Are There Simple Steps To A Healthier 2016?

Yes!  Embracing a healthy lifestyle does not have to be complicated, burdensome, or expensive.  There are many simple, enjoyable, and inexpensive things you can do to start the New Year off on a healthy foot.  As you continue down that path towards better health, you may well find you feel better about yourself, your energy increases, and your worries are lighter.  Nagging aches and pains may fade.  Long term, embracing a healthier lifestyle can mean fewer problems and lower healthcare costs.  Our community is rising with RiseVT, so join in!

Moving more through fun physical activity, boosting the “local, fresh, and healthy” aspects of what you eat, and freeing yourself from tobacco use can have a significantly positive impact on how you feel and your long-term health.  Here are three tips from members of my team:

Finding minutes to get moving: From Jessica Frost, RiseVT Health Advocate – “Schedule your fitness activity, just like you would any other appointment. Find a time in the day that you can consistently be available, maybe right after work, in the early hours of the day, or at lunchtime. Have a plan for what you are going to do that day, so you do not waste any of your scheduled time. It is easy to skip or let other things take priority, so even when you do not think you are in the mood to exercise, just put on you sneakers and tell yourself you will only do 15 minutes. Often times, once you get going, you will want to go longer, but even if you stop at 15 minutes, it is more than you would have done. It all adds up!

Enhancing your healthy eating: Also from Jessica – “Take a moment to plan meals and make a shopping list. This can help eliminate running through the store and grabbing what looks good. You can have one constant weekly list, which includes your staples. Then you can add the necessary ingredients to make the meals you plan each week. The meals do not have to be fancy, just healthy. Buy products that are close to the farm and do not include any unrecognizable ingredients. Shopping this way will keep your choices healthier and often times keep your grocery bills down.”

Freeing yourself from tobacco: From Amy Brewer, NMC Health Educator – “Trying to quit is the most important thing you can do on your path to becoming tobacco free.  Practice makes perfect.  Want to increase your chances of quitting for good?  Take advantage of Vermont’s free cessation services at 802Quits.org where you can access free coaching over the phone and on-line.  You can also work with someone in-person or in a group setting with NMC’s own cessation coach, Chari Andersen, RN by calling 524-8480.   To help further, patches, gum and lozenges can be sent directly to your home, for free.”

Don’t let winter get in the way of starting to be healthier.  Even though our gardens are under snow (finally), we can still get healthy delicious foods locally and we can still make good choices and enjoy moderation when eating out.  Plus, the snow makes many fun physical activities possible.  Did you know that RiseVT has made it possible for Franklin County libraries to lend snowshoes?  Check out a pair and enjoy a walk at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge, the St. Albans Town Forest, the Fairfax Rec Path, the Hard’ack trails, the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, or Eagle Mountain in Milton!  It may be tempting to curl up and snack your way to Spring, but you will be so much happier and healthier if you embrace winter and start the New Year by eating a bit better, making time for fun activity, and freeing yourself from smoking.

Best of all, you don’t have to go it alone!  Check out RiseVT, the energizing community campaign to embrace healthier lifestyles.  More than 4,800 people have taken the RiseVT pledge on the website and they have been joined by 38 businesses, 12 schools, and 5 communities who are actively working towards better health.  RiseVT has a great new challenge coming to start the New Year, so visit their website, sign the pledge, and join in the effort to make 2016 our healthiest year yet!  For me personally I have to set goals that get me going…like a trip to Florida this winter, or another bike trip in the early Fall.  That gets me moving!  What will it take for you?

Happy New Year to you and yours! 

—   Jilll Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer