One of the most critical keys to health and wellness is being active. “Find an exercise mode that you enjoy, be it Pilates, barre, yoga, running, or strength training. I often tell my clients that you want to get in cardio, strength training, and flexibility each week if possible,” says Allison Zang, owner/instructor, Absolute Pilates, with locations in Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, and Harrisburg (absolutepilates.co).
Allison Zang encourages “building a fit family” to support your fitness journey. This means “finding a place that makes you happy to go to exercise. I love having people sign up for classes that hold them accountable, with teachers and other clients who check on people if they become less regular attendees.”
“Incorporating a creative outlet—especially a tactile art such as painting, clay, or piano—supports spiritual, mental, and overall health. Creativity impacts and boosts our resilience and ability to problem-solve, which lowers stress and increases our joy and quality of life.” —Wendy Heiges, Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg (adamsarts.org)
DYK: 29 million Americans have a diabetes diagnosis and 86 million have pre-diabetes—but most have no idea unless it's picked up during routine blood work. The good news is that pre-diabetes doesn't have to turn into Type 2 diabetes. (cont. below...)
“You can reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by 58% by exercising. It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of cardio [ex: walking, swimming, jogging] at least five days a week. You can also reduce your risk by watching the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. Regular balanced meals with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and lean protein are key. Consult a dietitian for further diet education related to diabetes and diabetes prevention,” says Claudia Kroeze, RN, CDE, diabetes educator, UPMC Memorial, York (pinnaclehealth.org).
Fiber is an essential part of our diet, according to Cassandra McKie, a certified nutritional coach with Plants for People Nutrition, Lancaster (plantsforpeoplenutrition.com). “Fill up on 40 grams of fiber a day to stay healthy,” says McKie. “A diet high in fiber keeps you fuller, longer. Fiber found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains helps with weight loss, digestion, heart health, and cancer prevention.”
It’s important to set health and wellness goals—one at a time. “If you start going to the gym five days a week and eating on a strict diet plan all on January 1, you will burn out fast. Pick one thing and do it for a month, then add another thing the next month—and pick things you can possibly sustain,” says Allison Zang, owner/instructor, Absolute Pilates, with locations in Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill and Harrisburg (absolutepilates.co).
Are you following the 8x8 rule? Most experts agree that we need to drink eight glasses of water—eight ounces each—daily. “Eat your calories; don't drink them. Sugar-sweetened beverages are nutritionally bankrupt and add extra calories without filling you up. Skip alcohol, soda, fruit juice, and added sweeteners. Substitute with water, fruit-flavored or sparkling water, and unsweetened coffee/tea.” –Cassandra McKie, certified nutritional coach, Plants for People Nutrition, Lancaster (plantsforpeoplenutrition.com)
Starting a new fitness routine? Experts say it’s important to be patient. “A lot of people get injured because they start out exercising and increase the amount or intensity too fast. It can take months to get into a good exercise routine,” says Mark Amway, owner of The Inside Track, with locations in Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg (insidetrackpa.com).
There’s a link between joy and health! Many studies show that having a positive outlook can impact your health and wellness. One study by Johns Hopkins followed people with a family history of heart disease. Those who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.
“You can reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by knowing your numbers. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar checked regularly, and take action for any abnormal readings…and reduce your risk by losing weight and knowing what your BMI should be. Studies show even a 7% reduction in weight can make a big difference,” says Claudia Kroeze, RN, CDE, diabetes educator, UPMC Memorial, York (pinnaclehealth.org).
“Reduce your risk (of getting Type 2 diabetes) by losing weight and knowing what your BMI should be. Studies show even a 7% reduction in weight can make a big difference,” says Claudia Kroeze, RN, CDE, diabetes educator, UPMC Memorial, York (pinnaclehealth.org).
“Don't forget to focus on your mental health. Find a few mindfulness activities to do once a day to help you relax—a favorite of mine is three deep breaths.” —Ashley Mentzer, Thrive Fit Co., Harrisburg (thrivefit.co)
“We believe the way we farm has a direct impact on our health. We grow organic food for taste and nutrient density while protecting our natural resources and regenerating the soil,” says Conner Smith, a fifth-generation farmer at Fox & Wolfe Farm, with a stand in Lancaster Central Market.
“By choosing to operate as a USDA Certified Organic farm, we use only approved fertilization and pest management systems that are safe for people, animals and the environment. We employ a wide range of strategies to promote overall system health and to grow food that we are proud to serve our family, friends and customers,” Conner Smith says. “Organic food nourishes the body and the environment and has the power to heal the planet.”
Whether you’re a fitness amateur or a workout pro, preparing for a marathon or aiming to lose weight, experts recommend following a plan. Mark Amway, owner of The Inside Track, with locations in Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg (insidetrackpa.com), recommends following a fitness plan designed in consultation with a running coach, trainer, or other health professional.
The number of American adults using meditation has more than tripled in the past seven years. This quiet and calm practice can lower blood pressure and alleviate anxiety & stress. Jonina Turzi of Lancaster’s West End Yoga (westendyogastudio.com) offers these tips: “Choose the same time every day, preferably first thing in the morning or before a meal. And don’t expect your mind and concentration to be ‘good’ at first or even for quite a long time! The very nature of the mind is to wander. The whole practice and all of the benefits are in the practice of noticing when the mind has wandered and consciously choosing to unite it once again with the breath or other point of focus.”
Many sports and activities can be enjoyed for a lifetime, including walking and running, yoga and Pilates, bicycling, swimming, golf, and racquet sports such as tennis. “Look to the long term,” says Mark Amway, owner of The Inside Track, with locations in Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg (insidetrackpa.com). “Find activities that you enjoy and can do for a lifetime, then set goals—whether it’s to run a marathon or to manage your waistline. The benefits of a good exercise routine are priceless.”
The average American consumes 100 pounds of sugar a year, and some of that sugar may be hiding in your beverage: A 16-ounce coffee drink could contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar—that’s almost ¼ cup of sugar. The same goes for a 16-ounce energy drink. Therese Regan, a registered dietitian with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (LGHealth.org), recommends using your smartphone to access calorie information listed on CalorieKing.com.
“Make a new daily habit of tracking your added sugars. Keep your amount of added sugars under nine teaspoons if you are male, under six teaspoons if you are female,” Therese Regan says. “To calculate teaspoons of sugar, find the total grams of sugar [and] divide by 4 to equal the number of teaspoons of sugar. For example, if the nutrition fact label for your sweetened beverage states there are 40 grams of sugar, divide 40 by 4 to get 10 teaspoons of sugar.”
More and more studies show we can form unhealthy relationships with our smartphones and other devices. Did you know there’s a National Day of Unplugging? From sundown to sundown, March 1-2, it’s designed as a 24-hour global respite from technology. (nationaldayofunplugging.com)
“With the revised interest in plant-based nutrition, there is risk that intake of vitamin B12 may be lacking since vitamin B12 is not found in foods of plant origin. Deficiency can be serious, leading to irreversible nerve damage. Vegetarians, regardless of type, should be screened for B12 deficiency.” –Therese Regan, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (LGHealth.org)
“The key to a healthy life is movement and flexibility. Get up and move your body—even if it's just walking for 15 minutes, two to three times a day. Try and find time for 10 minutes of stretching, two to three times a week, as it can help improve your circulation and help with injury prevention.” –Ashley Mentzer, Thrive Fit Co., Harrisburg (thrivefit.co)
No, it’s not chewing gum. You may have never heard of this food additive, but you have probably consumed it in your favorite dressings, soups, or juices. Xanthan gum serves as a thickener and is often used in gluten-free baking. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that when added to the cooking process of rice, xanthan gum may even help control blood sugar spikes. This is definitely one we’re keeping an eye on!
Did You Know yoga means "yuj," or "to unite through effort" or conscious action? “Modern research tells us that these ancient practices of union can help reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, heart disease, and chronic pain, and that regular yoga practice can improve digestion, measured quality of life, and brain function,” says Jonina Turzi of Lancaster’s West End Yoga (westendyogastudio.com).
More than a third of all Americans aren’t getting enough sleep at night (at least seven hours), according to the CDC. But healthy habits like yoga and meditation can help set the stage for restful sleep because they help us switch from higher-frequency to slower-frequency brainwaves. “This is soothing and calming to our nervous system and restorative for our whole body and its many systems,” says Jonina Turzi of Lancaster’s West End Yoga (westendyogastudio.com). “And it’s especially important before we go to bed at night, so that the hours we are asleep can be maximally healing and regenerative for our body, and we can wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested.”