Rich, vibrant foliage â€“ gentle autumn breezes â€“ steamy cups of jasmine tea â€“ warm buttermilk biscuits â€“ the fall season brings with it a sense of peace and comfort that no other season seems able to emulate. It also marks a special time for reflection and reevaluation about whatâ€™s really important to us.
If youâ€™re living with a chronic illness, consider making a healthy diet and exercise program a big part of whatâ€™s important to you this fall season. There is overwhelming evidence that links many chronic diseases to physical inactivity and a poor diet.1
The following food and fitness tips will point you in the right direction so you can be on your way to a healthier year:
–Â Pair up with a partner â€“ Take a morning walk around the block with a co-worker. Plan a nightly stroll along the beach with your spouse. Engage in Tango lessons with a friend. Whatever you choose to do, research supports that pairing up with a partner (even a cyber partner) is key to boosting motivation and sticking to a regular exercise routine.2
–Â Keep a food and fitness journal â€“ Studies suggests that keeping track of your daily food intake and activity level will help you lose more weight and stay in better shape.3Â Write down everything you put into your mouth and how many minutes you exercise every day in a notebook of your choice. Personalize it by adding family photos and favorite newspaper clippings about health and nutrition. Take your journal with you wherever you go, so you donâ€™t miss an entry.
–Â Stock up on super foods â€“ According to WebMD, super foods like salmon, nuts, broccoli and sweet potatoes promote wellness and weight control.4Â Keeping your fridge full of these super tasty treats is a much healthier lifestyle choice than filling it with ice cream and other non-nutritious goodies.
–Â Walk a few extra steps â€“ Remember the 10,000 Steps craze from a few years back? The original goal of the 10,000 Steps Program was to motivate people to keep moving. While 10,000 steps a day may not be realistic goal for you, taking a few extra steps every day â€“ whether it means parking further away from the entrance of the grocery store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator â€“ adds up over time and equates to better health.
–Â Practice portion control â€“ Have you been to a restaurant lately? The portion sizes that most restaurants dish out are enough to feed an army! Practice portion control by reading food labels and using a food scale to keep portions more accurate. When dining out, share a meal with a friend or eat only half of your order saving the rest for the next day.
–Â Take a nature walk â€“ If youâ€™re ready for some tremendous, restorative health benefits, grab your Inogen One and head to the nearest nature trail. Findings in scientific literature reveal that people who walk for 15 to 30 minutes a day are healthier than their sedentary counterparts. Additionally, walking amidst nature has positive effects on mental health, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress reduction.5
–Â Dress up your H2O â€“ Maintaining good hydration helps prevent dehydration, constipation, gallstones and a number of other health conditions.6Â If youâ€™re H2O challenged, try dressing up your water with lemon wedges or orange slices. Anti-citrus? No problem! Try cucumber slices and a sprig of mint for a cool, refreshing alternative.
–Â Watch TV in your tennis shoes â€“ If you hate commercials, youâ€™re going to love this! Increase your daily activity by watching TV in your tennis shoes. When the commercials start, get up, stretch and either walk or jog in place or take a quick stroll around your house.Â And donâ€™t forget, the Inogen One allows you the freedom to enjoy exercise without being tied down to a traditional oxygen concentrator.
–Â Transition to the New American Plate â€“ If your dinner plate is three-fourths meat and potatoes and one-fourth vegetables, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) says youâ€™ve got it all wrong. Transitioning to a diet thatâ€™s predominantly plant-based will not only help you prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, but it will help you control your weight, as well. The way it works is simple: Fill your New American Plate with at least two-thirds vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans and only one-third (or less) of animal protein.7
Author: Deborah Leader RN, BSN, PHN
1Roberts, CK., Barnard, RJ.Â Effects of exercise on chronic disease. J Appl Physiol. 2005 Jan;98(1):3-30.
2Michigan State University Research. Exercising with a Partner Boosts Motivation. Cyber Partners Help You go the Distance. May 24, 2012.
3Hollis, Jack F., PhD., et. al. Weight Loss During the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight Loss Maintenance Trail.Â American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Volume 35, Issue 2 , Pages 118-126, August 2008
4Zelman, Kathleen M., MPH, RD, LD. 10 Everyday Super Foods. WebMD. 2005-2013.
5US Department of Agriculture. Health and Wellness Benefits of Spending Time in Nature.
6Manz, F. Hydration and Disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5 Suppl):535S-541S.
7American Institute for Cancer Research. The New American Plate. 2013.