The sixth week of the Healthy Appanoose Challenges are printed below. The free program can be joined anytime throughout the year. Log in at the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at www.centerville-ia.com to record challenges completed. At the end of Phase 1 on April 18, the 50 participants who logged in the most will be entered into a drawing for $100 in chamber gift certificates.
Day 36 — Feb. 19 —Stand with your feet together and knees slightly bent. Hold your arms out in front of you. Transfer your weight to your right leg, and step your left foot slightly behind you (keep your left knee bent). Return to the starting position. Repeat using your right foot, then switch sides eight more times. This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles around the knee, and stronger muscles means that knees are less likely to get injured from everyday activities. The moves also help to give your balance a little boost.
Day 37 — Feb. 20 —Write down one word that describes what you want your day to be like. Writing down one word can help bring clarity and focus to how your day will unfold. Deciding what kind of day you’ll have will also empower you to create the day you want. It’s believed that people who look on the bright side and take control of their lives - their emotions included - tend to be healthier.
Day 38 — Feb. 21 — Promote better sleep: Eat one magnesium-rich food, like bananas, almonds, or spinach, this evening. Magnesium can make for sweeter dreams. This sleep-promoting nutrient can help improve the quality of your sleep – and it comes in so many tasty packages that it’s easy to get your fill before bed. Bonus: Foods that are rich in magnesium contain other healthy vitamins and minerals, too.
Day 39 — Feb. 22 — Sit on the floor facing a chair, rest your arms on the seat, round your back, and count to 10. For this challenge, you will need a chair that doesn’t have wheels. A kitchen chair works well. Sit on the floor facing the chair. (You should be looking at the front surface of the chair’s back.) Slide your legs beneath the chair and keep them straight but relaxed. Round your back, rest your forehead on the edge of the seat, and allow your arms to rest next to your head on the seat. Slowly breathe in and out for a count of 10. (If your chair has no cushion and the seat’s edge hurts your forehead, fold up a small towel.) This yoga-inspired challenge gives a gentle stretch to the muscles in your neck, back and arms. The slow breathing as you stretch also helps to relieve stress.
Day 40 — Feb. 23 — Take three minutes to read tips on talking to your doctor. Visit the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/doctalk/index.html. Spend a few moments reading about the best ways to give and get information while visiting the doctor, as well as what to do after you’ve left. Taking an active role in your own health care is important, but it’s easy to feel tongue-tied or even overwhelmed during a doctor’s appointment, especially if it’s a hurried visit and there is a lot of information to absorb. By reading up on the best ways to prepare, what to ask, and what to do later, you can become a more effective partner in managing your health.
Day 41 — Feb. 24 — Plan to drink a full glass of water before you begin your next restaurant meal. Visiting a restaurant can be fun, but for most people, it means eating way more than they would if they were at home. Drinking a glass of water before your meal helps to fill your stomach and can help curb your eating. Bonus: Water is free and keeps you hydrated.
Day 42 — Feb. 25 — Power up your pace. Walk briskly from one place to another today. When you set out to walk anywhere today (whether it’s around your office, on an errand, or from one room to another in your home), make a conscious effort to pick up the pace. Pretend that you’re in a hurry or that someone is waiting for you, and speed up your steps. Regular moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. It can help you control your weight and even aid in managing stress. Bonus: Adding even a few moments of brisk walking to your day gives you a quick energy boost, too.