www.whyville.net Mar 23, 2008 Weekly Issue

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Kick That KFC!

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At a recent spectroscopy chat hosted by none other than the fantastic ScyllaCat, he happened to ask the audience their opinion on which Whyville game they believed to be the hardest. I personally thought it was that old fruit can, but to my shock, a large number of people said WhyEat Live! I was very disappointed, because WhyEat Live is designed to teach us how to live healthy, energetic lives based on the meals that we plan. Is eating healthy really so hard to do? Perhaps some people do not fully understand its importance, so let's take a look.

For the past several years, especially since fast food has become a large part of American (and Canadian!) culture, obesity rates have skyrocketed. Being obese means that one has too much body fat, which can cause serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Specifically, about 15% of kids are obese, and if our eating habits continue in the same direction, 15% more are at risk. The most unfortunate part is that two-thirds of all kids who are obese will grow up to become obese adults! If you, your family, or your friends are obese or at risk of becoming obese, follow these simple steps in order to plan out a healthy lifestyle that will make everyone feel better.

Eating healthy and exercise. These two go hand in hand. Make regular exercise a part of your life by finding out which forms of exercise you really enjoy, then gradually building one or more into your life. Some easy and effective exercise methods include:

*Walking. Walking is great, because it's easy to fit into your day. Get off the bus a stop or two early. Walk to the store, but make it brisk enough so that you feel slightly breathless, because ambling along won't cut it. If you can cover 2 miles a day, you'll be doing great. Or get a pedometer and keep it strapped on. You're aiming for 10,000 steps, which should include a burst of 4-6000 fast steps. Rethink your schedule to include this.

*Running and jogging. If jogging or running appeal to you, get into training gradually. Be careful though, because you can harm yourself if you go from no exercise to strenuous exercise without working up to it. Check out your local gym. Is there a running or jogging group you could join? Or do you have a friend or family member who'd like to share your quest for fitness? Exercise is much more fun with company. You'll also need the right kit - get some proper trainers to support your ankles and protect your feet from impact, and some comfortable running clothes.

*Cycling. Another really pleasurable form of exercise, provided you have somewhere safe, is bicycling. Riding in city traffic isn't such fun, but if there's a nearby park or cycle way, get on your bike and explore.

*Use your stairs. Add simple exercises into your daily routine at home. If you have a flight of stairs, you can use them to improve your strength, power, balance and coordination. How? Simply walk up the stairs without holding the handrail. Walk back down, and repeat 10 times. Too easy? Walk faster, until eventually you can run up those stairs. Walk back down to make sure you don't trip. Make stair exercise even more effective by walking up two steps at a time. When that feels too easy, strap on some wrist and ankle weights to make it more intense.

Watch what you eat. Many foods may look appealing and taste good, but they have hidden calories and fats that will really harm your body in the process. One of the biggest sources of excess calories is in drinks such as soda and juice. Drink a bottle of 2% or skim milk instead of downing that Coca Cola.

Look for healthy eating tips. Many magazines and web sites offer information to both kids and adults regarding the best way to get the most out of your meal. Have a piece of fresh fruit or a whole-grain snack before you go to the gym. It's very easy to succumb to junk-binging after a workout, so be prepared. A banana and a glass of skim milk is a good quick snack if you can't eat a meal straight away. Cook double portions of healthy meals so that you have a ready-made dish you can heat and eat as soon as you get back. Include complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain pasta, brown rice, potatoes or wholemeal bread, and some protein. Get a parent to help you if you don't know how to cook.

I hope this article inspired everyone to try WhyEat Live, both on the web site and in your home! The first step to a healthy lifestyle is changing the food you eat, but it's also the most important if you want to make a difference in the way you feel and look.

Signing off to go eat an apple,


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