Monday, November 12, 2001

Fit Bits

Ways to stay active and healthy

Compiled by Peggy O'Farrell

Just in

        Get healthy: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has launched an initiative to encourage African-American women to improve their health.

        The initiative, Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better, focuses on maintaining a healthy body weight through physical activity and healthy eating.

        Overweight and obesity pose significant health risks for African-American women, according to the National Institutes of Health. Data indicate 70 percent of African-American women are overweight or obese. Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are all aggravated by overweight.

        Free publications are available on diet and exercise by calling (877) 946-4627 or logging on to


        Eat right: The Midwestern Regional Medical Center/Cancer Treatment Centers of America offer these tips for healthy holiday eating:

        • Most of us will gain about six pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Instead of trying to lose weight, focus on maintaining existing weight.

        • Don't go to holiday parties hungry. Eat a light meal before arriving at the celebration.

        • Make time for exercise. It'll help beat stress and burn off some of that pumpkin pie.

        • Limit alcohol intake to one or two drinks. Calories from beer, wine and mixed drinks add up fast.

        • Talk a lot. It'll keep you from eating.

        • Don't wear loose-fitting clothes; snugger seams will remind you not to overeat.

        • Donate non-perishable food gifts to a food pantry.

        • Offer to bring a healthy dish to holiday parties.

        • Lighten up holiday favorites: Remove skin from turkey, skim fat from gravy, use skim milk and margarine instead of whole milk and butter.

Shelf help

        New guide: Pilates for Beginners (HarperResource; $21.95) by Kellina Stewart gives step-by-step instructions for the popular low-impact conditioning program. ;


        Brrrr: Layering the right workout clothes with some common sense will go a long way toward warming up your winter exercise routine, say the experts at the American Council on Exercise.

        Hypothermia is a real concern for fitness buffs during winter months. To control heat loss, exercisers need to consider insulation — their body fat plus clothing — and environmental factors — temperature, wind and water.

        People with a little more body fat will lose less heat. Wearing a cap or helmet during outdoor activity stops about 50 percent of the body's heat loss. Wearing clothing in loose layers that trap air but allow sweat to pass through also adds to insulation. Avoid heavy cotton “sweats,” because they'll trap water, which takes away insulation value. Wear gloves or mittens, proper foot gear and heavy socks to keep hands and feet warm.

        And check the temperature before you head out. The National Safety Council says most of us are safe when the wind chill is at 20 degrees. But when the wind chill heads toward 20 degrees below zero, it's time to stay inside.

        Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone: 768-8510; fax, 768-8330; Email,


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