Tips For Exercising in the Heat

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When it comes to exercise, one of my favorite things to do is to go on a walk or a run in the mornings before I have to leave for work. Usually, the weather is pretty nice that early in the day. But as we’ve gotten into the summer months, it seems no matter how early you get up, it’s always hot outside, which can put a little damper on your exercise goals and can put you at risk for overheating your body. So, here are a few tips on how to keep exercising, but also stay cool at the same time!

Try early morning in Arizona or when the sun is setting to try an avoid the heat of the day.

Before and During Your Workout:

  • Stay well-nourished and hydrated
  • Dress in loose, light clothing
  • Choose a workout time when the sun is either rising or setting

After Your Workout:

  • Stretch
  • Breathe
  • Take a cold shower
  • Re-fuel your body with a snack

Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean we have to give up entirely on getting out outdoor exercise in! Just take a few extra steps to make sure that you are able to stay comfortable and healthy as you burn those calories!

For more articles on exercise, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Composting is an Easy Way to Reduce Food Waste!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

On farm operations, composting becomes more and more valuable.

When you peel vegetables or cut up fruits, do you ever feel bad about all the peels and cuttings just going into the trash can? It can feel wasteful not to put them to another use. One way to keep your food scraps from ending up in the trash can is to compost them and use the compost for gardening!

Composting is the process where food scraps, leaves, and other organic materials decompose into the soil. The result is rich, nutrient-filled soil that helps plants to thrive. It is surprisingly simple to do and doesn’t require many supplies, as all you really do is create a pile and keep adding to it. Depending on the amount of space that you must dedicate to your compost, you can either just create a pile directly on the ground or use a bin to keep it more contained. Just make sure that wherever you put it has partial shade and plenty of drainage.

After you create your pile, all you must do to maintain it is to keep a balance of brown material such as leaves and twigs, and green materials such as fruit and veggie scraps. It’s also important to keep it moist and give it a stir regularly, about every 4-7 days!

Here are some ideas of good things to add to your compost:

  • Fruit and veggies scraps
  • Rotten fruits and veggies
  • Paper products
  • Eggshells
  • Leaves and grass
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

When it comes to using your compost, you can sprinkle it over your plants, mix it into the soil, or use it in place of mulch! My mom loves to garden and is a big proponent of composting and using it for her plants. It’s a cool process to watch scraps be used to grow fresh, delicious produce!

The University of Arizona Extension program in all our Arizona counties offers Master Gardener courses that include composting practices. Additionally, composting resources can be found on its websites.

For more articles on gardening, reducing food waste, and produce, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Exercise is an Effective Treatment for Mental Health Conditions

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We’ve long known that getting adequate exercise is vital to our overall health. But did you know that the benefits of lifting weights, running, stretching, and more go further than just improving our physique? It has been shown that exercise is an amazing treatment for mental health issues, possibly even the best option available.

physical exercise

Get physical to stay mentally healthy as well as physically healthy.  (photo credit:

Researchers looked at the results of almost 100 different studies that have been done previously on exercise and its impact on mental health. After comparing the findings of each individual study in this meta-analysis, researchers concluded that exercise is very effective, if not the most effective at treating mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Interestingly, specific exercises help with specific mental health conditions. For example, resistance training is great at treating depression, while more focused exercise such as yoga is better for anxiety.  They also found that shorter sessions of moderate to high-intensity exercise were most effective for the overall treatment of mental health issues rather than long and slow sessions.

So, grab a set of weights or throw on some running shoes and get moving! Not only will your physical health benefit from it, but also your mental health.

For more articles about exercise, check out the following from the Fill Your Plate blog!

  1. The Weekend Exercise Warrior: It’s Better than Nothing – Fill Your Plate Blog
  2. Cardio: The Best Exercise – Fill Your Plate Blog
  3. Fun Ways to Exercise This Summer (For All Ages!) – Fill Your Plate Blog
  4. Exercise and Alzheimer’s – Fill Your Plate Blog
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Beat the Post-Meal Slump with Some Movement

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We all know the feeling. You’ve just eaten lunch, are sitting back in your chair, and after a few minutes, you begin to feel incredibly tired. This is what is called the midday slump, and if we’re being honest, sometimes after this hits, it’s hard to feel motivated to continue on with your day’s tasks. But it turns out that getting a little activity in after a meal can actually help to counteract these feelings.

According to registered dietician L. J. Amaral, the reason that getting in some movement after a meal helps to keep you going strong is because the activity helps to balance your blood sugar. After we eat, especially if it is a meal that was comprised of a lot of carbs or sugars, our bloodstream is filled with glucose. To avoid this spike in your blood sugar, walking or getting in some kind of movement makes your body burn up some of that glucose, as it is what fuels our tissues, organs, and muscles.

To balance your blood sugar the most effectively, Amaral suggests getting in movement 30 minutes after eating, moving at a moderate aerobic pace, for a duration of anywhere from 30-120 minutes. While walking is the easiest form of activity, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and bike riding, among others are also good options for movement.

So, try getting some exercise after your next meal and see if it can help you beat that post-meal slump!

For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Artificial Sweetener Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Attacks and Stroke

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Sugar-free candy, sugar-free soda, sugar-free energy drinks, you name it. There are so many sugar-free food and drink options available to consumers! How is it possible for these products can taste so sweet yet have no sugar and little to no calories? It all comes down to artificial sugars and sugar alcohols, such as stevia, sucralose, monk fruit, erythritol, and more. While these artificial sugars do allow us to enjoy something sweet without the guilt of consuming a bunch of empty calories, there are a few potential drawbacks to using these sweeteners, specifically erythritol.

According to a recent study, consuming high quantities of erythritol was linked to an increased risk of blood clotting, heart attacks, and stroke. For those who were already at a higher risk for heart disease or diabetes, the chances of them having a heart attack or stroke doubled after consuming large amounts of erythritol. Researchers say that the reason for this increased risk of heart issues is that erythritol causes blood platelets to clot more readily, and these clots can travel to the heart or brain causing either a heart attack or a stroke.

On the flip side, however, other studies have been done that claim that erythritol is a safe sugar alternative to use. Since other studies have shown it to be safe, the study’s lead author, Dr. Stanley Hazen notes that this study only shows a correlation but still advises those who are already at a high risk of heart issues or diabetes to avoid or significantly limit their intake of erythritol out of caution.

With that being said, choose your sweeteners wisely! For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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