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Healthy living is crucial
State Sen. Chuck Wiger
From a “polar vortex” to heavy snowfalls, Minnesota’s winters can be hard on us in a variety of ways. One change that the cold months can have on us is the change on our health. While we are cooped up in our homes this winter, it is important to make healthy choices.
Staying active is more difficult in the winter, but the benefits are worth the extra effort to make it to the gym. The Mayo Clinic’s website (www.mayoclinic.org) highlights some benefits of regular physical activity:
• Exercise combats health problems and disease. Regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
• Exercise improves your mood. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
• Exercise boosts energy. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
• Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.
Perhaps the best way to stay active is to embrace the cold. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/) offers a great Winter Activities Guide to help you enjoy the outdoors in our state parks. Our parks have rental gear available, and there are lots of kid-friendly activities.
The other side of the health equation is of course, eating healthy. The Minnesota Department of Health (http://www.health.state.mn.us) has several links to help you plan healthier meals for you and your family.
One of those links is to the Fruits and Veggies More Matters (http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/) website. This site provides a list of what fruits and veggies are in season, 30 minutes or less recipes and ways to make healthy eating a focal point of every meal.
We have several weeks of winter ahead of us but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay healthy and even enjoy a little outdoor fun. Get out there, exercise and eat right. You will enjoy the benefits.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 651-296-6820.