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updated: 12/16/2013 4:54 PM

Get moving with New Year Resolutions

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Lake County Health Department

The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is encouraging residents to make a New Year's resolution to be a healthier person in 2014. Some of the best ways to meet that goal are to increase your physical activity and eat healthier foods. Many people tend to decrease their activity and increase their food intake during the winter months, but following a healthy lifestyle throughout the year has multiple benefits.

"Healthy eating and active living are vital to improving our health as well as preventing and controlling chronic diseases," said Tony Beltran, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center. "A healthful eating plan can decrease risk of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers, as well as help achieve a healthy weight."

Here are ways to move your activity level up a notch:

• Add some fun to your physical activity. Walk on a treadmill while watching a movie; use an aerobics or pilates exercise tape; participate in a recreational sport; join an activity club; or dance to music in your house.

• Put activity at the top of your to do list. Make fitness a priority and schedule an appointment every day to do a physical activity. Make it just as important as any other appointment.

• Be prepared. Always have comfortable walking shoes with you. You can keep an extra pair in your car or office, so that you are ready at any time to get out and walk.

• Walk everywhere. Walk to your appointments. Park your car farther from the entrance so you will walk more. Walk while you wait. If you are waiting for an appointment or a plane or train to catch, walk around instead of sitting or standing still.

• Bring a friend. Physical activity is more enjoyable when you have a buddy. Enlist a co-worker, a friend, or a family member to participate in an activity with you.

Here are some healthy eating tips:

• Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you need a quick snack during the day, keep a serving or two of your favorite fruit or vegetables handy wherever you are. Try to avoid saturated fats and cholesterol.

• Slow down. Eat your meals more slowly to give your body a chance to register the fact that you're filling up. Put your fork down between bites if necessary. You'll eat less in the long run.

• Check portion sizes. Many portions today are so large you may not realize what a true portion or serving is. Train yourself by using smaller plates, spoons and cups. And learn to use common visual cues to understand servings. For instance, one serving of whole-grain cooking pasta is about the same size as a hockey puck.

One of the goals of the health department is to encourage and assist residents to increase their physical activity and eat healthier foods. For more information, visit the Health Department's Healthy Eating, Active Living web pages at: