Extension and Ag Research News


Prairie Fare: Move more in April

April has been “Move More Month” promoted by the American Heart Association.

“Louie wants to walk more now that it is warmer,” my husband commented when he and our enthusiastic dachshund came in from outside. Louie ran by me and jumped into his dog bed.

I had noticed many pet owners and their dogs out walking around our neighborhood lately. Earlier in the season, many of the dogs had colorful winter coats and boots as we navigated through cold weather.

I thought Louie, our wire-haired, brown and white, short-legged dog, would look good as a canine fashionista. I bought Louie some navy blue boots and a green and blue flannel coat.

He was going to be a stylish dog. He was going to be keeping up with the Daisys, Macs and Rudys in the neighborhood.

Louie gave me an odd look when I put his boots on. He is 14 years old and has survived his many years without footwear. Louie liked the warm coat, but he walked right out of his boots.

I do not think I can teach this dog anything new.

Pets can inspire us in many ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can promote physical activity.

People often socialize when they have a dog on a leash. People ask me what kind of dog Louie is when we are strolling. I was wondering if he was truly all dachshund. I had his DNA tested. Lab tests confirmed he is. 

Pets provide companionship. Walking and playing fetch with pets can decrease loneliness and could improve our mental health by reducing stress and providing support.

Researchers have confirmed that walking with a pet has health benefits. Getting more physical activity may reduce our triglycerides, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

You do not have to adopt a pet in order to get physical activity, but having a human or animal buddy may help you stay motivated.

April has been “Move More Month” promoted by the American Heart Association. Getting more movement in our daily life has many health benefits. Taking a walk could decrease your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

All you need is a good-fitting pair of shoes. Be sure to try on shoes later in the day when your feet may be a bit swollen. Always try both shoes on and be sure you have a little room around your toes but not too much room.

Wear appropriate socks, and walk around the store. Try on several pairs of shoes and compare fit and comfort. If they still feel comfortable after at least 10 minutes, and they fit your budget, you may want to walk over to the cashier.

Health experts recommend accumulating a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days of the week. That does not mean that you are perspiring heavily in an aerobics class.

Many spring chores, including washing windows and raking up the aftermath of winter, count toward the total. Mowing the lawn is an excellent exercise that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working.

Most health experts recommend limbering your muscles by stretching before walking or at least starting slowly for the first five minutes when you venture off on a walk.

Take the talk test. Maybe your first walk after a sedentary winter lasts only about 15 minutes, beginning with a slow walk for five minutes, increasing the pace for five minutes and slowing down for five minutes. If you can’t talk, slow down. If you feel pain or dizziness, stop. You probably want to check in with a healthcare provider.

Don’t forget your water bottle. In general, drinking a half-cup of water for every 15 minutes of physical activity is a good plan to keep yourself hydrated.

This recipe was a hit during our recent recipe testing. This could be a quick breakfast or snack on the go.

No Bake Strawberry-Almond Energy Bites

1 cup chopped dates, such as Medjool
1 cup sliced strawberries
¾ cup sliced almonds
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded coconut flakes

Remove pits from dates and slice each date in half of smaller. Remove stems from strawberries, wash and slice into quarters. Combine all ingredients except the coconut flakes in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are mostly broken up. You do not want it to be a paste but lots of small pieces. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. After an hour, remove from the refrigerator and roll into ping-pong-sized balls. Place the balls in the shredded coconut to coat.

Makes 14 energy balls. Each bite has 150 calories, 5 grams (g) fat, 2 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 10 milligrams sodium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication – April 4, 2024

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, 701-231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-7006, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu


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