Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 25, 2014

Healthy Appanoose Challenges: Week seven

The Daily Iowegian

---- — The seventh 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 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 43 — Feb. 26 — Straighten those sheets: make your bed today. Making your bed creates a more restful, welcoming environment and makes your bedroom feel neater. This can help lower your stress level and create more calm when you turn in for the night. You may even sleep better, which can leave you more refreshed and happy the next day.

Day 44 — Feb. 27 — Eat one stress-busting food with omega-3 fatty acids, like tuna, salmon, walnuts or spinach. Research studies have shown that omega-3s help to lessen levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in the blood and can provide relief from stress and anxiety. Getting more omega-3s in your diet isn’t only tasty, but may help you better deal with daily tensions and stresses, too.

Day 45 — Feb. 28 — Do five bridge stretches. Do a “bridge” exercise. Lie on your back, with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet on the floor. Flatten your lower back against the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your midsection by pressing the backs of your upper arms into the floor and lifting your tailbone up. Your body should make a straight line, from your shoulders to your knees. If you can, hold the stretch for two to five seconds. Rest a moment, then repeat four more times. Our lower abdominal muscles help hold us in alignment, and when they’re out of shape, it can cause lower back pain. Keeping these muscles strong helps to bolster the body’s core, which aids in maintaining good balance and posture.

Day 46 — March 1 — Embrace the next step. Write down 1 skill you’d like to improve that can help you in your career or volunteer activities. Think about your personal goals, whether you’re a seasoned veteran in your field interested in learning new software, a volunteer who wants to explore new ways to help, or a job applicant searching for your ideal role. What’s one thing you’d like to improve in order to nurture your own growth? Write it down. If you like, you can also think about small steps you could take to make it happen. Too often we get into a rut, performing the same repetitive tasks and doing only what’s required to carry out the basic functions of our job. If you want to move ahead — both professionally and personally — it’s important to step back. By thinking about what you’re doing and how you can do it better, you open yourself up to new learning opportunities and experiences.

Day 47 — March 2 — Spy the salt in your cereal. See how much sodium is in your cereal. Pull down the cereal in your cupboard and check the nutrition facts label. How much sodium is in one serving? Is it more or less than you thought it would be? What percentage of your overall recommended daily amount of sodium is it? Many of us may check our labels for sugar, but when it comes to prepared breakfast cereals, salt can also pack just as unhealthy a punch! Sodium-wise, the safest choices are shredded wheat and plain oatmeal.

Day 48 — March 3 — Groove as you get organized. Dance while you clean or tidy. Put on some music with a fast beat, and crank up the volume. Then go around the house and put things where they belong as you dance to the music. You could even make a game of it by putting the sheets back on the bed or doing all the dishes in the sink before a song is up. Or aim for a set number of songs for all your booty-shaking and bed-making (or whatever else is in need of doing). Getting fitness into your daily routine can help you burn energy and lower your risk factors for certain illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. And all that shimmying can boost your mood, too, by releasing endorphins (feel-good hormones). Finally, don’t forget the perk of a tidier home when you’re done!

Day 49 — March 4 —Learn the difference between symptoms of cold and flu. Visit and read the chart, which compares the common symptoms of cold and flu. The common cold and the flu share some similar symptoms, so it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference. However, there are some telltale signs. Knowing what they are can help you treat them properly, so you feel better sooner.