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Bivens column: Get healthy in the New Year

We wish you a Happy New Year and a healthy one, too.
A great way to have new beginnings in the New Year is to follow these steps to good health:
H – Health: Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The first wealth is health.” 
Make health a priority this year. Health should be more than the absence of disease – read on for ideas.
A – Attitude: “Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other,” said Joseph Addison.
A positive attitude may not cure a disease. However, thinking positive can help you deal with misfortune, make the most of your situation and enjoy life more.
P – Physical activity: Joan Welsh said, “A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends for adults: “Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activities are beneficial.” 
P –People:  “Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it…” according to Dr. Karl Menninger.
Numerous studies indicate social networks, whether formal, such as a church or social club, or informal, such as meeting with friends, make people less vulnerable to ill health and premature death. Be wary, however, of social support that drains you through people being too demanding or encouraging you to engage in harmful behaviors.
Y-Your body: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” (Source: Jim Rohn)
Schedule physical checkups as needed: eyes, teeth, mammogram, colonoscopy, general physical, etc.
N – NO: “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly and not saying ‘no’ soon enough,” Josh Billings said.
Rather than adding “take a time management class” to your “to do” list, consider starting a “don’t do” list.
You may discover doing less can bring more enjoyment to your life. Especially if doing so allows you to spend time doing more to contribute to your health and happiness and that of family and friends.
E – Eat Healthy: Rich, fatty foods are like destiny: they too, shape our ends.
ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends: “To move to a healthier weight, you need to make smart choices from every food group.” Smart choices are the foods with the lowest amounts of solid fats or added sugars: for example, fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk and unsweetened rather than sweetened applesauce. Also, consider how the food was prepared. For example, choose skinless baked chicken instead of fried chicken and choose fresh fruit instead of a fruit pastry.”
W – Wisdom: A Chinese proverbs says, “A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion.”
Take time to listen to your own body. Rather than set your goals based on how fast other people walk or jog, how little sleep others can get by on or how much someone else eats, concentrate on what makes you healthy.
Y – Your hands: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
E – Enough sleep: The Irish proverb says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” 
According to the 2009 “Sleep in America” poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF): Some of the findings of the poll included:
The number of people reporting sleep problems has increased 13 percent since 2001. In the past eight years, the number of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13 percent to 20 percent, and those who reported sleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38 percent to 28 percent.
 Lack of sleep is creating a major public safety problem as well and is called drowsy driving. The 2009 poll finds that more than one-half of adults (54 percent) – potentially 110 million licensed drivers– have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year. Nearly one-third of drivers polled (28 percent) say that they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving a vehicle.
A – Avoid portion distortion: “Never eat more than you can lift”  – Miss Piggy, a Muppet character, says.
Rather than worry so much about “what” you eat, consider “how much” you eat. Downsize your portion sizes. Serve food on smaller plates. Eat from plates and bowls rather than packages and bags, so you see how much you’re eating.
R – Reading materials: Mark Twain said, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” 
Consider the source before starting a new drastic diet or exercise plan. Beware of plans that promise quick, dramatic results; charge large fees for consultations, equipment, supplements, etc.; or rely solely on testimonials and statements from “professionals” with unusual-sounding degrees.
Here’s a great healthy recipe to try if you have some dried fruit left over from making your seasonal fruit cakes. It is simple, easy to make and from the Auburn Cookbook. Enjoy!

Fruit Balls
1 cup pitted dates
1cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 2 cup pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
Grated rind or 1 orange
1/ 2 cup confectioner’s sugar
Put dates, apricots, raisins, and pecans through a food chopper or food processor using a metal blade. Add salt, orange juice, and grated rind. Mix until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Store in a covered container. Makes 48 servings.
Note: You can use 1 cup dried peaches in place of apricots. Also, you can use I cup ground dry-roasted unsalted peanuts in place of 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar.

About Adam Robinson

My name is Adam Robinson and I have been the Sports Editor of the Brewton Standard since September 2007. I cover all the local sports in the Brewton area. I am a 2007 graduate of Troy University with a degree in Print Journalism with a contract in Sports Information. I married Shari Lynn in June of 2007 and we welcomed our first child, Hatlee, in April of 2010.

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