Healthy Heart, Happy Heart

A sedentary lifestyle, meaning a life full of lounging and laziness, can lead to serious health concerns later in life. Regular physical activity can help keep your heart healthy. It’s American Heart Month; why not make an intention for the month to take care of your heart muscle and keep it going strong?HeartHealth

Here are some tips for effectively exercising to get the most heart healthy benefits.

  • Warm-Up and Cool Down. Warming up will reduce the stress on your heart and other muscles and will help slowly increase your breathing and heart rate. A cool down where you slowly decrease exercise intensity can help the body recover.
  • Avoid overworking. Make sure to leave at least an hour after meals before you exercise to allow the body to fully digest. Also, remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after sweating.
  • Keep a routine. Getting into a routine of activity not only makes it more convenient to exercise but it also allows you to see your body change as it gets stronger. Gradually increase the exercise intensity of your routine to keep the heart working without getting bored.

Get Healthy and Happy Without Even Leaving Your House!

The excitement of winter is coming and though the smell of gingerbread and peppermint, a crackling fire and a mug of hot cocoa can make you warm and cozy, there is no denying that getting outside or trying to find motivation to move around and get active can be a struggle.

Here are 3 reasons why a quick at home workout can help you to get healthy and happy during the cold winter season!

  • Studies have shown that just 15 minutes of fitness at a time, or even as little as one hour per week can minimize your risk for depression or depressive like symptoms. Boosts in mood enhancing hormones after exercise can also promote short term elevated mood levels!
  • The digital age of exercise is upon us and there has never been a more opportune time to utilize technology to enhance your health. Fitness apps, YouTube clips and videos all can be a great way to fit in a guided work out right from your living room!
  • Stretching is a gentle and easy way to warm up the muscles when we may be lacking in energy to be super active. You can even stretch right from your couch or in front of the fireplace or television without even having to take off your pajamas!Winter



10 Minutes of Moving for Your Muscles

Physical activity for just 10 minutes can have benefits for the body! Try to incorporate these short duration activities into the day to get moving. There are many fun and new ways to be active for just a few minutes that can make exercising interesting and convenient. Walking

  • Walking is a great go-to exercise for short durations. Walking the dog, pushing a stroller, enjoying the leaves changing color in the fall or walking from school or to the bus stop are all really convenient ways to get moving.
  • Turn chores into exciting exercise. Helping out in the yard or garden, washing the car, cleaning the house, or doing the dishes can be great ways to be more active doing activities that are already a part of your lifestyle.
  • Stretching in your chair will pay off. Most of us sit for the majority of our days, whether we are in school or at work. Taking some time to stretch the muscles and increase blood flow throughout the body is a great method for moving where you already are.

Click here for more tips and tricks for increasing activity throughout the day!

Friday Fitness Flow!

As the summer vibes fade away, along with the heat and the fireflies, remember to incorporate strength and flexibility training into your regular fitness routine or just take a few minutes out of your day to move! These three easy postures help to increase joint mobility, muscle strength and raise your energy and confidence levels, giving you that extra boost you need as vacation time comes to its close.


Chest Opens

Healthy Living Ambassador Jy’Naiah


  • Warrior: Step the feet apart and keeping the back leg straight, angle back foot about 45 degrees away from you. The front toes should be facing forward, with the front leg bent so that the knee is directly over the ankle. Raise arms straight to shoulder height and parallel to the floor with the palms facing down.  Press with the feet into the mat and lengthen through the top of the head towards to sky.



Nutrition Assistant Michelle


  • Waterfall: Standing up with feet about two fists distance apart. Slowly begin to reach the arms straight above you reaching for the sky as high as you can. Begin to slowly and just slightly reach behind you, pulling the shoulder blades back and down towards the back of your ribcage. Keep the head in line with upper back and be sure not to tilt the neck too far back. Focus on a deep inhale and exhale as you release the arms back down.



Healthy Living Ambassador Jenna


  • Tree: Begin by standing up tall, and lifting the bottom of one foot to the inside of the other thigh. If more balance is needed, you may rest the foot with the toes on the ground, or place the foot on the inside of the calf. Lift the arms straight above you and keep the belly button tucked in towards the spine. Hold for 30 seconds, focusing on the breath and repeat with the other leg. 

These poses will take you just a few minutes to complete and the benefits will last you all day! 


The Perfect Picnic

Be a Picnic ProAugust is a great month to head to the park with a few friends and a basket full of fresh goodies. Here are some easy tips and tricks to crafting the best personal outdoor lunch lounge.

  • The venue. Bring a comfortable yet thin blanket to the park or beach incase there are no picnic tables. The thinness allows you to still feel and appreciate the natural earth beneath you but the comfort brings relaxation and a more chill atmosphere to your meal. Our Healthy Living Coordinator says bringing a tapestry with you can add a fun design to the atmosphere and is often a good size for groups because you want to make sure it’s large enough so everyone can fit and feel included! Pick a spot under a tree or umbrella if it’s a really sunny day and bring along a few items from a first aid kit for safety. A trash bag is a good idea to bring to stay environmentally friendly. basket
  • The snacks. Picnics are all about fresh finger foods and delicious snacks. Pack your treats in a basket or tote bag just before leaving so that temperature sensitive foods don’t spoil (2 hours is the magic time before food starts to go bad!). If you pack foods that aren’t going to spoil you can maintain your relaxed attitude by not having to worry about food safety. Remember to bring drinks to stay hydrated and refreshed. Don’t forget your essentials like napkins, plates and silverware. Here are some fun, healthy and safe picnic friendly foods: hard artisan cheeses and crackers, bread rolls, whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and dried meat like jerky, jams and jellies, peanut butter and recipes…yum.cucumbersandwiches
      • Tomato, Peach and Red Onion Salad (Serves 4)
        • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
        • 1 ripe peach, diced
        • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • juice from half a lemon
        • salt and pepper
        • Combine everything in a large jar or plastic container. Seal the container and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best made the day of.
      • Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 8)
        • 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
        • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
        • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 5 tablespoons honey
        • 2 cups water
        • Combine ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
      • Cucumber Sandwiches (Serves 2)
        • 9 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
        • 5 tablespoons sour cream
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
        • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
        • Lettuce Leaves, romaine or iceberg recommended
        • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced about 6 inches long
        • 2 thinned whole wheat bread slices
        • Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Spread over slices of bread. Lay lettuce leaf on top of spread.  Lay 3 to 4 cucumber slices onto lettuce. Sprinkle with dried dill. 
  • The entertainment. Plan a few fun outdoor friendly games for the day. Have some activities prepared that can be played in a group either lounging on the blanket or more active games to move around. Games like Heads up!, Apples to Apples or Uno can be fun for the whole family on the blanket or bring a book to relax and read. A volleyball or frisbee is an easy activity to toss around with a group by playing keep it up or just take a walk and enjoy the scenery. marbles.png

Market Mastery


A trip to your local Farmer’s Market in the Summer is a great way to involve the whole family in a fun and holistic healthy living activity! Delaware Farmer’s Markets sell inexpensive locally grown and in season produce as well as other market items like meats, eggs and cheeses from near by farms. As if the delicious local foods weren’t enough, many of the markets also have entertainment and activities that are fun for all ages. Music, crafts, recipe demos (shout out to UD Cooperative Extension), and there are even Kid’s Days. Click here for the Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide to find a market near you.

Delaware 4-H wants you to make the most of your market experience by following these three simple tips:

  • Know what’s in season.

When it comes to produce, looking for items that are in season will maximize the quality of the product and help minimize your cost.

Summer Seasonal Fruits

Sweet summer fruits are a great way to refresh and cool off after a hot day outside. The bright colors also make them fun to eat and to add to salads with summer vegetables.

Summer Vegetables

  • Show up early or late.

The market will be less crowded at these times. We recommend arriving at the very start of the market to ensure the best selection of items or arriving later in the market for the best prices. Check the Farmer’s Market Guide (link is above) for times.

  • Plan your recipes ahead of time.

Having recipes in mind when you head to the market will make it easier to select items. Here are some delicious in season chef-developed and kid approved summer recipes from the USDA:

Share your Farmer’s Market experience with us by posting to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #DE4HealthyLiving or #FarmDE




Staying Active – Healthy New Year!

Keeping a habit of physical activity is more than just a step towards maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise has been shown to have all sorts of beneficial effects on your health!

Children and adolescents under the age of 18 should get at least one hour of exercise every day to grow healthy and strong. There are three different types of activity that should make up your routine.

Aerobic Activity

7 ways you can help your kids learn how to run

Aerobic and cardiovascular activities are those that help strengthen your lungs and heart. Most of your 60 minutes per day should be spent doing activities of at least moderate aerobic intensity, and you should do some vigorous activity at least three days per week.

Moderate activity is something that you can do when talking, but not singing. This usually includes walking briskly or cycling slower than 10 miles per hour. When doing vigorous activity, you should be breathing heavy enough that it is difficult to say more than a few words at a time without pausing to breathe. These activities include running, swimming laps, or jumping rope.

Muscle Strengthening Activity

Make sure to do some activities that build muscle at least three days per week. These include activities like push ups, gymnastics, and climbing trees. Younger children don’t need very formal weight exercises, but as kids become adolescents, it can be helpful to start lifting weights.

Bone Strengthening Activity

At least three days a week, exercise should include bone-strengthening exercises. To figure out if an activity is bone-strengthening, check whether you need to bear weight or work against gravity when doing it. For example, running, dancing, and climbing trees are bone-strengthening exercises, but swimming and cycling are not.