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Monett women can get on the move in 2011 to stay fit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The holidays are over and resolutions have been made. That usually leads to the same conclusion: time to get moving.

In Missouri, only 40.3 percent of women regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous activity more than five days a week, according to 2009 statistics from the Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Lack of exercise can lead to health problems like obesity. Missouri lags behind the rest of the United States in women's obesity rates: 30 percent of women are overweight and 28 percent are obese, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

In Barry County, 42.2 percent of adults are overweight and 23.2 percent are obese. Obesity can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Exercise, along with healthy eating habits, can help you stay fit and healthy.

Dr. Lynn Rossy, a health psychologist with University of Missouri's T.E. Atkins Healthy for Life Program, says that exercise can be intimidating. This is especially true for those who don't consider themselves to be regular exercisers.

"A lot of people think it takes too much time," Rossy says. "Just start from where you are."

Rossy encourages people to start small. One doesn't have to join a gym or go on a 30-minute run every day. A 15-minute walk during a lunch break, parking in the far corner of the parking lot when grocery shopping or choosing stairs over the elevator are all ways to make healthy decisions a part of your busy life. Finding a supportive group of friends can also help motivate.
Here are some steps Dr. Rossy and Health Literacy Missouri suggest to get you going:
* Find a great place to exercise. Find an indoor track or gym at a fitness center, school or church to walk on when the weather is cold. Some shopping malls even open their doors early for walkers. On sunny afternoons, go walking in the cool air. Maybe even take a trip to Roaring River State Park. Getting outside can help tired bodies in the winter.
* Make a workout schedule and keep each other honest. It's easy to skip a work out if nothing is planned. Setting a weekly habit or ritual helps keep you honest. For example, make it a plan to walk on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. And it's okay to reward yourself. Watch a movie with your group the night before a long walk, and use your walking time to talk about it. Take turns hosting a post-workout breakfast. Encourage other people to join your group. Exercising is contagious.
* Beware of "health" drinks. It is important to stay hydrated, especially during more intense workouts. However, in most cases water works best. "Sports" drinks can contain more sugar than you'll burn during your exercise, even if they are advertised as being "healthy." To save money, buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with one inch of water and put it in the freezer a few hours before your workout. When you're ready to go, fill it up with water and you'll have a refreshing drink on hand. Add a zero-calorie drink mix if you prefer a more flavorful drink.
For more healthy ideas, visit healthierus.gov.

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