Extension and Ag Research News


Keep Moving During Autumn

It’s important to keep active even when temperatures dip low, even if that means finding an indoor spot to walk, such as a mall or gym.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

I laced up my tennis shoes to go for a walk around our neighborhood, and then I paused to check the temperature on our indoor gauge. I nearly unlaced my tennis shoes and stayed inside. Yes, autumn is here.

In a couple of months, the crisp outdoor temperatures of fall will seem positively balmy. I resisted the temptation to stay inside with a steaming cup of cocoa. Instead, my kids and I put on our stocking hats and jackets and ventured outdoors. In no time, we were quite warm with the exertion.

It's important to keep active even when temperatures dip low, even if that means finding an indoor spot to walk, such as a mall or gym. Unfortunately, many North Dakota kids and adults do not meet physical activity recommendations.

According to a 2002 survey conducted by the North Dakota Department of Health, 22 percent of North Dakota adults did not participate in any physical activity in the previous month. A 2001 survey of North Dakota students revealed that just 19 percent of high school students participated in daily physical education classes.

Keep your shoes and jacket ready and reap the benefits of regular activity. Physical activity enhances flexibility and posture. It reduces risk of heart disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes and it reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. All these benefits add up to a longer, healthier life.

Physical activity helps relieve stress and helps with weight maintenance. Activities such as autumn yard work burn calories, too. A 150-pound person trimming hedges for 30 minutes burns 160 calories. The same person cleaning windows for 30 minutes will burn about 112 calories. Raking leaves for 30 minutes will burn another 112 calories.

Looking ahead, the person will burn 292 calories when shoveling snow for 30 minutes. Maybe we need to think of shoveling as a benefit to our physical activity level, as well as a necessity.

Experts recommend that we accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in addition to our usual daily activities. For example, take two 15-minute walks instead of two coffee breaks during the day, or put a lid on your coffee cup and carry it as you walk.

To help prevent weight gain as we age, experts recommend 60 minutes of activity per day. To lose weight, 90 minutes of activity per day is recommended, but check with a doctor before starting a physical activity program.

To help us eat healthfully and get enough activity, the USDA released a new pyramid for kids as a counterpart to the one for adults at www.mypyramid.gov. It includes an online game and ideas such as these to keep families moving throughout the seasons.

  • Set up a home gym. Use items such as canned foods as

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weights. Stairs can substitute for ""stair machines."

  • Instead of sitting through TV commercials, get up and move.

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Walk while on the phone. Limit ""screen time"" for kids to less than two hours daily.

  • If you're shopping for the holiday season, give activity

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gifts such as active games or sporting equipment.

Here's a warm, tasty snack to enjoy after a brisk walk.

Cheesy Barbeque Bean Dip

  • 1/2 c. vegetarian baked beans
  • 3 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. regular or hickory-smoked barbeque sauce
  • 2 large carrots cut into diagonal slices
  • 1 medium red or green pepper, cut into chunks

Place beans in small microwaveable bowl and mash slightly with fork. Stir in cheese and barbecue sauce. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for one minute and then stir. Microwave for 30 seconds or until hot. Serve with bell pepper chunks, carrot slices and whole-grain crackers.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 80 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 280 milligrams of sodium.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, jgardenr@ndsuext.nodak.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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