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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Health


Be active, be happy!

Janet Hackert, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Harrison County, University of Missouri Extension


In The How of Happiness, author Sonja Lyubomirsky says that research shows 40 percent of what determines happiness is intentional activity. She talks about actions that boost happiness in the short term, but that result in a lower mood soon after. An example of this might be indulging in high-calorie foods, then feeling guilty and regretting the decision later.


Set reasonable goals for yourself for the future and find fun ways to achieve those goals. If your goal is to eat healthier, you could challenge your family or others to find the tastiest, most nutritious recipes.


Lyubomirsky suggests taking care of the body as one of the 12 researched strategies to increase happiness. Improved mood is one of the many benefits of physical activity. Being physically active could mean going to a fitness center every morning to work out or walking around the long circle drive each day. If a person is starting out as sedentary, that is, spending most of the day sitting, any movement is a good thing (e.g., parking the car farther away, shopping in a store instead of online or anything else that adds movement). As Dr. Steve Ball, MU Extension nutrition and human physiology specialist says, “Some is better than none; more is better than some; and too much is hard to get.”


Make healthy choices and enjoy the benefits of how you feel in the future. For more ideas on practical ways to increase physical activity or eat healthy, contact your local University of Missouri Extension office or call Janet Hackert at (660) 425-6434.


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Last update: Monday, May 07, 2012