Taking just one “small step” to improve your lifestyle choices can drastically enhance your health.  Whether it be healthier food choices or choosing to increase physical activity, you can make lifestyle changes that benefit your healthy well-bein

 

Taking just one “small step” to improve your lifestyle choices can drastically enhance your health.  Whether it be healthier food choices or choosing to increase physical activity, you can make lifestyle changes that benefit your healthy well-being.
 

For example, to prevent weight gain of one pound a year, eat ten calories less per day on an average.
 

If you walk one-half mile five days a week for three months you can burn the calories found in one pound of body weight.
 

Two small food changes that improve health are to eat breakfast more regularly and to replace white bread with a whole whole grain type.
 

You might also snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of foods high in added salt or sugar.
 

Other healthy food choices can be to choose fat-free milk replacing soft drinks for your beverage choice. Add legumes to salads and make lean meat choices when making meat selections. Make a habit to read the Nutrition Facts on food labels.
 

Small steps can also be beneficial when choosing to be more physically active. You might begin to walk during your lunch hour, or park a little further away from your office or the store.
 

Over time, you could increase the minutes per week spent in planned physical activity sessions, such as stretching, using light hand-held weights or bicycling.
 

Recent research confirms that losing ten pounds of excess body weight and getting 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, such as walking, greatly reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, or at least postpone the risk.
 

Be aware that you don’t have to make lots of changes in food selections and physical activity all at once. that can lead to feeling overwhelmed.
 

Instead, start by improving just one or two of your lifestyle choices. You can expect measurable benefits to your health and quality of life.
 

Over 600 Crawford County residents, comprising 106 six-member teams, have been increasing their healthy lifestyles by participating in the K-State Research & Extension eight- week Walk Kansas program. On May 11th, these participants will be celebrating their accomplishments. Seventy-five of these teams have already reached the team goal of walking 423 miles, the distance across Kansas. Most of the teams will be completing this goal during these last two weeks of the program.
 

Team members have also increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables and made whole grain food choices to increase their benefits. To learn more about the K-State Research & Extension Walk Kansas program visit their website at: www.walkkansas.org