It is important to me that my family eat well, but being active matters too. As a working mom of two daughters I am always looking for more energy! The cheapest and easiest way for me is by adding physical activity into my day. It feels great to get the blood pumping through my body. Afterwards I always think I’m so glad I did that. But being a mom with limited time requires creativity. Currently my three favorite ways to get active are:
- Take a neighborhood walk. My daughters love a good ride in the stroller. We talk about our days, and my two-year old loves to point out what she sees – birds, school buses, other kids, dogs, trees, flowers, rabbits, lawn mowers, bicycles, etc.
- Walk to run errands. Sometimes I need to grab a sandwich at lunch, or return a book to the library or mail a letter at the post office. I love when it is just a few blocks away and I can walk there. A 15-minute walk to and from the store means I have completed my activity for the day and I didn’t have to find any additional time (or load kids into car seats)!
- Watch you tube videos. There are so many free exercise videos out there. My daughter thinks it is so much fun to hop alongside me doing jumping jacks, push-ups, running in place, and dancing. Being silly together is a real treat for both of us.
Sarah Taylor Watts
Physical Activity Coordinator
Iowa Department of Public Health
I have used several apps to track my food and exercise. The one I am currently using, MyFitnessPal, is just about perfect for me and it receives the highest rating by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you don’t have a smart phone you can do the same thing on the MyFitnessPal web site.
Why do I like it?
- It is free.
- It has a large food database with more than 1,100,000 foods with the option for food or recipe entry.
- It includes a database of more than 350 fitness exercises, with calories burned for a “net” calories remaining.
- It is easy to scan barcodes to add foods.
- It provides a weekly average and other detailed reports and charts of your progress over time. This is motivational for me.
- It offers the analysis of fat, calories, protein and carbohydrates; PLUS iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.
MyFitnessPal also lets you add friends and link to Facebook for support. I haven’t used this feature, but it looks interesting.
Last week I wrote about making food gifts for the holidays. One of my friends asked me why I didn’t mention that our 2010 Healthy and Homemade Nutrition and Fitness Calendar is on sale for only $2 plus shipping and handling from the ISU Extension online store. Good idea—so here are some details about the calendar.
The calendar features a monthly recipe and color photo complete with ingredient list, preparation directions, nutrition facts, and menu ideas. Also, as an extra bonus, the preparation of each recipe can be viewed from the recipes section of the Spend Smart. Eat Smart web site. These videos walk even the most inexperienced cook through the recipe with ease, answering preparation and ingredient substitution questions.
In addition to facts promoting healthy homemade eating, the calendar encourages exercise, movement, and physical activity. A chart at the bottom of the calendar makes it easy to set activity goals; small boxes on each day are designed to track activity numbers. For people who have a hard time getting motivated, there are suggestions each month for building and sustaining physical activity habits. The last two pages of the calendar contain physical activity information—the amount of activity needed each day, how to fit it into your schedule, and ideas for increasing activity.
-pointers from Peggy