Use the world around you to stay healthy and fit

By: By Lethia Lee - Contributing columnist

No matter who you are or where you live, eating well and getting regular exercise are important ways to be healthy. These activities may help maintain a healthy weight and prevent or delay certain health problems, such as diabetes.

Cities and suburbs usually offer large grocery stores and gyms. These facilities may make it easier to live healthfully; but, if you live in a small community, you may not have easy access to a large grocery store or health club. (That is something I feel that all of us should want even for our small communities.) Because the healthier we all are the better it is for all of us. We cannot let this stop us from following healthy behaviors. You can still find ways to eat better and be more active.

Did you know that your weight affects your health. A healthy weight reduces your risk for diabetes, strokes, and some cancers. When a person gains weight, overtime the risk for health problems increase. Healthy eating and regular physical activity are good ways to help you reach a healthy weight and lower your risk for health problems.

Use the world around you to move more — try different activities to find out what works for you and what you like the most. For exercise to become a part of your life, it helps if you enjoy it. Be active with your family, At least once a week, plan an active outing, such as a family bike ride, or walk through a local park. Also ask friends and coworkers to be active with you. Having exercise buddies may help you stay interested in being active. You must try and make any activity a priority. You can fit in physical activity in the morning, on your lunch break, before dinner, or after the kids go to bed. If you are not flexible with your time, you may never get the exercise you need.

Pick times when other activities will not get in the way. Start with a small goal of being active for 20 minutes a day, and then slowly build up longer periods of time. As you build more physical activity into your life, set limits on the amount of time you and your family spend watching TV, playing video games, and using the computer. As you try to be more active and eat better, it is important to set goals you will be able to reach. For example, set a goal to eat one fruit or vegetable at every meal. Keep track of your new goals in a notebook. That way you will see what is working and what is not, and you can adjust your goals as needed. There will be times when you have setbacks. If you expect them and think of ways to overcome them, you may be able to avoid being thrown off track for too long. Common setbacks are lack of time and loss of interest.

You can do this! Being more active and eating better may seem tough without access to large grocery stores, expensive weights or treadmills, or paved walking trails. Remember, you can use what you have around you to be healthy. It works, I know because I do it every day.

For more information about using the World Around you to be Healthy contact Lethia Lee at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office at 910-592-7161 or

Lethia Lee Lee

By Lethia Lee

Contributing columnist

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP Program Assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP Program Assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.