How to Set Fitness Goals

The National Institute on Aging shared that many people find that having a firm goal in mind motivates them to move ahead on a project. Goals are most useful when they are specific, realistic, and important to you. Be sure to review your goals regularly as you make progress or your priorities change.

Download and use the Goal-Setting Worksheet to document where you want to be in both the short and long term.

Write Down Your Short-Term Fitness Goals

Short-term goals will help you make physical activity a regular part of your daily life. For these goals, think about the things you’ll need to get or do in order to be physically active. For example, you may need to buy walking shoes or fill out an Activity Log so you can figure out how to fit physical activity into your busy day. Make sure your short-term goals will really help you be active. Here are a few examples of short-term goals:

  • Today, I will decide to be more active.
  • Tomorrow, I will find out about exercise classes in my area.
  • By the end of this week, I will talk with my friend about exercising with me a couple of times a week.
  • In the next 2 weeks, I will make sure I have the shoes and comfortable clothes I need to start walking for exercise.

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NIA’s new exercise guide in Spanish

Thumbs up - Male student doctor with stethoscope on white backgroundNIA’s new exercise guide in Spanish can help you learn about the benefits of exercise and physical activity as you age. Whether you’re just starting out, getting back to exercising after a break, or are fit enough to run a three-mile race, this guide is for everyone, including those who live with a disability or chronic health condition.

This guide can help you learn about:
Types of exercise and physical activity
How to get started
Safe ways to stay active
How to stay on track

Visit NIA’s website to download, print, or order a free copy of the new exercise guide in Spanish. The guide is also available in English.

You can also sign up for monthly Healthy Aging Tips e-alerts in Spanish! Starting in January 2022, NIA will begin sharing monthly tips on healthy aging, caregiving, and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in Spanish. Sign up here. Read more

11 Unique Family Activities to Help You Connect With Loved Ones

All Things For Kids shared that spending time together as a family is important, and the activities that you do together can help strengthen your family’s bond.

Life can get busy, and it’s easy to forget to spend quality time together. But taking time out of your busy schedule and making family outings and activities a priority actually has loads of benefits.

Spending time together: 

  • Can strengthen the emotional bond between parents and children
  • Improve communication
  • Reduce behavioral problems
  • Improve kids’ school performance
  • Boost kids’ self-confidence

Of course, it can be hard to come up with an idea that everyone loves, so we put together a list of family activities that are sure to create lasting memories.

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Head-to-Toe Health Tips for the Whole Family

Brad Krause at brad@selfcaring.info wrote for Healthy Lombard that Childhood obesity is a major issue in the United States, with nearly one in five kids aged 2 to 19 considered obese. Unfortunately, excess pounds can contribute to long-term health issues, from diabetes to hypertension. Healthy Lombard is a charitable organization committed to helping parents raise healthy, active kids. This guide provides head-to-toe tips that you can implement in your family to help kids and adults alike improve their wellbeing.

Make exercise a family activity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people of all ages can do to maintain a healthy weight. Look for activities you can enjoy as an entire family, like playing tag, hula-hooping, or dancing to music. You can also get some fresh air by exercising outdoors. Go for a hike or a bike ride as a family. As your kids get older, encourage them to pursue athletic activities like team sports on their own.

Establish a strict bedtime routine for kids and adults alike

A solid night’s rest helps kids and adults alike feel their best. Build a bedtime routine for your children that will help them get to sleep at the same time every night. Pre-sleep activities could include helping them brush their teeth, reading a book together, and singing them a lullaby. It’s also significant to get rest as an adult. The Mayo Clinic provides guidance for getting a better night’s sleep, such as minimizing caffeine intake before bed.
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Preventing and Managing: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

College of DuPage Nursing Student Thomas Flock researched for Healthy Lombard that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) develops from an excess of fat in the liver and surrounding area. Poor management of this disease can lead to liver cirrhosis. NAFLD can also be a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and kidney disease (Department of Veteran Affairs, United States, 2021). People living with NAFLD are normally asymptomatic. Often people with NAFLD have preexisting conditions, such as obesity, diabetes or insulin resistance, high blood pressure to name a few. But how do I prevent and/ or manage NAFLD?

 

The first and most important answer is a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with limited added sugar is a great start to a healthy diet. Other foods can include fish, avocados, walnuts, oatmeal, and sunflower seeds. When it comes to drinks, the first rule is NO alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, make sure it is limited, as alcohol can help NAFLD progression to liver cirrhosis. Good liquids to have are water, milk, green tea, and even that early morning coffee. Balancing your diet can be difficult, but the right planning can easily be attained.

 

The next is exercise. Physical activity, from walking to jogging to a full-on run, will all get the job done. The US Department of Veteran Affairs recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day (Department of Veteran Affairs, United States, 2021). The goal is to get moving. Exercising may seem like a lot, but you don’t even have to join a gym. Walk at your nearby park, take a bike ride, go for a swim. This will help promote a healthier lifestyle and help to lose a few pounds, which is important in managing NAFLD.

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Healthy Jumpstart for Everyone

College of DuPage Nursing Student Marta Jasinski asks Healthy Lombard followers, “Do you lack the motivation to engage in regular physical activity?” Awareness of the numerous benefits of both physical activity and exercise may help motivate even those who are least interested in physical activity to begin. Routine physical activity or an exercise program can be implemented at any age, starting with those who are young and continuing into older age. This article will provide several benefits of becoming more active to encourage overall health for the entire family.

To begin with, physical activity and exercise are not the same. Physical activity is any activity, whereas exercise is planned and structured movement. Either will help with mental well-being and improve mood. Stress is relieved and cognitive thinking and acuity, and ability to focus are improved (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021). In general, physical activity and exercise help to increase energy levels throughout the day. Another advantage of physical activity and exercise is their contribution to decreasing depression and anxiety (CDC, 2021). When people are active, sleep also improves tremendously (CDC, 2021).

Physical activity and exercise help with wellness, and along with a healthy diet, facilitate weight loss which is also beneficial in preventing disease. When people are consistently active, blood pressure and cholesterol are improved and the chance of type 2 diabetes is reduced (CDC, 2021). Read more

Get outside to meet your movement goal

Melanie Kirschten, a personal trainer with Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness, shared in their of that this has been a challenging year, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic has had us isolated, sedentary, and indoors, with many adults working from home and children e-learning. Social isolation and inactivity have been detrimental to our physical and mental well-being. It’s time to get out of the house, off the sofa, away from the computer, and outside. It is amazing how simply stepping outside into the fresh air can have a positive effect on one’s mind, body, and spirit.

The American Council on Exercise recommends that children get cardiovascular exercise for 60 minutes each day and adults get 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

If you do not know where to start, start by taking a walk. If all you can do is one lap around the block before getting exhausted, it’s better than nothing. As you begin to feel stronger, challenge yourself the next time by walking an extra block, and so on.

For those who enjoy running more than walking, go for that run. Again, if all you can do is run around the block once before getting tired, do not let that get you disappointed. The next time you go for a run, try going one extra block.

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The Benefits of Exercise

Fitness happy woman exercise with dumbbell on white backgroundCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Haiyan GAO wrote for Healthy Lombard that it is well known that exercise is good for our health mentally and physically, but how many actually engage in exercise to see the benefits for themselves? What is exercise? It may be defined as anybody movement one makes in their daily life. Exercise is important for everyone for several reasons that will be described below.

According to the book, Anatomy and Physiology is written by Tortora and Derrickson (2017) exercise can produce stress which helps bone tissue to become stronger through the increased deposition of mineral salts and production of collagen fibers by osteoblasts. As a result, they grow and the breakdown of bone is reduced. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Also, exercise helps build bone density in youth in addition to preventing osteoporosis later in life. Exercise may improve brain health and memory also, by increasing heart rate and accelerating blood flow and oxygenation to the brain. Heidi Goldman (2014) describes the benefits from exercise as due to stimulation of hormone production that may improve the growth of brain cells. Exercise has been found to increase the size of the hippocampus, a portion of the brain involved in memory and learning, which also increases mental function in older adults. Read more

Healthy, Happy Trail Mix Builder

The Edward Elmhurst Health “Take A Hike Challenge” suggests that Trail Mix is the ultimate snack because, when made thoughtfully, it incorporates key pillars of healthy nutrition: protein, healthy fats, fiber, and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

Balance is important, so it’s OK to add a little of the fun stuff, just make sure to avoid turning healthy snack mix into a bag of candy!

Here’s how to do it best:

Choose several of your favorites from each of the following categories. Mix them up and store them in an airtight container. Each family member can make their own mix using nuts, seeds, beans, peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, dried chickpeas, and dried edamame,

 

Some healthy sweets you could include might be dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes, dried bananas, dried pineapple, dried mango, raisins, dried cranberries, apple chips, apricots, or dried berries.

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Benefits Of Cycling (15 Reasons To Ride Your Bike!)

Mark from Bike Push shared with Healthy Lombard that cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy. There’s no doubt about that.  Not only that, but cycling is fun, social, and it can even help your love life!

This article discusses 15 of the best benefits of cycling!

1. Cycling Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

This is obvious, but aerobic exercise (that includes cycling) helps to combat the risk of coronary heart disease.

Cycling can lower levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” kind that clogs your arteries and leads to a higher chance of having a stroke or developing cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis or peripheral vascular disease.

Sounds nasty, doesn’t it!

Riding a bike can also help to manage high blood pressure, as cycling helps your body release nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important for maintaining the healthy function of artery walls and muscles during exercise because it regulates their constriction or dilation.

So ditch the car in favor of biking! You’ll feel better about yourself. Read more