New Year's fitness: Extension classes to offer online health advice

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Olivia Jones, family and consumer science agent for Currituck County Cooperative Extension, suggests eating nutrient dense foods that offer "more bang for your buck" with less calories.


By Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor

Sunday, December 31, 2017

 Getting back into shape after the holiday just got a little easier for internet users.

Currituck County Cooperative Extension is offering two online programs in January, making it convenient for people to jump-start their New Year's resolutions to make healthier choices.

Olivia Jones, family and consumer science agent, said getting fit, losing weight and developing lean muscle is not usually achieved in the gym alone.

She suggests "making small tweaks in your diet" to help people achieve fitness goals.

The nutrition basics -- eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and select lean protein -- still apply, but even those food choices can have different results for different people, she said.

For example, exercisers can achieve bigger results by targeting specific nutrients needed to meet their goals, she noted. Runners and joggers can better boost their energy levels by eating more complex carbohydrates, like whole-grain breads with crunchy bits, she noted. Those foods digest more slowly to release longer-lasting energy, she said.

In contrast, exercisers seeking to build muscle may want to add more protein to their diet, Jones noted. She said the popular low carb, high protein diets may not be the best option for people who do not want to build muscle mass.

For those seeking to lose weight, she suggests eating nutrient dense foods that offer "more bang for your buck" with less calories. Brightly colored vegetables and fruits are among the good choices, she said.

Jones said everyone's metabolism is different, so finding the right balance usually takes a little trial and error.

Jones will be leading a 45-minute Lunch and Learn on Jan. 10 at noon at the Currituck County Center at 120 Community Way in Barco. Those who cannot be there can still catch "Eating for your Fitness Goals" online via YouTube Live. Those who subscribe to the Currituck CESHealthy YouTube channel will receive notification about the broadcast. Participants can also follow Currituck County N.C. Cooperative Extension on Facebook or @CurrituckCES on Twitter.

There is no cost for this program, but participants should register online at go.ncsu.edu/eatingforfitnessgoals18 or contact the office at 252-232-2261.

Starting Jan. 17, the N.C. Cooperative Extension office will offer its free online pilot program "Whole Body Boot Camp" that runs through Feb. 7. Each week, participants can view a short virtual class whenever they want. They will then be given a few small self-improvement homework assignments to complete during the week and join group chats.

Jones said she will be focusing on two new aspects of North Carolina Extension's Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less plan.

This year's online program will take a closer look at being mindful of the goals and motivations behind those seeking to lose pounds or become more fit. She also plans to emphasize the benefits of eating locally grown foods that are available at farmers' markets and offer tips on how to cook them.

Participants will receive a digital workbook that can be printed or downloaded to help guide them through activities over the four weeks. The four sessions included are: Getting to Know Yourself; Eating for the Seasons; Move Every Day; and Commit to Yourself.

Pre-registration is required by Jan. 12 at the web address/phone number listed above. Before the class, participants will receive an email containing all the class details including a free workbook.