Spring is finally here, with warmer weather, longer days, and soon, fresh produce. It's a great time to get active and eat better! Here are some suggestions for healthy "Spring Resolutions":
• Come to a Walk Carroll event. Walk Carroll is a free walking program sponsored by the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County. The program is open to anyone who lives, works or plays in Carroll County. Walk Carroll is for people of all ages and physical activity levels.
Walk Carroll holds free events all over the county, so walkers can explore new trails and parks, meet other walkers, and pick up free health information and giveaways. Walk Carroll also offers an online tool to log your miles.
For more information, go to http://www.healthycarroll.org/prevention-intervention/walk-carroll/.
• Join a Walk Carroll walking club. Do you need a walking buddy to get you moving? Walk Carroll has walking clubs that meet regularly in Westminster, New Windsor, Mount Airy, Finksburg, Taneytown, and the North Carroll area, and more are starting. Find walking club information at http://www.healthycarroll.org/prevention-intervention/walk-carroll/.
TownMall of Westminster is also open at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday for walkers, and is sponsoring Fitness Fridays on the first Friday of the month, with a walk for adults at 8:30 a.m. and a kid-friendly activity and walk at 10 a.m. with story time at 11 a.m. Visit http://www.townmallofwestminster.com/event/first-fitness-fridays/ for more details.
•Plant a garden. Growing vegetables and fruits is a great way to get both physical activity and healthy food to eat. New to gardening? Try a few pots or a small bed in a sunny spot. Read up on veggies you like to find out how to grow them best. Some plants are better started as seeds; some are easier to grow from plants.
For more information on what to grow in Maryland, check out the University of Maryland's Extension page on food gardening, https://extension.umd.edu/growit.
• Take the pledge. This year, Walk Carroll is expanding to include a fruit and veggie pledge. Commit to making half of your plate fruits and vegetables. It's an easy way to remember to eat healthy! For tips, go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
• Visit a local farmer's market. Carroll County has great, locally grown fruits and vegetables at farm markets all over the county. Many are on the weekends, but a few are during the week. Local produce is fresh, delicious and full of nutrients. Plus, you can talk to the farmers who grew the produce, ask how to cook it or how they grew it. Try a new veggie or two this summer.
Check out a list of local markets at http://www.healthycarroll.org/prevention-intervention/local-links-to-health-2/ under Carroll County Farmers Markets. Be sure to check the individual market website to make sure times and dates are correct.
• Go to the library. Carroll County Public Libraries have partnered with Walk Carroll to offer several Walk Carroll events. Branches also offer other physical activities, like yoga, and have great resources for health and fitness, like workout DVDs and healthy cookbooks. Check them out at library.carr.org.
• Visit a new park. Carroll County has many beautiful parks and trails! Choose one that you have never been to before, and plan a trip there. To find county parks and trails, visit https://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/recpark/ and choose "Places to Go" on the left. To find parks and trails maintained by cities in Carroll County, visit the city's website.
• Look for local events. Many Carroll County organizations sponsor free, healthy events throughout the year. Carroll Hospital Center has many free wellness events, such as "Ask the Dietitian", blood pressure screenings, and guided imagery. Find their calendar at: http://www.carrollhospitalcenter.org/wellness-calendars.
• Pick your food. Find a nearby farm with pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, and even flowers. A great way to get the freshest produce and some exercise if you don't have space for a big garden. Find local farms and tips for using fresh produce at http://www.pickyourown.org/.
•Link up! For more ways to get active locally, check out the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County's Local Links page, with links to county resources for healthy eating, physical activity and chronic disease management. Visit http://www.healthycarroll.org/prevention-intervention/local-links-to-health-2/.
Latest Carroll County Times Opinion
Maggie Kunz, of Caring Carroll, works for the Carroll County Health Department.