You probably heard the recent news that only a small fraction of Americans – 2.7 percent – are living what’s considered a “healthy lifestyle.” CPHHS professor Ellen Smit was senior author of the study, which looked at factors such as good diet, moderate exercise, recommended body fat percentage and abstaining from smoking.
More than 150 media outlets across America and internationally broadcasted the grim news: Americans are at risk for cardiovascular disease and many other health problems.
So, what do we do now?
The good news is that individuals can start by doing what they enjoy.
Ellen says finding enjoyment in what you eat and what you do is key. “For activity, yoga may not be my cup of tea, but I enjoy CrossFit. Find an activity that you enjoy doing and do it for longer and more often. For eating, red peppers may not be my favorite, but I love lots of beets, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Fill half your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables that you like, try a new vegetable or fruit every week or month, switch to whole grains for one of your daily foods, and eat whole grains more often,” she says.
There are many online resources that can help with simple and achievable tips for healthier living, Ellen says. These include Choose My Plate, Lets Move! and Smoke Free. Adding a weekly or monthly reminder to your calendar to visit these sites for new tips or information is a way to stay on track.
Ellen has two mottos she likes to remember when it comes to health – “When you know better you do better” and “Do what you can when you can.”
On the up side, some positive news came from the study. The findings revealed that 71 percent of adults do not smoke and 46 percent were sufficiently active. Through finding and doing what we enjoy, we can all takes steps – or it may be lunges for you – toward better well-being and continue to add to the list.