What is the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge?
- A Partnership between the Aetna Foundation, American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties.
- Support communities in their collaborative efforts to become healthier places to live, work, learn, play and pray;
- Recognize cities, counties and tribes that achieve a measurable impact in efforts to make communities a healthier place to live;
- Identify models of effective collaboration that can be sustained and replicated throughout the U.S.
- Rewarding over 1.5 million dollars to cities and counties that show results with their programs!
- Applications are being accepted until May 31st!
Why do we need a challenge like this?
During our phone call Lynn Ostrowski the Executive Director of the Aetna Foundation shared these 5 Tips to Help You & Your Family Increase Daily Wellness and I made some notes of things I needed to change, what of these 5 things could you change in your family?
5 Tips to Increase Daily Wellness
1. Incorporate 30 minutes of daily exercise.
You know I love food around here and one of my goals in 2016 is to loose the baby weight, establish healthy eating habits and develop an exercise routine that brings results. I turn 30 in August and I want to be the healthiest I can be for that milestone. 🙂 A few things I have been doing to help with healthy eating is all about preparation. If I have healthy snacks/lunches/breakfasts ready I will not reach for the random crap or just go without eating. This week I made mason jar salads to be ready for lunch, cheese, fruit & nut cups and homemade lara bars for snacking, get my recipe for LaraBars HERE. I also made some overnight oatmeal with chia seeds for breakfast which was delicious and filling. My body, especially when breastfeeding needs snacks and if I don’t have something on hand I’ll totally be digging in the candy stash.
Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breathes, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. I find that children are built in micro-breaks 😉 I rarely get a task finished at one time.
Lynn suggested to try to 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. I am SO guilty of not doing this, I get in to bed every night after being on my computer only to pull out my phone and scroll through facebook or instagram before I nod off. Last night I read instead and it was like a magnet was pulling my hand to my phone, I did resist the urge but I can tell this is going to be a hard habit to break!
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. I’ve learned that having a buddy with you in any type of health goal is a win-win situation. I ran a half marathon several years ago and there is no way I would have been able to make it through the training for it without my running partner.
What can you do with the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge?
Are you a part of an organization that is interested in improving the health of your community such as a health coalition, school department, mayor’s office, or local health department? The challenge is looking to have 50 cities in the final round, and all finalist cities will receive a $10,000 seed award to help them implement their project. Just head over to http://www.healthiestcities.org/ and find out about how to apply. The application is due by May 31st!