Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department Health & Fitness

A Healthier Lifestyle Begins With Balance

Living a healthier lifestyle is easier than you might think. In fact, you and your loved ones can begin today. You don't need to give up your favorite foods or join a gym. All you have to do is make sensible choices about the foods you eat and the activities you take part in.

We will try to help you make some positive changes to improve your health and quality of life with some advise at this site. Research shows that the average American gains 1-3 pounds a year. For a lot of people, stopping this unnecessary yearly weight gain is a simple matter of achieving energy balance.

Weight management can be easily compared to energy balance. A calorie is the measurement of energy. when we consume foods, we take in calories that give us energy to do things throughout the day (from simply breathing to thinking, talking, and walking). Physical activities increase the calorie-burning process. So the more active we are, the more calories we burn. When calories consumed equal calories burned, the result is energy balance.

Managing your weight through energy balance may provide additional benefits such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control, and increased energy levels.

As with all medically related advise given, please make sure to consult your family physician before making any lifestyle changes.

Conserve Gas, Burn Calories!

The goal is to get more active and enjoy exercise. One way to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine is to simply walk more. Consider a family walk around your neighborhood (Parkwood Lake is an excellent opportunity for a lap around or two - there's also the Tobacco trails). The summer weather has been excellent for time spent enjoying our beautiful Carolina sunshine, and doing something healthy at the same time. Walking with the family gets your all out of the house together. It also allows you the opportunity to talk with one another without the normal distractions of tvs, radio, and video games.

Get moving as a family

Staying active is a great way to spend more time with your family. Here are some activities you can all enjoy:

  • Park the car a little farther from your destination and walk; in fact, consider walking short distances instead of driving - save on gas, while burning calories!
  • Take a family walk around the neighborhood after your evening meal.
  • do outdoor work together: cut the grass, trim the trees/hedges, rake the leaves, tend the garden.
  • Count the steps to landmarks near your home: the nearest mailbox, the closest bus stop, a friends house, Parkwood lake, etc.
  • Enjoy the walking trails within Research Triangle Park (yeh, I know you may work there, but how often do you get out on those trails!)

Don't Eat When You Are Hungry?!

Most foods can fit into a sensible eating pattern when you are trying to maintain energy balance. Energy balance is not about what you eat at any one meal or your activity level for any given day. Instead, it is more about your consumption and activity patterns over many days, weeks and months.

Moderation is the key when selecting foods to eat. You will not be told to stop eating anything that you've grown to love, but maybe you can consider eating a smaller portion, and to substitute a healthier variety of foods and snacks.

Cutting calories can be easy and delicious! Here are some easy ways to reduce your daily calories:

  • Grill, bake, or roast your chicken instead of frying it
  • Have a sandwich and salad for lunch, instead of a burger and fries
  • Use non-stick spray instead of butter to grill sandwiches
  • Substitute skim or 1% milk for whole milk
  • serve baked tortilla chips with salsa
  • Dip veggies in fat-free or low-fat salad dressing
  • Eat broth based soups instead of creamed
  • Top your ice cream with fresh berries or other fruit instead of chocolate syrup
  • when dining out, eat sensible portions, and try to get a to-go box to take the extras home instead of finishing your plates

Against instinct, try eating when you are not hungry to avoid large meals when you are hungry. Eat several sensible snacks during the day between meals, ie, yogurts, fresh fruits, health shakes. This will lower your appetites during the three main meals so you will feel fuller with less consumed. Remember, everything in moderation!

Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department ~ Durham, North Carolina ~ 919.361.0927