Do You Dare To Breathe Clean Air?

Supported by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Month educates people about the impact clean air can have on their lives.

This observance also encourages people to take positive steps to help improve air quality. Clean air, is air which has a natural balance of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Clean air does not contain pollutants or allergens. Clean air does not harm the environment, nor is it a cause or trigger of health problems.


Poor quality air can harm the environment and can affect us all. Toxic air pollution is linked to serious conditions such as cancer and chronic bronchitis. Air pollution can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma. Air pollution can also harm the environment. The burning of fossil fuels (often for transport or electricity generation) releases high levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. These gases react with other gases and water to create rain which is acidic. Acid rain raises the acid levels of water and disrupts the natural balance of life in lakes and rivers; acid rain can also damage plants and trees.

We can all make positive steps to improve the quality of our air. Ways we can improve air quality are often based around reducing our use of electricity and using transportation more efficiently. We can also support legislation which improves air quality.

Article adapted from


5K Training Tips: Exercise Safety Tips for Walkers and Runners

The warmth of spring and summer envelops us. We are outdoors more and it’s important to review some safety tips for outdoor running/walking.  


Don’t Over Dress:

In week 5 we learned that when we dress for outdoor activities like running, it will feel 20 degrees warmer than the temperature on the thermometer.  By May and June in this part of the country (DE,PA,NJ,MD), you will be happiest in running shorts or tights and a coolmax tee shirt.  Pack extra clothes for the finish as you may wish to change.

Staying Hydrated:

The recommended amount of water to consume each day is 8-11, 8 oz glasses. If you have started an exercise program you will be sweating more and you will need to drink more water.  There are many devices on the market to carry water on a training walk or run, or you can do small loops and keep your water bottle safely tucked away for your pit stops along your loop.   Always take extra water for yourself or friends. During a 5K event, especially in the summer, there will be at least one water station.  Most people will stop for a some water at the 1 or 1.5 mile mark.  You won’t lose much time, and it’s a chance to reset your body and make sure you are hydrated to safely complete the race. It’s even okay to use some of that water to cool down, so feel free to pour it over your head or neck as this is commonly done during a racing event.   

Time of day to run is super important in the summer.  You will want to avoid peak daylight (10:00 am -2:00 pm).  Most seasoned runners will run outside at dusk or dawn to minimize the impact of the heat.  Heat stroke is a serious medical event and is avoidable with common sense and proper hydration.   

Skin and Eye Protection:

No matter what time of day you go out, make sure to use sunscreen designed for sport activities, and wear and a hat or visor.  

Sunglasses are important too.  According to the Vision Council, eyes are susceptible to UV ray exposure and should be protected during outdoor sports such as running.  Read more at

What side of the street should you run on?

Distracted driving is truly a problem.  When possible, run places where cars cannot go such as state or county parks, tracks, trails etc!  If you must run on the road, run facing oncoming traffic so you can watch for the distracted drivers, and run single file if you are with a friend.  

I hear thunder what should I do?

It’s okay and even fun to run in the rain, but if you hear thunder or see lightning, head back home and complete your outdoor workout another day, or indoor on a treadmill.  If you get caught in a thunderstorm, seek shelter, and/or don’t be the tallest object. If you carry a phone, check for weather information before heading out.

That’s all the safety tips for now.  Next week we’ll talk about what you need to know for race day!  We still have another week before we begin to taper.

For those of your in 5K running preparation, for week 11 of 12, increase your training this week by increasing your running time each of the 3 days.  Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk. This week, see if you can run for 30 minutes without stopping! End with 5 minutes of relaxed walking to cool down walk.  Stretch (see week 4 blog) Total 35-40 minutes.


Can’t wait to see you in Dover for our Colonial 5K Walk/Run.  Register today! Deadline to register is May 28, 2018.

Mental Health Month: Practicing Wellness #4Mind4Body

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally –it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to healing.


This May is Mental Health Month; Delaware 4-H Healthy Living is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. Eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around. A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role in helping people recover from these conditions.

Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and help you live longer and healthier. Recent research is also connecting your nutrition and gut health with your mental health. Sleep also plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. And we all know that stress can have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities like mindfulness meditation or yoga.

DE 4-H Healthy Living wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body.

For more information, visit

5K Training Tips: Future Goals Moving Forward: Building Strength

How are you doing fitness friends?  Are you feeling confident you are ready for your 5K walk or run?  If you have been getting 2-3 workouts each week, you are likely physically ready.  As the Nike expression says “Just Do It”! If you have not been consistent, don’t let that stop you. Just adjust your time goal, participate in the camaraderie of the race, collect your tee shirt and bling, and continue with us.  You may be a couple minutes slower that planned, but you’ve got this!

It’s not too early to start thinking about how you will continue to improve post race. While we have been working on increasing our time running vs walking, or walking faster than in the past, it’s never too early to improve other aspects of fitness.  Building upper and lower body strength through strength exercises will also benefit your running, balance, and overall fitness. Below are some no equipment required exercises to get you started.  You should do these on the alternate days from your running/walking.


Upper Body/Core

  • Push ups
  • Crunches
  • Plank

Lower Body

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Calf Raises

Visit our Grab-n-Go page for explanations of these activities.  

Here’s a helpful video from WebMD for a 5 Minute Lunge and Squat workout.  I would skip the pivot squat (2nd activity) and replace with calf raises (go up on your toes for 5 second sets and then back down, work your way up to longer holds for the one minute during this video) then rejoin the last 3 activities of the video.

Another excellent way to build strength, flexibility and balance is through yoga!  There are lots of great videos and online demonstrations, or take a class at a fitness center near your home or office.  You will find yourself relaxed and rejuvenated post yoga workout!

For those of your in 5K running preparation, for week 10 of 12, increase your training this week by increasing your running time each of the 3 days.   Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk. This week, see if you can run for 25 minutes without stopping! End with 5 minutes of relaxed walking to cool down walk.  Stretch (see week 4 blog) Total 35-40 minutes.

Can’t wait to see you in Dover for our Colonial 5K Walk/Run.  Here’s the registration on the DE 4-H website. Sign up today!

Be a Fit Fam!

Families can be more physically active by emphasizing a variety of activities and ways to stay motivated to be active together. Physical activity is a learned behavior, and parent’s can model this behavior for the child to observe. Healthy habits towards fitness built in childhood can extend into adulthood and positively impact their health throughout the entire lifespan. 

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SHAPE America recommends these fun ways to be a fit fam:

  • Biking
  • Golf
  • Group exercise classes
  • Rock climbing
  • Yoga

Research shows that youth are more likely to be active when friends and family are involved and social support is proven to be beneficial for health outcomes. Try a family outing to spend time together and encourage the behaviors to become habits. For more tips check out this article by

5K Training Tips: Be Healthy and Raise Funds for DE 4-H!

Participate in the Dover Mile and Colonial 5K on Tuesday June 5, 2018 at 6:00 PM (Arrive at Governors Café, 144 Kings Highway, Dover, DE by 5:15)


Participants need to fill out the registration form, available in each county newsletter or off the Delaware 4-H website, for each participant and return with a check made payable to Dover Colonial and returned to  Karen Johnston or your 4-H County agent by May 28, 2018.

If we have more than 10 participants for DE 4-H we will receive 80% of the registration fee back to DE 4-H!

Prices are listed under the registration section; there are lots of options including family and student rates. For questions call Karen Johnston, DE 4-H Dover Colonial Group Coordinator at 302 218 1186, 461 Wyoming Rd, Newark, DE 19716


For those of your working on your 5K preparation, for week 9 of 12, increase your training this week by increasing your running time each of the 3 days.   Warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk.  This week, see if you can run for 20 minutes without stopping!  Alternate your jogging with 60 seconds of walking. End with 5 minutes of relaxed walking to cool down walk.  Stretch (see week 4 blog) Total 35-40 minutes. 

Fill out your form, write the check,  and commit to participating on Tuesday June 5, 2018! See you soon!

Holistic Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

This year is the 30th anniversary of the National High Blood Pressure Education program, one of the most successful public health education programs in the entire world. May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month so here are some holistic and natural tips to lower blood pressure! 

  • Breathe! Conscious deep breathing brings the body into relaxation mode. Try breath counting for a simple mental focus exercise. If you are a beginner to conscious breathing, start by sitting upright and counting three full deep breaths saying the number in your mind on each exhale. With practice, start to gradually increase the number of breaths you count to until you reach ten. Then start to consistently practice ten breaths for a few weeks and then build up to 20 breaths and so on depending on how much time you choose to dedicate to the practice.
  • Spice it up! Adding herbs and spices to your food may actually help to lower blood pressure. Some popular herbs to try that can have health benefits are basil, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon! Try adding basil and garlic to whole grain pasta, or ginger to some tea! Cinnamon is great on oatmeal or on toast with some light butter. 
  • Stretch! Try gently stretching tight or stiff muscles early in the morning and then stretch overworked and tired muscles during and after the day. Stretching helps to relieve tension in the body, increase strength and flexibility and boost mood which can help to lower blood pressure. Pay special attention to the neck and shoulders, and hands and feet that we use so much through the day.

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Try out all three of these tips this month to take simple steps to strong blood health.