You probably know the benefits of walking for building strong bones, improving heart health and losing weight. But did you know that walking offers benefits for your brain, too? Here are six ways walking can give your brain a boost.
- Stay mentally sharp. A number of studies suggest that walking helps ward off age-related memory decline.
- Lower Alzheimer’s risk. One study found that older men who walked more than 2 miles per day were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia compared to those who walked less than a quarter mile per day.
- Boost brain power. Taking a brisk walk not only gets your heart pumping, it may help focus your thoughts, too. In one small study, kids’ brain scans showed more brain activity after a brisk walk, specifically in the areas of the brain responsible for focus and attention.
- Lift your mood. Research suggests that fast walking at least 35 minutes a day, five days a week, can improve your mood and reduce mild to moderate depression symptoms.
- Spark creativity. A recent study suggests that walking—whether on a treadmill or hiking on a trail—boosted creativity by about 60 percent compared with sitting.
- Sleep better. Research suggests that a brisk mid-morning walk can help you get a better night’s rest.
Want to join a walking group or exercise class? Learn more about wellness programs available through Rex Healthcare. Visit www.rexhealth.com to view information about Rex Wellness Centers.
This smoothie is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals for a low-calorie (and great-tasting) treat.
- 1 cup yogurt, plain, nonfat
- 6 medium strawberries
- 1 cup pineapple, crushed, canned in juice
- 1 medium banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ice cubs
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
Place all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Serve in frosted glass.
Number of servings: 3. Per serving: 121 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 483 mg potassium.
Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Getting kids to embrace healthy food choices can be a challenge! To start the process, try re-making some of their favorite foods with healthy substitutes. When they recognize the food they’ll be more likely to try it and won’t miss the added sugar, salt and fat that is usually added to fast food. These chicken tenders are crunchy and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. They’re a delicious guilt free version of the classic. The tenders are coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked, instead of fried, which greatly reduces the overall fat and calorie content found in regular chicken tenders. The fiber in whole wheat slows the digestion of carbohydrate and provides vitamins and minerals not found in refined grains. You can serve them with your favorite condiment and kids and adults alike will love this twist on a classic comfort food.
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 1/4 lb. (about 8) chicken tenders
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
- Place the whole wheat flour in a medium bowl. In a shallow container, whisk together the eggs and Dijon mustard. In a separate shallow container, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
- Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg mixture until the chicken is coated. Last, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, completely coating the outside.
- Transfer the chicken tenders to the prepared wire rack.
- Lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
Add colorful veggies to your plate with build-your-own lettuce wraps.
Number of servings: 4
- 6 sweet, mini bell peppers
- 8 lettuce leaves
- 1 cup instant brown rice (dry)
- 1 pound tilapia filets, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 2 teaspoons Southwest chipotle seasoning (no sodium)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 limes (divided)
- ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
For the salsa fresca:
- ½ cup yellow corn (frozen or canned, no salt added)
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Slice peppers in half vertically. Arrange lettuce and 8 pepper halves on a serving platter.
- Cook brown rice according to package directions.
- To make salsa fresca, dice remaining pepper halves, tomato and onion; mix with corn, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Sprinkle both sides of tilapia filets with Southwest chipotle seasoning
- Heat 1½ tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side (cook fish until it is opaque, 145°F). Flake with a fork and place in a serving dish.
- When rice is done, stir in remaining ½ tablespoon oil, juice from one lime, and ¼ tablespoon salt. Cut remaining lime into wedges.
- To serve, set out pepper-lettuce platter, rice, fish, salsa, fresca, sour cream and lime, and let diners build their own boats and wraps.
Per serving 350 calories, 12 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 370 mg sodium.
Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov
As few as 30 minutes – 60 minutes for your kids – is all it takes to meet recommended guidelines for daily activity. (Aim for more if you can!) Keep everyone active as you spend some quality time together as a family this summer. Here are some tips:
- Make the backyard your playground. Throw a football back and forth, kick a soccer ball around or go running with a rousing game of tug.
- Go fly a kite. Find a treeless spot, hang onto the kite string and let your child run with it until the kite is airborne.
- Ride bikes. Cruise around the neighborhood together as a family.
- Gear up. Keep inexpensive equipment such as balls, jump ropes and hula hoops on hand for active fun.
- Get the dirt out. Car not looking so spotless? Instead of taking it to the car wash, clean it together as a family. Or host a dog wash for your street.
- Pull weeds. Gardening is great exercise for the whole family. Bonus: Your yard looks great!
- Head to the pool. Do laps at the YMCA or a community pool to keep cool and fit.
- Scale the walls. A rock-climbing gym can provide a full=body workout the whole family will enjoy.
- Have a ball. Organize community kickball, soccer, basketball, volleyball or softball games.
- Get your groove on. Put on some music and have a dance party. Or clean the house as a family, with tunes in the background to keep everyone moving.
- Create a tournament. Set up a relay race, obstacle course, beanbag toss, etc. Don’t forget prizes!
- Hit a bull’s-eye. Fill up water balloons and draw a chalk target ring on the driveway. (Fill a few extra for a game of water balloon dodge ball afterward.)
- Be cool. Let’s face it: Sometimes it’s just too hot out there. Head to the mall and walk in air-conditioned comfort.