With obesity and disease running rampant across the nation, teaching the young and old about proper nutrition and fitness is essential to maintaining health and wellness, both physically and mentally.
Over the weekend, several physical therapist assistant students met up with certified dietitians to help residents in the small community of Essexville learn about the true importance of nutrition and fitness.
Sticking to an Exercise Routine
The volunteers took the time to explain basic exercise guidelines that the residents could implement in their daily lives to strengthen heart muscles and improve overall artery health, decreasing the chances of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
With the minimum amount of exercise time being 30 minutes a day, the physical therapist assistant students encouraged residents to take brisk walks or bike rides five times a week.
Holding a conversation should only be slightly strenuous, and residents who were unable to work out on a daily basis needed to avoid a sedentary lifestyle by walking to a corner store or taking the stairs.
Because of the upswing of anxiety disorders in America, the students and dieticians took the time to explain how consistent exercise could help improve the residents’ mental stability and cognitive function. The residents learned that exercise not only reduced negative mental conditions but also improved self-esteem, and exercising on a daily basis offered numerous health benefits, such as:
- Increased alertness and performance levels
- Increased fat-free mass gains
- Reduced body fat
- Improved cardiovascular health
Implementing a Healthier Diet Regime
In order to enhance the residents’ physical performance, the physical therapist assistant students and dieticians emphasized the importance of a healthy carb diet to ensure consistent energy levels as well as a lean protein diet to support muscle repair and development. They explained that the right diet and exercise routine was even more essential for students who were involved in athletic activities, such as soccer, volleyball, and basketball.
For residents who worked full time or had families to take care of, the volunteers explained the benefits of implementing a healthier diet regime. They took the time to provide a basic guide that residents could follow, with the program being designed around each individual’s current health and lifestyle patterns. They also encouraged residents to set short-term goals that could be built into long-term goals, ensuring proper weight loss in small increments.
Residents were able to see how food consumption should come from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Diets that are high in these nutrients successfully help support daily activities, and the calories offer sufficient amounts of energy to exercise and maintain a healthy metabolism.
With obesity becoming a main concern among families across the nation, the students and dieticians focused on effective weight management for residents. Residents were able to see firsthand how unhealthy diets could lead to health conditions, such as cancer, strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
To minimize the risk of heart disease, the volunteers emphasized the importance of placing your body in a calorie deficit to burn more calories than are consumed, implementing the following food groups that are high in nutritional value and low in calorie content:
- Fresh fruit
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Fish and poultry
Visiting a Physical Therapy Facility
With their goal being to reduce the risk of disease and chronic pain, the students stressed the need for physical checkups to help minimize injuries during exercise routines. The physical therapist assistant students reported that improper diet and fitness routines could result in various physical conditions, such as:
- Back pain
- Orthopedic injuries
- Vestibular conditions
Residents who ate unhealthy diets and did not exercise were more prone to getting injured by implementing too much at one time. The students reported that physical therapy could help relieve a variety of chronic pain associated with sports’ injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation.
Encouraging the young and old to focus on a healthier lifestyle is essential to helping America overcome obesity and chronic pain, but change starts in small communities. For this reason, several physical therapist assistant students and dieticians volunteered their time to spend a weekend discussing the true importance of fitness and diet to the residents of Essexville.