Physical Activity
Healthy Eating

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Healthy & Safe Lifestyles

Healthy Lifestyles

Physical Activity

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight, prevent disease, and ensure a high quality of life is to be active regularly.

How much is enough?

For health benefits, adults need at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, or thirty minutes at least five days per week.  This could include activities such as riding a bike, hiking, or pushing a lawn mower. 

If you do high-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, swimming laps, or playing basketball, the recommendation is one hour and fifteen minutes per week.

Don’t forget to include activities that strengthen all large muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) at least two days per week.  This includes lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., push ups or sit ups), heavy gardening (i.e., digging or shoveling), and yoga.

How do I fit exercise in my busy schedule?

Getting the recommended amount of exercise is achievable!  You can exercise in ten minute increments because it all adds up, and it doesn’t have to be in a gym.  For example, take a ten minute walk at lunchtime, rake leaves for ten minutes, and play tag with your kids for ten minutes.  Want to know how many calories you burned while walking, gardening, or doing other activities?  Find out here.

Why should I exercise?

You have probably heard that exercise can help you lose weight, but it also decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. There are also many lesser known benefits of regular exercise.

Where can I be active in Franklin County?

Central Ohio is home to numerous Metro Parks that offer many programs and opportunities to be active.

Walking is one of the easiest, safest, and most economical ways to exercise.  Check out the free Walk with a Doc program, which allows walkers to interact with a doctor while experiencing some of Franklin County’s best trails.  There are walking programs currently in Dublin, Westerville, Grove City, and several Columbus locations.

Want to walk, bike, run, or rollerblade on a trail near you?  Central Ohio Greenways is a series of trails that join neighborhoods with the great outdoors.

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Healthy Eating

“Is it better to eat vegan or vegetarian?”
“Can somebody explain what non-GMO food is?” 
“Should I follow the south beach, the paleo, or the Mediterranean diet?”
“What does healthy eating even mean?”   

We all have questions about eating healthy.  Many times the messages around food that we hear about can be conflicting and confusing.  With all the experts on the news and internet, these “healthy eating” messages can be overwhelming.  The reality is that choosing healthy foods for you and your family doesn’t have to be complicated. When shopping and preparing meals, try to make sure that your food is:  Healthy, Convenient, and Budget Friendly.  By remembering these basic guidelines, you can ensure that the food on your table not only tastes good, but is also good for you!


In addition to physical activity, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight involves increasing some foods and limiting others.  One helpful resource that helps many people choose healthy foods is the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate Initiative.  MyPlate is a guide that helps people control portion sizes and increase healthy options from different food groups.

For more information on MyPlate, visit:

Recipe of the Week - 12/31/2014

Heart-Healthy Cheesy Potatoes  (Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens)
Serves 12

1 10 3/4 ounce can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup light dairy sour cream
1/3 cup finely chopped onion or 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 30 ounce package frozen shredded or diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes or crushed wheat cereal flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. In a very large bowl, combine soup, cheese, milk, sour cream, onion, and pepper. Stir in potatoes. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish.
2. Cover and bake for 45 minutes; stir potatoes. Sprinkle with cornflakes. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes more or until heated through and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 129 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 g monounsaturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 236 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 5 g protein.


Along with being healthy, food should be convenient, meaning healthy food options are nearby and accessible for all people.  In addition to grocery stores, shoppers can find fresh produce at farmers markets and local farms and orchards. 

To find local options for produce, use one of the links below:

Columbus Dispatch Farmer's Market Locator
Local Harvest Farms and Orchard Locator

Budget Friendly

In addition to being healthy and convenient, healthy food should also be budget friendly.  Some of the following tips can be helpful for eating healthy on a budget: 

  • Buy produce that is in season, which is typically less expensive.  
  • Drink Water instead of buying soda or juice. 
  • Buy items in bulk when available. 
  • Cooking your own meals is typically less expensive than buying prepared meals.  This also gives you more control over what goes into the food!
  • Pack your lunch instead of eating out. 
Check out this video from about how to cook with budget friendly whole grains.

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