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Check out the Live Well Waco Website for some great information on where to find free or low cost produce, free recreational spaces to engage in physical activity, and information about the dangers of secondhand smoke!

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Active Living Breathe Well Healthy Eating


Healthy eating is important for youth and adults when participating in physical activities, and can lead to a healthier lifestyle. These meals would include foods such as energy-rich carbohydrates, or whole grain breads or pastas, legumes, raw vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and brown rice. A diet including these types of foods helps to maintain healthy muscles and body tissues. Here are some tips that combines good nutrition, and staying energized, while living an active lifestyle.


Too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, but it is helpful to use preventatives such as sunscreen, protective clothing, hats, and good swimwear to protect yourself.

Sunscreen helps by reflecting and/or absorbing UVA and UVB rays. The sun has ultraviolet A (long waves) and ultraviolet B (short waves). UVA and UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere, and play a role in conditions such as premature aging, skin cancers, and eye damage.

Sunscreen has labels showing the SPF or Sun Protection Factor on the bottles. They come in forms of creams, gels, sprays, lotions, wipes, and colors.

For sensitive skin try an all natural sunscreen that includes: PABA-free, oil-free, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, chemical free, and mineral based options.

For acne prone skin use a light, oil-free lotion, fragrance free that won’t clog your pores. Try not to use the same type of sunscreen from your body on your face.

For oily skin use a mineral oil free, non-comedogenic, and oil free that is water or gel based.


Sun Protection Tips

  • Sit in the shade when you have a chance during the hottest times of the day.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing, that will keep you cool, and protect you from the sun.
  • Find a broad spectrum sunscreen gentle enough to wear everyday with UVA and UVB protection.
  • Look for water-resistant or water proof sun protection with UVA and UVB protection while participating in outdoor events or swimming.
  • If you play sports or are outdoors often, purchase the highest SPF you can find, but remember it is not 100% water and sweat proof.
  • Keep sunscreen away from your eyes
  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  • SPF-15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF-30 blocks 97% of the same UVB rays.
  • A broad spectrum sunscreen protects from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning).
  • Sunscreen does expire, and is good for 2-3 years from the manufacture date.
  • Sunscreen should be kept at 77 degrees. Keep it in your cooler if you’re at the beach, lake, or at an outdoor activity to keep it from loosing its effectiveness.

Sometimes you cannot get outside to workout, due to weather, busy schedule, or lack of gym membership. However, here is a list of work out options that will get you working out in the privacy of your home with or without equipment.

Jump Rope.  This can be an imaginary rope or use a jump rope if you have one. This might make you think of grade school, but if you don’t have a rope hold your hands out to your sides, and pretend you’re holding onto a rope. Hop, skip, or jump as you rotate your wrists, pretending that you’re swinging your jump rope. If you have a rope you can actually hold it, and jump rope. Jump about 50 times to start, and increase or decrease your speed to your physical level. Add more time and jumps as you get stronger.


The Plank. If you don’t  have much time to work out, but want to build core muscles, this is a good exercise for you. Get into a push-up position, but instead of bending your arms and going towards the floor, you hold this position with your arms extended. Start off holding this position for 30 seconds, and add 10 seconds every day as you get stronger. See how long you can hold it. This is not easy, but it is great for your core.


Stair Stepping. This is a great exercise to do in your home even if you do not have access to stairs. Find the largest book you own, or a sturdy chair. You can put it in front of your TV, and step while you watch your favorite show on TV or some great music. If you do not want to step on a book or chair, march in place with your knees high for 5-10 minutes at a time up to 3-4 times depending on your physical level. March legs towards waist, and this will work the thighs, legs, buttocks, and abdominal. This might not be able to work up a sweat like jumping rope, but will keep you active.


Dancing. This is perfect if you are tired of normal work outs, and want something to burn calories. Pick out different music and dance for fun with friends or in your own home. This will get your heart rate up, and burn calories.


Lunges. This is a workout you can do anywhere, and will see the results in no time. Keep your upper body straight, shoulders back and relaxed, and chin up. Pick a point in front of you to stare at so you aren’t looking down. Engage your core the entire time. Step forward with one leg, and lower your hips until the legs are bent at a 90 degree angle or as far as your physical level allows. Make sure your knee stays above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and your back leg knee does not touch the floor. Keep your weight in your heels, push back up, and start again.


Cleaning. Cleaning your house can be a physical activity if vacuuming, mopping, cleaning a kitchen or bathroom. If you cannot make it out one day to ride bikes, play soccer, walk or run set up a cleaning schedule around your home to clean your house instead.

Weights/Toning. If you are looking to have more toning and strength exercises, but do not have small weights grab some water bottles or similar in weight items to use. You can always make weights by refilling water bottles. You will be able to make your exercise modified to your fitness level by creating the exact weight you need. Increase the amount of weight when you need a challenge. Try bicep curls by bringing your hand to your shoulder, but keeping your elbow at your side.

Jumping Jacks. These are great for anytime at home. It will get your heart rate up, and burn calories. You can do jumping jacks while watching your favorite TV shows, during commercials, or while you play music.

Crunches. Lie on the floor, bend your knees, and cross your arms on your chest. You can also put your arms behind your head, but you many pull your head and neck up, which can strain your neck and back. Curl your shoulders and back up towards the ceiling, but do not lift your entire back off the ground.

Yoga. You can learn about yoga poses online, on YouTube, and at the library. 


YouTube. If you are bored with your workout routine you can go to YouTube to look up the workouts you’re looking for. For example: crunches, yoga, zumba, salsa, toning, etc.

Our New You, Too program ended this week! Congrats to everyone who participated in the 10-week program and made improvements to their health! Now that the challenge is over, we’d like to provide you with some tips to keep the weight off and continue making healthy choices

1. Don’t forget to eat your breakfast! It truly is an important meal. Try to eat within 30 minutes of waking up to give your body the boost it needs to start the day.

2. Keep your eating plans consistent. Summer is coming up and that means schedules will be changing. Plan ahead and make sure your meals will be full of nutrition.

3. Continue to be active. If you have found activities that you enjoy doing, stick to them and have a blast doing that. If you’re still not sure you have found an activity that keeps you interested and motivated to work out, try new things. The weather is getting warmer every day- head to the park, the lake, or any outdoor activity you find. Soak up some sun while you’re improving your physical health.

4. Monitor your progress. You can keep a food journal or weigh yourself 1-2 times a week. If you notice that you’re making unhealthy choices or gaining weight, look at your meals and exercise routine to see where changes can be made.

5. A lot of people have a problem when they’re trying to lose weigh and that is that they hit a plateau. If you’re stuck at a certain weight and you can’t seem to lose any more, try to increase your physical activity.

6. Get support from your family and friends. They’ll be some of your best motivators.

These are just a few ways to monitor and improve your health. If you’re new to this, it’s never too late to start making improvements.

Remember our post from a few weeks ago about physical activity? It is an important part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. There are many ways to exercise beyond going for a run and lifting weights at the gym. If you don’t enjoy those things, you should try out different activities, such as dancing, hiking, and yoga, and find an activity that you love. Working out won’t seem like a hassle when you’re doing something you enjoy.

A good way to try something new is to look for events around your community. Many times, free or reduced-price classes are offered so that you can attempt new things. In Waco, you can find free CampGladiator classes on Saturdays for anyone who wants to try it out before they buy a package. On Thursdays, you can go to a paddleboard yoga class at Outdoor Waco for half price. For those of you who love big band music and want to try out swing dancing, the Waco Swing Dance Society is hosting a dance on April 27

There are also many walks and runs throughout the year. Many of them are put on by health organizations and awareness groups to raise money for research. Some events coming up in Waco include the 2013 Waco Walk for Autism, the Donkey Dash 5k and One Mile Walk/Run, the 2013 Waco Stiletto Stampede, and the Mudquest Hungry Games

Look at Waco’s calendar of events for more events that are coming up in the next few months. Go out and try new things. Who knows, you may just find the exercise that will change your views on working out! You can also check out Live Well Waco’s calendar for more information about the Camp Gladiator classes and paddleboard yoga.

It’s that time of year again—spring break is in the air! A lot of people are taking a well-deserved break and heading towards warmer places. It can be hard to maintain a healthy eating and exercise regimen when you’re surrounded by delicious restaurants and naps on the beach, but if you plan ahead, you can find ways to stay healthy while relaxing.

Here are some tips on eating healthy and staying active on vacation:

  1. Pack healthy snacks to eat in the car or on the plane. Dried fruits, whole-grain crackers, almonds, seeds, and granola bars are healthy (and not too messy) options that will help you avoid snacking on high-calorie options available at airports, gas stations, and hotels.
  2. Opt for grilled meats when eating out at restaurants, and ask to substitute your side of French fries with a serving of vegetables.
  3. Split a meal with someone else in your group because the portions at restaurants are too large. If no one else wants the same meal you do, ask for a to-go box when you order your meal and place half of the entrée in the to-go box when you are served. You can eat that half for lunch the next day.
  4. Choose to walk. Take a walk on the beach (you burn more calories walking on sand than hard ground) or walk to your favorite dinner spot.
  5. Try beach sports. You can play Frisbee, beach volleyball, swim, or kayak. These can be fun activities to try with your family and friends if they’re new to you.

The important thing is to be conscious of what you eat. Try to find healthy options when you’re eating out and stay active while you’re at the beach or wherever you end up going.

But most importantly, don’t forget to relax—enjoy your vacation and make memories.

Click here for more tips on eating well while you’re on vacation.
Click here for more ways to stay active at the beach.

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