OPINION

Health and Wellness: Increase activity

Ann Cochran Dallas County Public Health

It seems like summer should be an easy time to increase physical activity, yet it’s also easy to make excuses for staying on the couch. It’s too hot; it’s raining; there are mosquitoes; I’m busy going to my kids’ activities.

Try increasing physical activity in natural ways that fit your life. While at ballgames, get up and walk around instead of sitting the whole time. (A stroll to the concession stand may not be the best choice.)

Taking a walk during your lunch break will help ease the stress of your workday. Even a 15-20 minute walk at a moderate pace will benefit your cardiovascular system.

Tending your garden can help lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes and slow osteoporosis. After your workout of planting, weeding and harvesting, the vegetables from your garden provide nutritious meals. Don’t know what to do with all those vegetables? Get ideas for low-sodium, gluten-free and high-fiber dishes from websites such as www.extension.iastate.edu,www.eatgreaterdesmoines.org and www.iowafoodandfamily.com.

If your diligent work in the garden yields a bumper crop, please consider donating your excess produce to your local food pantry. Contact Dallas County Public Health at 515-993-3750 for locations.