips to Finding Work-Life Balance

6 tips sq

Sometimes life is crazy. An excess of stress may create feelings of exhaustion and emotional burnout. These six helpful tips can help you balance your life and handle stress.


Are you feeling a bit out of balance? You’re not alone. Balancing demands of work, family and the rest of life can be a challenge and create stress. Additionally, too little sleep, lack of exercise and infrequent personal time can add to stress. When stress is not managed well, individuals can become overwhelmed and experience emotional exhaustion, burnout or other negative feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with work-life stress and aim toward a more healthy balance. Consider some of the following tips to find balance:

 

  1. Prioritize. Setting priorities will help in deciding how to best spend your time. Use a calendar and schedule the most important things that reflect your priorities first, such family activities or a date with a significant other. Discuss goals and schedules with family members and significant others often so everyone is invested. Remember, there is no “right way” to prioritize, but rather you have to decide a balance that is comfortable for you and your family.
  2. Be here now. In this age of technology it is easy to get distracted by things other than our priorities, especially when work or social media is just a click away. Taking a break from electronics and focusing on living fully in the moment, wherever you may be, will help to reduce stress.
  3. Set realistic goals and expectations. Let’s be honest, as much as many of us would like to give everything to everyone all the time, it’s unrealistic and thinking that way will cause conflict and stress. So, instead, examine your priorities and adapt your goals and expectations to fit your current situation. If married or in a relationship, be sure to include your partner in this process and discuss the roles that each of you will take. Revise plans and goals that don’t work—achieving balance is an ongoing process.
  4. Share the load. Some people try to reduce stress by taking control and doing everything themselves; but doing so can sometimes keep them from reaching their most important goals. Consider your support system and how others might be willing to help lighten the load. Remember, delegation is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  5. Take care of yourself. It can be challenging to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep, let alone squeeze in a few minutes of “me” time, but taking care of yourself will help you in all areas of your life. Make a goal to take at least 15 minutes of “me” time every day even if it’s to take a quick walk on a break at work, or to read a book. Remember you can also include family or friends
  6. Keep a sense of humor. Humor can help to manage stress when things don’t work out as planned. Consider, “How will I think about this situation in a year from now?”

While there are many approaches to creating balance, what works for one individual may not work for another, and life challenges and possible solutions may change with time. Creating and maintaining a balance in life is an ongoing process; if the current approach isn’t working, try something else. The balance may not always be perfect, but small efforts toward balance can still have a tremendous impact on life satisfaction.

Want more? Join us September 22 at the Weber State University Davis Campus for the Celebrating Women Conference, an event designed to promote wellness and balance in the lives of women. Workshops will be provided by professionals from northern Utah including topics such as life balance, self-care, body image, and communication.  For more details see www.celebratingwomen.usu.edu

 


References:

This article was contributed by Naomi Brower, an Extension Associate Professor in Weber County specializing in helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships.  Contact Naomi at naomi.brower@usu.edu or check out videos and other content at relationships.usu.edu.




2018 Farmers Market Roundup

 

farmers market

If you want fresh, locally grown produce, farmers markets are the perfect place for you! Find a farmers market near you and support growers in your community.
Quick tip:  bring cash and a few reusable grocery bags so you can shop to your heart’s content. 


 

9th West Farmers Market*
Sundays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, International Peace Gardens, 1060 S. 900 W., Salt Lake City
http://9thwestfarmersmarket.org

Ashley Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
July through September, 225 E. Main St., Vernal
http://avfarmersmarket.wix.com/avfarmersmarket

Benson Grist Mill Historic Site
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
May through October, 325 State Rd. 138, Stansbury Park
www.bensonmill.org

Bountiful Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3 p.m. –  8 p.m.
June through October, 400 North 200 W., Bountiful
http://www.bountifulmainstreet.com

BYU- LaVell Edwards Stadium Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
August through October, 213 E. University Parkway, Provo
http://dining.byu.edu/farmers_market.html

Cache Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
May through October, Cache Historic Courthouse, 199 North Main Street, Logan
https://gardenersmarket.org/

Daybreak Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June through September, 11274 Kestrel Rise Rd, South Jordan
https://www.daybreakfarmersmarket.com/

Downtown Farmers Market*
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., June through October
Tuesdays, 4 p.m. – dusk, August through October
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., November through April
Pioneer Park, 350 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City
http://www.slcfarmersmarket.org

Daybreak Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June through October, Daybreak in South Jordan
https://www.daybreakfarmersmarket.com/

Downtown Farmers Market at Ancestor Square*
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon
May through October, 2 W. St. George Blvd., St. George
http://www.farmersmarketdowntown.com

Farm Fest Market – Sevier County
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
June through October, 370 E. 600 N., Joseph

Long Valley Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon
Mid May through Mid October, 475 N. State St., Orderville
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Long-Valley-Farmers-Market/1397811127154513

Moab Farmers Market*
Fridays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
May through October, Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 W., Moab
http://www.moabfarmersmarket.com/

Murray Farmers Market
Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
August through October, 200 E 5200 S, Murray Park
https://slco.org/urban-farming/farmers-markets/murray-farmers-market/

Park Silly Sunday Market
Wednesdays, noon – 5 p.m.
June 13 through September, Silver King Resort, Park City
http://www.parksillysundaymarket.com

Provo Farmers Market*
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, Pioneer Park, 500 W. Center St., Provo
http://www.provofarmersmarket.org

Richmond Harvest Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June through Mid-October, 563 S. State, Richmond
http://richmond-utah.com/harvest.html

Roosevelt Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
June 22 through September 28, 130 W. 100 N., Roosevelt
facebook.com/groups/101217766689683/

South Jordan Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
August 6 through October 29, 10695 S. Redwood Road
http://www.southjordanfarmersmarket.com

Spanish Fork Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
End of July – November, 67 East 100 North, Spanish Fork
http://www.spanishforkchamber.com

Sugar House Farmers Market*
Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
July through September, Fairmont Park 1040 E Sugarmont Drive, Salt Lake City
http://www.sugarhousefarmersmarket.org

Syracuse City Farmers Market*
Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – dusk
July through August, 1891 West Antelope Drive, Syracuse
facebook.com/SyracuseCityUtahFarmersMarket

USU Botanical Center Farmers Market*
Thursdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. (dusk)
July through September, USU Botanical Center, 875 S. 50 W., Kaysville
http://www.usubotanicalcenter.org/events/farmers-market/

VA Farmers Market
Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
July through September, VA Medical Center, 500 Foothill Drive
Lawn and patio outside the Building 8 Canteen.
https://www.saltlakecity.va.gov/SALTLAKECITY/features/vaslchcsfarmersmarket.asp

Wayne County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
May through October, Center and Main Street, Torrey
http://www.facebook.com/WayneCountyFarmersMarket

Wheeler Farmers Market
Sundays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
June through October, 6351 S. 900 E., Murray

Year-Round Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – noon, Year-Round
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., May through October
50 W. Center St., Cedar City
http://yearroundmarket.weebly.com/

 


*Markets marked with an asterisk utilize electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines, allowing Food Stamp participants to use their benefits to buy fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.

Did we miss a market? Let us know in the comments!




Transportation, Health and Happiness

Transportation Health.jpgYour commute may be contributing to your well-being. Read on to learn how to turn it into a source of happiness.


Is how you get to work or school serving as a source of stress in your life? According to a study by Portland State University, single-driver commuters were among the least happy in an assessment of commuter well-being (taking into account stress, boredom, congestion, travel time, among other factors) (Smith, 2017). The happiest? Bicycle commuters.

Over 75 percent of U.S. workers drive alone to work, take an average of 25 minutes to get there, and spend much of their time stopped in traffic (McKenzie & Rapino, 2011). Depending on the distance of your commute, in traveling via bicycle, you could save time and money by combining commuting and exercise, finding non-congested routes via bike lanes or trails, and in not having to search and pay for parking.

Worried about affording a bike? Let’s look at the numbers: A bicycle costs $50-200 to maintain annually if ridden 2,000 annual miles, averaging 5-15¢ per mile (VTPI, 2011). In driving a vehicle, however, we accrue operating costs (gas, maintenance and tires) of approximately 19.64 cents per mile (AAA, 2012). With an average total daily driving distance in the U.S. of 29 miles, or just over 50 minutes behind the wheel, this works out to $2,078.89 to operate a vehicle each year; more than 40 times more expensive than operating a bicycle. This estimate doesn’t even include the cost of the vehicle itself or insurance.

Is the environment your top priority? Transportation accounts for 36 percent  of our nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and the largest sector of that is passenger cars (EPA, 2018). Transportation is the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation (EPA, 2018). Riding a bike as your form of transit directly decreases emissions and helps improve our air quality.

Perhaps you are most worried about your health. Did you know that the health benefits of active transportation can outweigh any risks associated with these activities by as much as 77 to 1? They also add more years to our lives than are lost from inhaled air pollution and traffic injuries (Rojas-Rueda et al., 2011; Jacobsen and Rutter, 2012) Riding a bike is associated with increased:

  • life expectancy
  • cardiovascular fitness
  • strength
  • balance and flexibility
  • endurance and stamina
  • calories burned
  • cognition
  • energy

With improved happiness and health, what is there to lose?

For more information, including how to overcome common bike commuter barriers, see USU Extension’s Biking as an Alternative Mode of Transportation fact sheet, here https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2550&context=extension_curall


This article was written by Roslynn Brain, Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist with USU Extension, Moab

Sources:

AAA Association Communication. (2012). Your driving costs. Retrieved from: http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Your-Driving-Costs-20122.pdf

Alliance for Biking and Walking. (2014). Bicycling and walking in the United States: 2014 benchmarking report. Retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/documents-2014/2014-Bike-Walk-Benchmarking-Report.pdf

Jacobsen, P. & Rutter, H. (2012). Cycling Safety. In Pucher, J., Buehler, R. (Eds.), City Cycling (141-156). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

McKenzie, B., & Rapino, M. (2011, September). Commuting in the United States: 2009. Retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau:https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf

Rojas-Rueda, D., Nazelle, A.,Tainio, M., & Nieuwenhuijsen, M. (2011, August 4). The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: Health impact assessment study. British Medical Journal, 343:d4521.

Smith, O. (2017). Commute well-being differences by mode: Evidence from Portland, Oregon, USA. Journal of Transport & Health, 4, 246-254. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140516302407#

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2018). Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2016. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks

Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI). (2011). Transportation cost and benefit analysis II – Vehicle Costs. Retrieved from:http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0501.pdf

 




Add Some Mindfulness to Your Movement

Mindfulness to Movement.jpg

Are you struggling to fit physical activity into your routine? Try a different approach, and be mindful about your movement. 


It’s no secret that engaging in regular physical activity offers a number of health benefits – from decreasing the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, to promoting better sleep and improving mental health. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around four out of five adults in America fall short of weekly physical activity recommendations (CDC, 2015a; CDC, 2014).

 

Both the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that adults between the ages of 18-64 aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate level activity. This includes brisk walking, mowing the lawn with a push mower, water aerobics, or riding a bicycle on flat terrain; or 75 minutes of vigorous level activity, such as playing sports (i.e., tennis or soccer), jogging, riding a bicycle on a path with inclines, or hiking (CDC, 2015b; WHO, n.d.). Additionally, adults should incorporate two strength training sessions per week targeting all major muscle groups (CDC, 2015b; WHO, n.d.).

 

People often have a desire to be more physically active, but there are many barriers that can get in the way. A survey given to adult women found that lack of time, fatigue/lack of energy, no one to exercise with, lack of a place to exercise, pain/discomfort, and lack of motivation, were all barriers to engaging in physical activity (Adachi-Mejia & Schifferdecker, 2016). In order to reap all the health benefits exercise has to offer, finding ways to overcome barriers and increase physical activity levels is essential. However, the way we approach exercise may also have a significant impact on health (Calogero & Pedrotty, 2007). According to Calogero and Pedrotty (2007), mindless physical activity involves exercising solely for the intent to lose weight or change body shape, adhering to a rigid exercise schedule with no flexibility, and/or exercising to compensate for calories eaten. This type of exercise promotes a disconnection from the body and how it feels and it may involve continuing to exercise when sick or injured or in extreme weather conditions (Calogero & Pedrotty, 2007; Tribole & Resch, 2017). This type of exercise may promote disordered thinking patterns around exercise and eating, and it and may lead to injury (Calogero & Pedrotty, 2007).

 

In contrast, to encourage a healthy relationship with exercise, Calogero & Pedrotty (2007) and Tribole & Resch (2017) recommend mindful exercise, which involves paying attention to the process of engaging in physical activity and listening to your body, rather than focusing solely on the desired end result. This involves tuning into the physical sensations in your body as you are moving including your heart rate, breath, and the feeling of your muscles as they contract and relax (Tribole & Resch, 2017). Mindful physical activity has the following characteristics:

  1.     It revitalizes the body, rather than drains it of energy;
  2.     It allows you to connect with your body and its sensations so you can respond to them, instead of encouraging you to “push through” an activity that may cause discomfort;
  3.     It helps with managing stress, rather than contributing to it;
  4.     It is fun and enjoyable, which makes you want to continue (Calogero & Pedrotty, 2007; Tribole & Resch, 2017).

 

A critical step to becoming more physically active is finding enjoyable physical activities. A systematic review of several studies found that people who reported enjoyment during exercise were more likely to engage in exercise in the future (Rhodes & Kates, 2015). Additionally, thinking outside of the box and recognizing that physical activity does not have to be done at a gym or on sports team, may be useful. The World Health Organization acknowledges leisure activities that involve movement such as dancing and gardening, household tasks such as mowing the lawn, and play with children or pets as movement that contributes to total physical activity (WHO, n.d.). Additionally, activity can occur in a large chunk of time or it can be spread out in small increments (i.e., 10 minutes at a time, four times per day) (WHO, n.d.).

Still not sure where to begin? Tribole and Resch (2017) recommend taking time to think through the environment and types of activities that would be most enjoyable to you. Here are some questions to ask yourself (Tribole & Resch, 2017):

  1.     Would I rather exercise alone or in a group?
  2.     Do I prefer to be outdoors or indoors?
  3.     What would I enjoy doing that is realistic given my current level of fitness?
  4.     Do I want to choose an activity that makes me feel more relaxed or energetic after I finish?
  5.     Is there a new activity I am interested in, but haven’t tried before?
  6.     How can I see physical activity as part of my self-care routine?
  7.     What is the best time to fit exercise in my schedule?

Note: People with certain chronic health conditions should check with their doctor prior to beginning a physical activity routine (CDC, 2015a).


Brittany BingemanThis article was written by Brittany Bingeman. Brittany studied family and consumer sciences and nutrition/dietetics and she is passionate about health and wellness with a holistic approach. She enjoys teaching about mindful and intuitive eating to help people improve their relationship with food as well as other important family and life skills. Originally from Georgia, she enjoys spending time exploring beautiful southern Utah and the western states. She enjoys spending time with her husband, cooking, reading, listening to podcasts, hiking, jogging, and yoga. Brittany can be reached at brittany.bingeman@usu.edu or 435-634-5706.

References

Adachi-Mejia, A.M., & Schifferdecker, K.E. (2016). A mixed-methods approach to assessing barriers to physical activity among women with class I, class II, and class III obesity. Public Health, 139, 212-215. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.04.013

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015, June 4a). Physical activity and health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015, June 4b). How much physical activity do adults need? Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2014, May 23). Facts about physical activity. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.htm

Calogero, R., & Pedrotty, K. (2007). Daily practices for mindful exercise. In L. L’Abate, D. Embry, & M. Baggett (Eds.), Handbook of low-cost preventative interventions for physical activity and mental health: Theory, research, and practice (141-160). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.

Rhodes, R.E., & Kates, A. (2015). Can the affective response to exercise predict future motives and physical activity behavior? A systematic review of published evidence. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49(5), 715-731. doi:10.1007/s12160-015-9704-5

Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2017). Principle nine. Exercise: Feel the difference. In J. Eastman (Ed.), The intuitive eating workbook: 10 principles for nourishing a healthy relationship with food (199-224). Oakland, CA: New Harbor Publications, Inc.

World Health Organization (WHO). (n.d.). Physical activity and adults: Recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 18 – 64 years. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/

 




Put Your Best Fork Forward// Small Changes to Help You Find Balance

Put Your Best Fork Forward.jpgMarch is National Nutrition Month! To help spread its message this month, we’ve got five recommendations for ways you can “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”


  1. Focus on small changes. The Dietary Guidelines recommend starting with small changes that add up to lasting lifestyle changes over time. Perhaps that means starting your day with breakfast, drinking more water or reaching for fruits/vegetables at snack time.
  2. Prepare more meals at home. Gather your family around the table, share a healthy meal and make memories at the same time. Remember to talk positively about healthy foods—your kids are listening!

  3. Make your plate MyPlate. Focus on the five food groups and fill your plate with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and a serving of low-fat dairy on the side.

  4. Choose healthful options when dining out. Request healthy side dishes and ask for modifications to be sure the meal meets your nutritional goals. Practice portion control by bringing half the food home for another meal.

  5. Find that balance. Weight management comes down to calories in versus calories out, so be sure to find that balance between the two by eating the right amount of food to meet your needs while finding ways to move your body through physical activity.  

This article was written by Kaitlin Anderson, news@postbulletin.com.

 




Exercise for a Happier, Healthier Life

Exercise.jpgWe all know we should be exercising, but the reasons why go beyond burning calories. Check out these seven functions that occur in your body when you are physically active.


“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”

-Plato

 

We all know the importance of exercise and keeping physically fit, but have you ever stopped to consider just what happens to your body when you get out and move? In a recently posted article, TIME magazine listed and described the following seven functions that occur in the body during physical activity:

 

1. Exercise helps new blood vessels develop in the brain, and triggers the release of chemicals that dull pain and lighten mood.

When thinking about physical activity, we often focus solely on the physiological benefits it offers – weight loss, muscle gain, metabolic boost, etc. However, it is important to remember that participating in regular exercise has been associated with decreased levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. The mental health benefits of exercise are equally as important as the physical changes that occur.

 

2. Moving quickly makes the heart pump more blood around the body. That oxygen helps muscles withstand fatigue.

The best way to prevent fatigue is to build up endurance by increasing aerobic exercise and interval training. As your endurance increases, your muscles will receive extra oxygen, which will allow you to exercise for longer periods of time and prevent lactic acid buildup.

 

3. Weight-bearing contractions make muscles grow and put pressure on the bones, increasing density.

Bones are critical to being physically healthy as they allow the body to move. They protect our most vital organs – most notably the brain and the heart. Regular exercise allows bones to become denser and can help to prevent osteoporosis or other bone damage.

 

4. The body is better able to burn fat for energy instead of carbs, causing fat cells to shrink.

The average human has between 10 billion to 30 billion fat cells, while those who are obese can have up to 100 billion. Although it is true that fat cells cannot naturally be removed, they can shrink overtime with exercise and a balanced diet. However, fat cells can always grow in size, so once you find a routine that works for you, stick with it!

 

5. Exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering nutrients and helping wounds heal faster.

As you train on a regular basis, more capillaries and blood vessels will appear near the surface of your skin. This will undoubtedly help the skin appear clearer and more radiant as skin-improving nutrients are pumped throughout the body. Sweating is like a mini facial for the skin as pores temporarily expand and are cleared of built-up gunk. Follow your workout with a face wash to wipe away the excess dirt and ensure your healthiest and most luminous skin yet!

 

6. Exercise may protect telomeres, the tiny caps on the end of chromosomes. This appears to slow the aging of cells.

Think of telomeres as little caps that protect the chromosomes or cells in our body. Having short telomeres means that there is less protection of cells occurring. This has been associated with the onset of age-related diseases and muscle atrophy. Exercise leads to telomeres growing in length, which can help prevent diseases and the effects of aging, meaning that regular exercise can extend your life!

 

7. Exercise acts as a miracle drug.

Exercise – or any form of physical activity that gets your heart rate up, can lead to improvements in the body’s reaction to everything from chronic diseases and major illnesses to the common cold. Exercise can raise energy levels, allowing you to experience more stamina to enjoy all the things you love in life. Become regularly physically active to live life as your best self!


This article was written by Meredith Meppen, EFNEP Staff Assistant with USU Extension

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370421/

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/kids/healthy_bones.asp

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/22/fat.weight.loss/

https://www.hss.edu/conditions_avoiding-muscle-fatigue-exercising-tips.asp

http://time.com/4474874/exercise-fitness-workouts/?iid=sr-link1

 




Ask an Expert // Check Your Hunger-Fullness Scale and Become a Mindful Eater

Mindful Eating Graphic.jpgDo you pay attention the cues your body sends you about hunger and fullness? Check out these tips about being a more mindful eater, and you may find you can skip dieting all together. 


Congratulations! You made it through the holiday season. As we are starting into the New Year, most of us have hit the reset button and have wellness on our minds. One of the things I hear most from people is how they need to cleanse from the holidays, so their answer is to go on a diet. A lot of those diets promise results of rapid weight loss by either removing or limiting certain foods, only eating certain food combinations, following a strict food intake pattern or taking a supplement. The bottom line is simple: if a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Instead of a diet this year, why not try something that will stick?

Mindful eating is not a diet, but a practice that focuses on how we eat, not just what we eat. Mindful eating involves eating slower and deliberately, avoiding distractions while eating (yes, step away from your desk to eat lunch), listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, eating food that tastes good and is full of nutrients and being aware of your emotions.

Most of the food we eat is not directly related to hunger, but is often due to social activities, distractions or emotions such as stress, sadness or boredom. In order to start practicing mindful eating, first check in with your body. Do you notice a dull headache? Would someone use the word hangry to describe your mood? Or maybe you are on the opposite end, feeling content and ready for a nap?

Below is the hunger and fullness scale. This tool is something you can start using today, without having to go out of your way. Most people recognize that they are hungry well past the first signs of hunger and then eat past the point of fullness. The time to start eating is when you are at a four, and the time to stop eating is when you are at about a five. 

hunger and fullness scale (2).jpg

Becoming a mindful eater takes time and practice. The ability to recognize your own hunger and fullness cues will help you as you become a mindful eater. For more information, check out this factsheet: Mindful Eating: Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies.


jaqueline neid avilaThis article was written by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, Utah State University Extension assistant professor. Jaqueline has lived all over the west coast, including Alaska and Hawaii, and is currently based in Salt Lake City. She graduated with a Master’s in Dietetic Administration from USU and became a Registered Dietitian. Jaqueline almost majored in engineering, however sitting in front of a computer all day crunching numbers and solving problems did not seem appealing, so she switched to food and people, which she loves. However, ironically, she still sits in front of a computer most days, crunching numbers and solving problems. Teaching people about how easily they can adapt their current routines to make them more nutritious is a passion for Jaqueline. Since she teaches people about how to make changes in their food, she often experiments. Ask anyone in her office —  they love sample days!  




Wellness Tip: If you don’t drink water, you will die!

 

Water Tip Feature

Are you drinking enough water? Try these tips to help you stay hydrated.


I don’t think anyone is surprised by the title of this wellness tip. Most people know how important it is to drink water. But it may surprise you to know that water is the second most popular beverage in the United States. Sugary soda is the most popular drink, with huge health risks of increased obesity, stroke, and other heart problems.

Many of us already know the benefits of staying hydrated by drinking water, but here’s a reminder:

  • It helps with the transportation and circulation of nutrients in the body
  • It can improve the color and texture of skin through new cell generation
  • Water regulates body temperature through sweating
  • It may prevent headaches
  • It lubricates and cushions joints by keeping cartilage soft and hydrated and thereby reduces pain
  • Water can reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancers
  • It protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • It helps get rid of waste products in your body through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements

Negative effects of dehydration include:

  • Confusion and unclear thinking
  • Mood changes, grumpiness
  • Constipation
  • Kidney stones
  • Weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance
  • Poor athletic performance

Remember to drink 64 ounces of water per day, or use the simple formula of drinking half your weight in ounces of water. You will need more water if you exercise, sweat more than usual, live or play in a hot climate, are traveling, or have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. You should drink enough water that you urinate frequently, and your urine should be a light color.

Tips for drinking more water:

  • Carry a water bottle everywhere you go. Keep one on your desk at work or counter at home, and make sure you have one with you when you work out.
  • Drink water when you feel hungry. Sometimes our body gets confused, and water can act as an appetite suppressant.
  • Choose water when eating out, which saves money and calories.
  • Drink a glass of water when you first wake up, and again 30 minutes before a big meal. This can also help control appetite.
  • Add a natural flavor to your water, including lime or lemon wedge, watermelon chunks, mint, or orange slices.
  • Track you water consumption with a phone app, and set a reminder to drink more.
  • Use a water filter to improve the taste of your water. I always use a filter in my water bottle, and I seek out the best tasting water when I travel. I like to use water refill stations, water coolers in gyms, etc.

Cindy Nelson_ppThis article was written by Cindy Nelson. Cindy is the Beaver County FCS/4-H agent. She grew up on a farm in Beaver, Utah. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and completed her master’s degree at Southern Utah University. Her main programming areas are health and wellness and youth leadership. Cindy loves working with teenagers, learning more about health and wellness, and being active. She stays busy working, spending time with family, and being in the mountains whenever possible.

Sources:

 




What’s in Season? Winter Fruits and Vegetables

Seasonal EatingKeep your menu plan fresh with seasonal fruits and vegetables — even in wintertime! We’ve got a recipe roundup for you, plus two new recipes at the end; one for pineapple pear crisp and the other for balsamic and bacon Brussels sprouts. Tune in to Studio 5 on Monday to see Live Well Utah Editor Marta Nielsen demonstrate these new recipes with Brooke Walker.


Eating in season is something we think about in the summertime when our gardens are bursting with raspberries, tomatoes, peaches and zucchini, but you can eat in season all year long! Stores may carry out-of-season foods in the winter, but you’ll usually find lower prices and higher quality produce when you shop in season.

IMG_7383

It’s easy to keep winter-season fruits like apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges and pears on your counter for healthy snacking. Pineapple and pomegranate are also in season, and can be purchased already prepped and ready to eat, or you you can save on costs and do your own prep-work and keep the ready-to-eat fruit in the fridge. If you have healthy food options visible and accessible, you’re more likely to make healthy choices!

IMG_7384

There are also many vegetables that are in season in the winter, such as avocados, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash. These veggies work perfectly for those warm-me-up foods we love to eat in the winter like soup, or oven-roasted veggies.

Try these recipes that use winter fruits and vegetables:

Snacks and Treats:

Salads and Sides:

Main Dishes:

Pineapple Pear Crisp

This gingery crisp is a little bit tropical, but still a warm-the-belly kind of dessert that is perfect for colder months. This recipe maximizes the sweetness and flavor of the fruit with minimal added sugar and oil, and uses hearty whole grains in the topping. Serve it topped with frozen yogurt for added decadence. Serves 6 people.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe pears*
  • 2 c ripe pineapple (about ½ a pineapple)
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 2 T brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1 t freshly grated ginger (or ¼ t ground ginger)

For the topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t fresh grated ginger (or ¼ t ground ginger)
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • 3 T melted butter (or coconut oil for added tropical flavor)

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Chop pineapple into ½-inch pieces and set aside in a medium-sized mixing bowl (be sure to get all the pineapple juice left from cutting and chopping into the bowl). Peel, core and chop pears into ½-inch pieces, and mix with pineapple. Add cinnamon, brown sugar (or honey) and fresh ginger to the fruit, and stir so that it is coated evenly. Transfer fruit to a 9×9 baking dish.

To prepare topping, mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Add melted butter, and stir until mix loosely holds together. Spoon crumble mix evenly over fruit, and bake for 30 minutes. Cover crumble with foil, to prevent over-browning, and bake an additional 5 minutes (or until pears are tender).

*Be sure to use ripe pears. Unripe pears will not soften sufficiently when baked. Bosc and D’anjou pears work nicely in this recipe.

Bacon and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

This out-of-this-world Brussels sprouts recipe will convert even the most skeptical taste testers.The Brussels sprouts are are roasted, tossed with a zesty balsamic vinaigrette, and topped with bacon crumbles and pomegranate arils—what’s not to love? Recipe serves 4 generously.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces thick-cut bacon
  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils (approximately 1 small pomegranate)

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • ½ t maple syrup
  • ½ t prepared mustard (Dijon or whole grain)
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place bacon on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until crispy. When bacon is cooked to your liking, remove from baking sheet and set aside. Brush around rendered bacon fat to evenly coat lined baking sheet, and drain off any excess (this will enhance the flavor of the Brussels sprouts as they roast).

Meanwhile, prepare Brussels Sprouts by trimming the ends and cutting in half. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper. Next, evenly arrange Brussels sprouts, cut side down, on the lined baking sheet used to cook the bacon. Roast for 20 minutes, or until sprouts are easily pierced with a fork. For smaller Brussels sprouts, 20 minutes will yield sprouts cooked soft all the way through. If you prefer a little crunch left in your vegetables, check doneness at 15 minutes.

While Brussels sprouts roast, crumble the cooked bacon and prepare the dressing. Whisk together all ingredients in a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring. If you are seeding your own pomegranate, versus buying the arils alone, you can also do this while the Brussels sprouts roast.

Transfer roasted Brussels sprouts to a serving dish, and top with balsamic dressing. Stir until evenly distributed, and top with crumbled bacon and pomegranate arils.


marta-nielsen-web2Marta Nielsen is the editor of Live Well Utah. She did not attend Utah State University (she graduated from another university whose colors are red and white), but loves working for USU Extension. Marta loves to cook and eat, garden, craft, travel, and read. She makes specialty cakes for family and friends as a hobby, and has been talked into making a few wedding cakes in the past. She and her husband have two small children, and live in Salt Lake County.

See more contributor bios here.