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Prepare for Adventure and Eat Right

May 5, 2023

Prepare for Adventure and Eat Right

The AFT provides staff with monthly health and wellness tips, and now they are sharing them with the Share My Lesson community too! May's issue offers guidance on how to get up and be active, on foods to avoid that trigger inflammation, and on what to include in your diet to reduce anxiety.


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Prepare for Adventure

Summer is coming and whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or just looking to burn some calories, physical activity can be exciting, entertaining and stress relieving. Unlike a walk in the park, outdoor adventures like hiking, paddling, climbing or sailing require energy, focus and preparation. The following tips are to help step out of your comfort zone and prepare for epic adventures all summer long.

Improve your physical stamina. Practice exercises with consistent workouts:

  • Indoor stair climbers can help build leg muscles.
  • Weightlifting can strengthen upper body.
  • Repetitions up and down a long flight of stairs can improve stamina.

Build confidence with mental preparation:

  • Mentally break up your workouts into smaller chunks.
  • Write down the things your body does well.
  • Listen to music to get your head in the game.
  • Tell yourself you’ll feel better when you work out.

Eat a balanced diet:

  • Watch portion sizes. Eating too much before exercise can leave you feeling sluggish. Eating too little, might not give you the energy you need to keep feeling strong.
  • Eat after exercise. Eat a meal that contains both carbohydrates and proteins to help muscles recover.

Stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after activity to keep muscles working and avoid fatigue, headache and even confusion.
  • A good test of dehydration is the color of your urine. If it’s pale and clear it means you’re well hydrated. The darker it is, the more fluid you need to drink.

Gear up:

  • Clothing should allow air to reach your skin so it can dry sweat.
  • A hat or cap can provide sun protection in the hotter months and keep you warm in the colder weather.
  • Shoes should protect your feet with cushioned soles, arch support and fit properly.

Adopt and maintain a positive attitude to believe in and enjoy yourself.

Then I realized that to be more alive, I had to be less afraid. So I did it. I lost my fear and gained my whole life.

Trigger Foods

Pain, stiffness, and swelling are symptoms of osteoarthritis. The condition can affect any joint in the body, but is most commonly noticed in the knees, hands, hips or spine. Some foods have anti-inflammatory capabilities which can help to reduce symptoms, while other foods may intensify them. A balanced, nutritious diet will give the body the tools it needs to reduce inflammation. Foods that contain antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, may help to prevent further damage to the joints. On the other hand, some foods contain substances that actively contribute to this inflammation. If you suffer from painful joints, and are seeking relief, it is best to avoid or restrict these inflammation worsening foods:

Sugar. The sugars that are added to sweetened beverages, including soda, sweet tea, flavored coffees, and some juice drinks can make arthritis inflammation worse.
Saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fat like fatty cuts of beef or poultry with skin can cause inflammation in the tissue.
Refined carbohydrates. White flour products, such as white bread, white pasta, white rice and crackers are refined grains that can cause a spike in blood glucose, which has been shown to increase inflammation.

Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer

Food to Overcome Anxiety

Chronic anxiety can leave one feeling trapped under its heavy weight. There are helpful techniques and practices such as deep breathing, grounding techniques, journaling and therapy to help beat anxiety. In
addition, there is also science showing that a change in nutrition can be a supplemental aid to recovery for people dealing with depression and anxiety. The connection between food and mental health is not entirely understood, but a few things that are known include:

Vitamins help the body boost serotonin, a mood regulating chemical that is essential to happiness.
  • Niacin rich foods along with other B vitamins found in dairy foods, eggs, fish, legumes, lean meats and fortified nuts and grains are sources of serotonin making niacin.
  • Vitamin B-6 increases serotonin levels and sources are seafood, such as tuna and salmon as well as poultry, chickpeas, liver, bananas, squash, rice, nuts, watermelon, and fortified grains.
  • Folic acid, also called folate or vitamin B-9 helps the body manufacture serotonin. Leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, beans, salmon, orange juice and avocado are best food sources.
  • Vitamin D can help boost serotonin. Dairy foods, and mushrooms are good food sources and sun exposure also raises vitamin D levels.
Too much sugar, even though lots of people turn to sugary sweets when anxious, can:
  • negatively affect your mood and are related to higher feelings of anxiety.
  • weaken ability to deal with stress by suppressing the area in the brain that controls stress response.
  • trigger imbalances in brain chemicals that lead to depression.

Simply seeing oneself as worthy of self-care and taking steps to better nutrition can be a start to raising spirits.

Recipe of the Month

Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

brussel sprouts

4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 lbs. brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved through the stem
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread the bacon in a large, ovenproof skillet or 9x13 inch baking dish. Roast 5 minutes. Stir bacon, and then add sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper (without stirring, so bacon stays on the bottom at first). Roast 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or until bacon is crisp and sprouts are tender and browned.
in spots. Add vinegar, stir to combine and roast another 2-3 minutes.

Your Humor Style

Humor is an important coping skill that can be a buffer from the negative effects of stress. They say that laughter is healing. Laughter can relieve tension, lower stress and help the mind and body in many ways. Humor has several styles and positive spirited humor can be beneficial for living happier and having healthier relationships. On the other side of the spectrum, humor can have a negative impact where it is used to alienate or as a put down.

Bring on the funny. Finding humor in a situation allows us to step back and see things more clearly. Telling jokes, funny stories and making people laugh puts others at ease and encourages relationships. The tendency to use humor in coping with stress is a self-enhancing strategy.

Sarcasm harms. Humor that is aggressive, used to ridicule or disparage others or even to make fun of oneself, at one’s own expense, can have a negative effect. This kind of humor always feels like “laughing at” rather than “laughing with.”

Healing humor. Humor has a healing way of putting things into perspective and lessening fears. When life feels overwhelming, it may be the time to have a laugh. Here are a few ways to laugh more:

  • Watch funny videos, movies, TV shows and stand-up comedians.
  • Notice pet’s playful and funny behaviors.
  • Listen to, tell jokes and share funny stories.

Laughter is an effective treatment that you can do for yourself. Let laughter help you forget about your troubles and help your body heal.

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The AFT was formed by teachers more than 100 years ago and is now a 1.7 million-member union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are... See More

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