The Road to Recovery

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Within the past month, our county has had to endure major losses due to the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. On a smaller scope, families are now having to cope with recovering personal belongings, food, and even shelter. During those instances of inclement weather, many of us found ourselves confined to our homes, spending the majority of that time either resting, eating, or playing board games. It is quite possible that not much of this spare time was focused on maintaining a healthy diet or creating ways to be physically active. According to an online resource, extreme weather can be a contributing factor to weight gain, in addition to the decrease in an individual’s physical activity. This really puts the saying of “using your time wisely” into perspective, doesn’t it?

Now that the storms have passed, with recovery in mind, we should also focus on recovering our healthy eating habits and daily physical activity regimens. Anytime you start over at anything, it seems like an impossible task. I find this to be comparable to beginning to adjust to a healthier way of eating and falling off the wagon along the way. Start with your snack cabinet for instance – is most of what you have processed, sugary foods that are high in saturated fats or loaded with sugar? If so, consider exchanging these foods for healthier selections like dried fruits, mixed nuts, yogurt, or even fresh fruits and vegetables – all of which are loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins, not to mention a great energy source. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “Just one in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations.”

In the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), participants learn about the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diet. Additionally, participants are taught cooking tips along with safe food preparation techniques and how to manage food resources. Dietary standards recommend that adults should eat at least 1½ to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.

Recently, the weather has been beautiful and temperatures have been ideal enough to allow us to be more physically active, not to mention recover physical activity regimens. With that in mind, make it a point to take advantage of the crisp fall mornings to perform some arm and leg stretches. You could also utilize the warm afternoons during your break at work, or leisure, to enjoy a brisk 30-minute walk. Furthermore, the cool fall evenings can be designated to work on your cardio indoors by doing exercises like yoga or leg lifts. If you choose to add more intensity to your workout, try adding resistance bands to aid in building muscle strength. Remember, recovery isn’t always easy, but it is not impossible. Make the choice today to recover your health!

For more information, contact Ashley McRae, Extension Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant, at 910-671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.

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