5 Simple Ways To Help Keep Your Spine Healthy

The tips covered here along with additional links provide simple ways to help support your spine and overall back health.

  • Let your spine really rest while sleeping. While you’re lying down, all the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated in a supported and comfortable way. Your choice of mattress and pillow is largely based on personal preference, your preferred sleep positions, and your specific back or neck problem. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/choosing-best-mattress-lower-back-pain
  • Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles. Your core muscles (lower back and abdominal muscles) need to be strong and supple to support your spine and take pressure off your lower back. Unfortunately, for most of us our core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities; they need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. These exercises are simple and can be performed as part of a daily routine. Visit: www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/core-body-strength-exercises
  • Your shoes need to support your spine. Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. Also, consider using shoe orthotics or inserts if you need further balance or support. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/guidelines-buying-walking-shoes
  • Enjoy a massage. Did you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medication. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.
  • The discs in your lower spine are loaded 3 times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more. Get up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, try working at a standup desk for part of the day, or get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.

Reprinted: www.spine-health.com/blog/five-ways-keep-your-spine-healthy-and-happy

Josh Lego

Commander Joshua Lego has worked for Police for 21 years. During those years, he has worked a variety of assignments. He is currently assigned to the Special Operations Unit responsible for planning for protests and assemblies while coordinating with other agencies. He has a Masters Degree in Leadership and teaches throughout the U.S. and Canada as an expert in policing issues. He is 45 years old, married and has three children.

Josh’s current position can involve working nights, week-ends and very long days. This irregular schedule affected his diet and exercise plans. He was grabbing whatever was handy to eat when he had the time. Days as long as 14 hours left little energy for exercising. It was in his personal life though that stressful circumstances led to living a very unhealthy lifestyle. His younger brother died unexpectedly leaving a young child behind whom Josh and his wife came to adopt.

To cope with the stress in his life, Josh turned to alcohol and food. Admittedly, he was drinking too frequently and eating at the wrong times. One bad habit seemed to fuel the other. He ignored what was happening to him even when put on medication for high blood pressure. His weight climbed to 290 lbs.

Three years ago, he actually just woke up one morning and said “This is enough.” He quit drinking cold turkey. He knew he needed to plan though to be successful. His wife had followed the Slimgenics plan with success so he began to essentially follow that though substituting comparable foods he could find at Target for a less expensive option. He was determined to be intentional with when and what he ate. By quitting alcohol, he was much better able to manage his urge to eat that whole pizza at 11:00 pm as he may have before. When he knew that long 14 hour days were ahead, he brought a cooler with him to avoid having to grab whatever was there.

In addition to having the physical plan, he adjusted his thinking as well. He was not going to become discouraged. If he overate on the week-end, he would get back on track. He purposely did not set a weight loss goal but instead relied on the healthy choices he was making to create a healthier body. He paid attention as to how he felt to determine what was working for him. He didn’t compare himself to anyone else which he knows is important as everyone’s experience is different. Josh didn’t want a diet but a real lifestyle change which meant being content with a slow weight loss. At the end of one year, he had lost 60 lbs. His relationship with food has changed: instead of eating slice-after-slice of pizza, he is satisfied with a salad and a slice; he even has control over the M&M urges he gets. He has gotten back into exercising, doing cardio and strength training that he enjoys.

Josh is now off his blood pressure medication. He feels he does a much better job in his roles as parent, husband, and coach. He acknowledges there will always still be stress in his life but knows he is much more capable of managing it.

Tyler McKean

Tyler has worked for the Parks Department for almost five years. He is 33 years old and athletic competition is still a big part of his life.

Tyler participates in two different, perhaps not so well known, sports- Skijor and Ultimate Frisbee. Saying he “participates” is an understatement. In January, 2017, he competed in the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports (IFSS) World Championships, and this year is headed to the Ultimate Frisbee Master’s World Championships.

Tyler began playing the team sport of Ultimate Frisbee while in college. Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting, non-contact team sport played by thousands all over the world. It is a fast-paced game, demanding its players to develop razor sharp throwing skills and immense stamina and agility. It is fast, nonstop play. To remain competitive in this game, Tyler keeps a regular workout routine that involves explosive cutting with sprint workouts, weight training and other dynamic exercises. At his age, he says, his workout also includes core strengthening and muscle stabilizing exercises to help prevent injury. Many of the players he faces in competition are in their 20’s and despite that, his most successful seasons have been in the past couple years.

In the wintertime, Tyler focuses on Skijoring. Skijoring is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. The dog is outfitted with a dog sledding harness, which is attached by rope or towline to a harness worn by the skier. It’s a cooperative sport that employs the athletic ability of both dog and skier. The skier is not just along for the ride. The dog isn’t pulling like a sled, but rather adding marginal speed and getting the skier through terrain that would otherwise slow him/her down. The aerobic benefits of cross country skiing are huge, burning more calories than competitive swimming, biking and tennis.

In his late 20’s, Tyler began having knee problems which eventually led to a series of four surgeries. It was two to three years before he was back 100%. He had seen fellow athletes become injured which permanently derailed them on their whole fitness journey. However, Tyler’s love for these sports and commitment to being physically fit kept him from giving up. He enjoys the community these sports provide, the competition and the mental benefit from being out in nature. He has found activities he enjoys which happen to keep him in good shape. And, that could be the trick for all of us in sticking with a regular exercise routine.

Do you have questions for our featured employee? Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

High blood pressure: What it is, and what you can do about it

High blood pressure — also called hypertension — is a serious condition that can cause some serious risks to your overall health. In fact, high blood pressure is ominously called “the silent killer” because one in six people don’t even realize they have it. This is because it often has no obvious symptoms.

High blood pressure usually develops over time. Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision loss

Are you at risk?

It’s important to be aware of the risk factors of developing high blood pressure. Some of these include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not exercising

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, there are steps you can take to manage it and possibly improve it:

  • Eat a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts).
  • Be physically active.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.
  • Lower your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Take any medications your doctor prescribes for you (taking the steps listed above may make these medicines more effective).

Get healthy, stay healthy.

It’s important to keep track of your blood pressure. Have regular checkups with your doctor. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, write down your readings and share them with your doctor.

Take care of yourself. Manage your blood pressure for a healthier you.

The Benefits of Water and the 100 Ounce Challenge

What if there was a magic pill that could make your skin look clearer, ease your aching joints and muscle cramps, and help you lose weight? That’s enough to entice you, right? But it gets even better. What if the pill was free? Here’s the thing…this “magic pill” does exist, only it’s not actually a pill. It’s a liquid, it’s abundant, and it’s practically free. We’re talking about water and the benefits it provides is utterly amazing. Read some of the benefits of water below:

Aids in weight loss: Want to shed a few pound the easy way? Drink a glass of water before each meal. The H2O helps to fill you up so you don’t consume as many calories. You’re also not consuming the empty calories you would if you were drinking a soda instead.

Increases productivity & decreases fatigue Feeling the afternoon slump coming on? Grab a glass of water to give you the boost you need. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is feeling fatigued. Water can help with concentration and staying alert, too.

No more pain: Keeping your body hydrated can keep your joints and cartilage lubricated and give your muscles more elasticity which will relieve aching joints, muscle cramps, and strains. Water is also a natural headache remedy and it can even help people who suffer from back pain and migraines because these issues are commonly caused by dehydration.

Aids in digestion: Not feeling regular? Ample amounts of water help your colon, which in turn, keeps things moving smoothly.

The Benefits of Water and the 100 Ounce Challenge

We challenge you to drink 100 ounces of water each day for the next 30 days and see if you feel any different at the end of the month. It’s really not that difficult, we promise. Grab a refillable water container and keep it at your desk, drink it with your meals, have a glass first thing when you get up in the morning and before you know it you’ll have reached your 100 ounce goal. We encourage you to take a photo of yourself at the beginning of the month and then again at the end. Does your skin look different? Have the dark circles under your eyes gotten any lighter? Do you look healthier overall?

We want to hear about (and see) your results, so be sure to let us know how you did. Your body is going to thank you for accepting this challenge.
Reprinted from Northern Physical Therapy. Read the full article here: www.northernpts.com/2015/04/the-benefits-of-water-and-the-100-ounce-challenge/

Benny Williams

Benny Williams
Officer Williams started with the SPPD in 1994. During that time, his assignments have included working in Patrol, Mounted horse patrol, Inspections, Missing Persons, and just recently selected as driver for our new mayor.

Maintaining a high level of fitness has been a priority for Benny throughout his career. Police officers endure strenuous physical and emotional situations every day. Their ability to handle the rigors of running, lifting and occasionally dealing with force or self-defense is directly related to their level of fitness. Because of his dedication to fitness, at the age of 48, Benny was chosen as Saint Paul’s Most Fit Police Officer. He continued to train and ran his first marathon at age 53.

Now at age 57, he continues to exercise though he admits it doesn’t get easier and he has modified his routine. He and his wife hired a personal trainer to help keep them motivated. While he may run less, they regularly climb the 35 floors of their condo and weight train three times per week. For the past three years, he has signed up on the SPPD team for the IDS Stair Climb Challenge benefiting cystic fibrosis. In this 50 flight challenge, he is proud to say he has been faster than much younger officers. His quote is “I’m old but I’m not cold”.
What also motivates Benny is maintaining his health. He has high blood pressure and his mother recently died as a double amputee as a result of diabetes. He knows regular exercise will help reduce his risk for disease.

Over the years, Benny has worked at many of the City’s running events. He knows crowd support is helpful to the runners, so he cheers them on, offers “High 5s” and will even run a few yards with a struggler to keep him/her going. Many of the regular runners in these events have even come to look for Benny and his partner, Officer Mong Lee, to help keep them going.

Cassi Johnson

Cassi has worked for the City for one year with the Office of Financial Services (OFS) as a Senior Innovation Consultant. In her job, she supports leaders and teams in the City on projects that catalyze innovation, redefine City services and/or improve performance.

While in college, Cassie worked on a farm doing manual labor tasks. It was there that she suffered a serious back injury which resulted in acute back pain. She was treated with chiropractic and physical therapy for many years while battling chronic pain. It had been a challenge ever since that injury to determine what activities should be avoided that might cause a flare up.

For the past four years, however, she found help by using a different modality of treatment with the Institute for Athletic Medicine (IAM). The first difference she noted with IAM was all the diagnostics they did to really zero in on what treatment plan would be best for her rather than a generalized program for anyone. The No. 1 priority for IAM is to get the individual back to exercising which ultimately will help with fewer flare ups. Surprisingly to her, she found out that Yoga and Pilates were not something she should do which was a disappointment to her as she had always enjoyed that. What she found did work for her, however, was regular walking, running and lifting weights. She began working with a personal trainer who helped her get over her fear of lifting weights and will help her modify movements as needed. While it may sound counterintuitive to lift heavy weights, fewer repetitions are done which puts less stress on her joints than lighter weights and high repetitions. She stresses that this is what works for her and not necessarily others with back pain.

Cassie has two young children now and it is important to be active with them. She doesn’t lose time off work because of her injury. By sticking with her exercise program of weight lifting, walking/running, and staying aware of her movements, she has been able to reduce the likelihood of painful flare-ups. Even though she has gained strength she knows she still needs to be careful about performing certain movements. She recommends that others suffering from chronic back pain find a trusted professional with whom to work to personalize a program specific to their injury.

Eat This, Not That This Holiday Season

As you head out to your annual holiday parties, don’t be worried about how you’ll avoid the tables laden with sugary sweets, processed carbs and drinks galore. We’ve got a practical list of eat this … not that, for the holiday season. Some things may surprise you!

Pickle meat roll up vs cocktail weiners.
This won’t be too much of a hardship, because pickle meat roll ups are delicious! Plus, they are a perfectly balanced snack wrapped up in one. You’ve got your protein in the form of deli meat, fat in the form of the cream cheese and carb in the form of a pickle. This perfect combo will allow you to snack throughout the party and know you’re doing your blood sugar (and subsequently your mood, waistline and control over cravings) a huge favor. On the flipside, the all too common cocktail wieners are loaded with processed meat and then doused in sugary sauce, which will only serve to produce cravings for more sugar, more carbs and more processed food.

Full-fat eggnog vs. sugar-free and/or fat-free.
Classic, full-fat nog is a healthier choice because it contains good fat from cream that helps to stabilize blood sugar and gives the body a sense of fullness. The fat-free, sugar-free eggnog is full of chemicals and additives designed to taste like real nog without the calories. Low-fat nog sacrifices nutrition for calories making you believe it is a healthier version.
Olives and nuts vs. chips and dip. Did you know that just as if you grabbed a handful of cookies, a handful of chips also turns into sugar in your body? Believe it or not, just four chips turn into a teaspoon of sugar in your body. A teaspoon! Not to mention, who has just four chips once they start mindlessly snacking, as so often happens. On top of the sugar, chips are fried in bad fats that cause our brains to not work well and result in inflammation throughout the body that make a holiday party better.

A better alternative is a diverse mix of olives and a homemade batch of our Crispy Nuts. They are guaranteed to be a crowd favorite and you can deck out the nuts in whatever sweet or savory spices you think sounds good. Plus you’ll know you have a healthy fat to choose from, as both olives and nuts are a great source of fat, which helps keeps you satisfied and less likely to keep mindlessly eating.

Butter vs. margarine. While indulging in baking should be done in moderation (one or two of Grandma’s famous cookies would be fine, but not a couple cookies at every party you attend!) or not at all, we’d highly recommend choosing a baked good made with real butter versus processed margarine.
Real butter is a rich source of vitamin A and trace minerals, such as selenium and conjugated linoleic acid, which support immune function we all need during the holidays. Many times, margarine contains trans fats in the form of hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils that lower our immune function and create inflammation in our bodies. Plus, can we all agree butter just tastes better?!

Dark chocolate vs. holiday cookies. We suggest dark chocolate with 70-85 % cocoa. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. This holiday favorite is also loaded with antioxidants that help with anti-aging. Finally, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels that contribute to weight gain and overeating at the party … which cookies absolutely do. Additionally, holiday cookies are absolutely loaded with sugar, harmful fats and chemical food dyes.

Be empowered to make better choices this holiday and trust us, that as soon as you do, each healthy choice becomes easier and easier. Plus, when you bring a healthy food option you’ll know there is something healthy to choose from. And, though they might not be chatting about it, you are definitely not the only one trying to getting through the holidays without extra pounds and a sugar hangover!

By Jackie Cartier for Nutritional Weight and Wellness. https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/eat-not-holiday-season/


Adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D.

Makes 4 cups

4 cups of any of the following types of nuts:
Walnut halves and pieces, preferably fresh shelled
Raw peanuts, preferably skinless
Pine nuts
Almonds, preferably skinless but almonds with skins will work
Raw macadamia nuts
2 tsp. salt
Filtered water

Mix nuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.

Store in the refrigerator, as the fats in nuts can go rancid quickly.

Healthy St. Paul Runs TCM

This year, for the first time, Healthy Saint Paul sponsored a team in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon (TCM). The Corporate Team Challenge is designed to get employees of all ages and abilities moving.

By joining the City team, employees can enjoy extra perks and amenities on race day like use of a heated tent with a changing area at the finish line along with special food, massage, and door prizes. If you choose to pack a gym bag in advance with dry clothing, they will also make sure it is in the tent for you at the end of the race.
The creation of the City of Saint Paul team happened somewhat late in the game this year though we were able to sign up six team members. We know there are more City employees who ran this race and want to encourage you or other first time TCM runners to be part of this team in 2018. Regular, single registration rates apply but there is no cost to be part of the team. The City’s team came in 19 out of 29 using age-graded scoring – a good showing considering this our first year with few members. Recognition is also awarded to the top three teams with the greatest number of runners – we hope to have a shot at that award next year. Watch for more information on joining the City of Saint Paul TCM 2018 team in February when registration opens.

Team members included one who has run every TCM since its beginning to a first time marathoner. They came from various departments: Dave Gontarek, PED; John McCarthy, OFS; Amanda Feist, Library; Alice Messer, Parks; Bridget Morales, OFS; and Joe Ellickson, PW. Despite the differences in their marathon running experience, the team members’ personal experiences for this marathon were similar. First of all, they all said they had a great time, which was a primary goal. The TCM is known as the most beautiful marathon in the US, to which they all agreed. They all were so grateful and amazed at the support and encouragement the cheering crowd provided. Also, enjoying the benefit of the heated tent that is only available to corporate team members made a big difference. Joe compared that end of race experience to like being bumped up to first class on a long flight. Those on this year’s team who decide to run it next year will definitely join the City of Saint Paul team.

Below is more about each of the runners.

Dave Gontarek

Dave is by far the most experienced TCM runner, being 1 of only 22 runners who have run every TCM since its inception 36 years ago. Despite his extensive experience, he learns something new each time. This year he learned that even if no rain is forecast, he should bring a garbage bag to the starting line to use as a cover, just in case. As it turned out, it rained quite hard at the starting line and again at the end so he was soaked. He still had a fabulous time.
Dave admits he isn’t as driven to run as hard as he did in his earlier days. He is slower than when he was younger, but runs it for the enjoyment. His goal is just to run the whole race and not walk. He is okay with that. He likes to say that “without the back of the pack there can’t be a front of the pack.”
The benefit of the heated tent at the end of the race was great as he could warm up, change out of his wet clothes, and get food. He will be running next year’s marathon. Dave quoted a runner who said “In running, as in life, you can’t fail as long as you keep moving”. Anyone who intends to run it next year should spend some time talking with Dave about all he has learned over the years of running this beautiful marathon.

John Mccarthy

This was John’s fourth TCM and fifth marathon overall. John’s father was a marathon runner and got him into running at an early age. He lives along the course so most years participates in one of the sponsored events along with his wife. John really pushed it this year, and it turned out to be his best time yet, qualifying him for the Boston Marathon next year. While at the end he felt the consequences of pushing himself so hard, he learned from that and will not make the same mistakes next year. He thinks the TCM is the most well organized race he has done. He recognizes this happens as the result of a number of City employees from Police and Fire that work to keep it running smoothly and safely. The cheering crowd is also so motivating in helping to keep runners going.
As for being part of the Corporate team, he got to know a few people in the City he didn’t know before, and it was nice for the camaraderie. In the future, he sees joining the team as another way to network and connect with other City employees in a more social way.

Bridget Morales

This was Bridget’s second marathon and her best, despite the rain, wind and development of some foot issues during the race. She finds the crowd support so helpful. She saw several City workers and friends along the way who cheered her on. At the end, Bridget was most grateful for the warm tent as a place to comfortably sit down, warm up and get food and drinks like hot soup, sandwiches and Gatorade without having to walk much further. The changing tent and massage were also a big plus. Bridget advises anyone contemplating a marathon to start by finding and following one of the many training programs that are available online or join a running group. It is a lot of training to do but you will find that you can do so much more than you thought you could.

Amanda Feist

This year’s TCM was Amanda’s first marathon. She started running about 2 years ago after she bought a jogging stroller for her children. Before this year, she had only run a few 5Ks. Amanda knew other people who were going to be running the TCM this year so decided to sign up for it in April. She combined a couple training programs to keep her on track and help with her nutrition as well. Though she admits the weather was crummy, and she suffered an injury at Mile 15, she thought it was fun. Her training is what helped her power through her struggles to the end. Also, there was so much good energy from the crowd that helped keep her going. She is contemplating participating next year and sees the benefit of being part of the City team. She sees it as motivational as it provides a sense of running for something bigger than yourself. Training runs together would be great. It would also be nice to have time to get together with team members before the race. As a selling point also for running a marathon, she sees it as really good experience for anyone who has project management in their job responsibilities as you have to be committed to it. it is not something you can do on a whim.

Alice Messer

Alice’s first marathon was Grandma’s in 2004. That was before she had children so since then, she has been running one or two ½ marathons a year which involves less training time than a full marathon Alice takes advantage of her lunch break to run during the week, using Saturday mornings for her longer runs. She decided to run TCM this year after a friend asked her to join her. There were so many people out there cheering everyone on. While the weather was a bit cold at the end, she thought it was a great experience. She met her goals of having fun and not walking and beat her previous time. If she decides to do it again next year, she will definitely join the City team.

Joe Ellickson

Joe is an experienced marathon runner, having run six in the past along with other long distance races. By far, he thinks the TCM is the most beautiful of all. He reiterated what the other team members had said about the crowd being so encouraging along the way. For any runners out there contemplating a marathon, he highly recommends choosing this one. Joe was so thankful for getting to be part of the Saint Paul team which provided the use of the heated tent. It made so much difference to the end of this race experience compared to other races he has finished. He felt like he had been bumped up to first class on an airline seat. From entering the warm tent, he was greeted by the volunteers and given the opportunity to enter a drawing – in which he won a great prize. There was hot soup and coffee, sandwiches, and other treats. Because the heated tent is only provided to corporate team members, he didn’t have to wait long to get a massage and, best of all, no long lines at the toilets. He encourages any City employee who plans on running next year to become part of the City team.

12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
  3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  4. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Get insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not insured.
  8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
  13. Reprinted from the Center for Disease Control – Healthy Living