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Winter health, road fitness

Fogle: ‘Get back on the horse’

PRINCETON — This year’s winter snow conditions, which seem to be never-ending, have brought challenges not only to Bureau County area drivers but also to the general fitness of area residents.

Benjamin Fogle, a health educator with the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department, said everyone is subject to the impact of the weather, but the snow days especially make it difficult at times for people to get around safely and to get the physical activity they need.

“It’s difficult to maintain a healthy balance during these times,” Fogle said using a healthy lifestyle and icy road analogy to stress his point. “The health department wants to remind people that real balance is an ongoing process. Envision maneuvering icy roads. At any one point you may be outside the lines or off the road a little, but you continuously make the course corrections required to stay on route to your destination.”

Both the Center for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend adults get 150 minutes or two and one-half hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week, Fogle said. For children and young people under the age of 18, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of physical activities per day.

However, the snow sends most everyone’s regular physical activities indoors, which is limiting for both adults and children. Children may find their healthy physical activities are often too large and rambunctious for the house, and they may become inactive at various times, even days at a time, he said.

His recommendation is to “get back on the horse” and take a walk, visit the gym, jump-start efforts and remember that every choice matters, Fogle said.

To go along with the need for increased physical activity during winter months, people have to remember that rest and relaxation are also important to include in a healthy lifestyle, Fogle said.

“Fitting it all in means we must make informed decisions on where to delegate the time we have. Doing this will offer us the most benefits with the least amount of sacrifices,” Fogle said. “Quick results are something we demand from our fast-paced lives, but remember, consistency and persistence will get you to your health and wellness goals.”

Bureau/Putnam County residents, as well as much of the rest of Illinois, continue to be given ample opportunities to fine tune their winter fitness skills as the area was hit with yet another snow/freezing rain storm early Monday morning.

As far as winter road challenges, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said his department has received numerous reports of vehicles in the ditch Monday morning due to the snow, freezing rain and poor visibility. With the most recent storm, as well as the previous ones this winter, the majority of accidents have been primarily minor with vehicles sliding into ditches, he said.

As far as traveling during these storms, his recommendation is for people to use their best judgment and drive very cautiously if they need to be on the roads. Also, drivers should not worry about following the characteristics of other drivers but to make their own decisions on what’s the best way for them to arrive safely at their destinations, he said.

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