When we relocated to Austin, several things came into play. The biggest was the job, obviously. The Mister was offered his dream job, being a nurse and getting to hang out of helicopters everyday. We also considered a few other factors like; outdoor activities, access to amazing food and housing options. We love to spend time outside adventuring so the outdoor activities was actually a huge part. Being healthy is very important to us, not only for ourselves but also for the type of example we are setting for our son and other children around us.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Aetna Foundation to share their Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge with you. Earlier this year the Aetna Foundation surveyed over 2000 Americans to find out what their perception of health was. According to their results, most Americans believe they are in good health and said they have 5 “healthy” days a week. They also feel that where they live has A LOT to do with has a lot of influence on how they live.
Sadly the reality and the peception of health in our country are very different. Half of all adults – 117 million – had one or more chronic health conditions, and one in four adults had two or more chronic health conditions as of 2012 (CDC)! Since where we live has a lot to do with how we live, those surveyed were also asked about the communities they live in. More than half answered by grading their area with a C or lower! Now if it’s been a long time since I was in school, but a C or lower is NO GOOD! Several factors go into this grade; such as access to healthcare, overall cost of living, access to nutritious foods and crime and violence rates.
The Challenge, is a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties. They will be awarding 50 small to mid-size cities, counties and federally recognized tribes a total of $1.5 million for showing measurable changes in health and wellness. Wouldn’t to be amazing to be able to use those funds to make a BIG impact in your community?! Learn more about entering your city in the Healthiest Cities Challenge and more.
5 Ways to Increase Daily Wellness
- Incorporate 30 minutes of daily exercise: Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day can make a big difference and help you feel more energized. Try a new class at a local, go for a walk with a friend or your family.
- Drink more water and meal plan. Make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. You’ll be less likely to turn to the sugar option if you have healthy snacks on hand.
- Step away for small breaks. We all get busy and overwhelmed, but simple things like taking a few deep breathes, standing and stretching or even taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. Doing these throughout the day can even increase your productiveness!
- Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode. Create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible, including unplugging from electronics an hour or more before bed time. Your brain needs time to slow down and stimulation for your screen keeps it from doing this.
- Get involved. Staying connected to your friends and families is shown to improve health outcomes. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course. Being healthy with your family is the best, involve them in your challenge.