Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, May 3, 2019

May is National Fitness and Sports Month

Physical activity is important to maintain proper health as it can produce multiple long-term benefits. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults participate in 150 - 300 minutes of moderate or 75 – 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. Adults should also perform muscle strengthening activities two or more days per week. You can be active by working out, running, playing your favorite sport, or even just by walking your dog! If necessary, ask your healthcare provider what activities are right for you and your medical condition. Any amount of activity that you are physically able to do is beneficial!
Some benefits of physical activity include:

  • Decreases risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Increases muscle, bone, and joint development
  • Improves strength and endurance
  • Allows for weight management
  • Relieves stress
  • Increases energy, self-esteem, and mental health
  • Reduces blood pressure and increases insulin sensitivity
  • Decreases the risk of falls and improves cognitive functioning in older adults
If you have limitations that prevent you from exercising, consider some of the following activities: adding a walk into your day, trying water aerobics to reduce the risk of joint discomfort, participating in flexibility exercises such as daily stretching or yoga, or even doing modified workouts depending on your condition or disability. Do not become discouraged based on your possible limitations, everyone has to start somewhere! Start by increasing your physical activity today, no matter how small the change!
While being active, proper hydration is important to replace the fluid that you have lost while participating in physical activity. It can be easy to dehydrate as it can happen in any physical activity scenario. Athletes are often prompted to begin physical activity well hydrated to minimize dehydration during their activity. Dehydration can harm exercise performance. If you’re engaged in moderate- to high-intensity exercise that lasts an hour or longer, a sports drink may be more appropriate than water to replace the electrolytes lost, and to also provide carbohydrates to slow down the usage of your body’s glucose stores. Some research has also shown that consuming sports drinks during long periods of activity can reduce fatigue and improve performance.
Instead of going out to buy a sports drink for your next bout of activity, why not make your own? Renowned sports and exercise dietitian, Nancy Clark, has created a simple sports drink recipe that you could make at home with very few ingredients. So instead of stocking up on a case of sports drinks on your next grocery trip, grab some of your favorite juices to make her recipe listed below!
Also, check out for more great information and recipes from Nancy Clark
Homemade Sports Drink
Recipe: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook: 3rd Edition, Nancy Clark, MS, RD

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup orange juice (not concentrate) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 ½ cups cold water


  1. In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.
  2. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.
  3. Quench your thirst!
(Additional tips: This recipe can be made without the lemon juice; however, the flavor will be weaker. Don’t like orange juice? Use the same amount of different fruit juice(s) when creating your own sports drink!)
Nutrition Information: (Makes 4 servings)
Calories: 50
Carbohydrates: 12g
Sodium: 110mg
Contributed by: Devin Miller, Be Well Solutions Dietetic Intern

Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day Facts and Tips

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. It is currently estimated that 1 billion people take part in Earth Day activities.

Tips to Remember
• Eat local food and shop from farmers markets when possible. The food does not travel near as far from farm to market so it helps to reduce extra environmental impacts.
• Always remember to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost when able to! Little changes such as using your own reusable water bottle instead of disposable plastic bottles can prevent 217 bottles from going to the landfill every year!
• Composting naturally improves the quality of your soil by adding nutrients to the ground without the need for chemical fertilizers which can also reduce your carbon footprint by not sending that waste to the landfill!

Are you guilty of food waste? You’re not alone! It is estimated that 25% of the food that we buy is wasted in our own kitchens. Food waste is a growing problem that can be avoided by being more mindful of the food that we buy and prepare. Some helpful tips are shopping on a full stomach, making a shopping list, and shopping more frequently. All three of these tips prevent impulse food buying. Impulse food buying can lead to food waste as that food item might appeal to you more in the store. This then can result in you not eating it at home, allowing time for the food to go bad, and ultimately being thrown out for then being spoiled.

This can also be the case with food leftovers that might occasionally get pushed to the back of your refrigerator. Leftovers that are forgotten about will spoil and can go unnoticed until its time to clean your refrigerator, which can result in an unpleasant experience. If you are not a person who likes to eat leftovers, cook smaller portions to avoid leftover meals. It will ultimately allow you to save money and prevent food waste which will decrease your carbon footprint. For more information on food waste and how you can help prevent it, please visit: For more information on how you can help the environment in other ways such as recycling and advocating for a greener future in your community, please visit:

In the theme of Earth Day, try this quick, green snack! Kale is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and can even be made into healthy chips. Are you feeling adventurous with making a new recipe but just want to make something simple? Then grab some of your favorite spices and whip up some kale chips!

Kale Chips
Recipe: From Junk Food to Joy Food: by Joy Bauer M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N.

• 1 Large Bunch of Kale
• ½ teaspoon of kosher or coarse sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two large baking sheets with nonstick oil spray.
2. Trim the stem ends off of the kale, and cut and tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces. Divide the kale pieces between the two baking sheets and spread them into a single, even layer. Liberally mist the kale with nonstick oil spray and lightly sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the kale is crispy to the touch and the edges are beginning to brown.
(Add seasonings such as cayenne pepper, cumin, or garlic if you want to spice these chips up!)

Nutrition Information: (Makes 4 servings)

Calories: 35                         Carbohydrates: 5.5g
Fiber: 2.5g                           Sugars: 0g
Total Fat: 0.5g                     Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg                 Protein: 2g
Sodium: 165mg

Contributed by Devin Miller, B.S., Be Well Solutions Dietetic Intern at WMHS

Thursday, January 31, 2019

New Year – New You!

At the beginning of each New Year, we see opportunity to press the “reset” button to make healthier changes, lose weight, and exercise often. As we approach the end of January, how many of us have already found ourselves off track? It may seem unrealistic at this point and you may be missing those old familiar late night snacks. When the tiredness sets in and our bodies become overwhelmed with making new, sudden changes, maybe it becomes most ideal to set realistic goals to progress into a healthier lifestyle.

Food and nutrition is heavily relevant in day-to-day life. An initial step to healthiness can start with being more mindful about food choices. Start by planning your first meal of the day; breakfast. Make it hearty and fulfilling to reduce late morning snacking and hunger. For example, oatmeal is a quick and easy fix that can be topped with peanut butter, fruit, and fiber-rich flax or chia seeds. In one meal you have incorporated whole grains, healthy fats, antioxidants, and a sustaining heart healthy choice.

When the clock strikes noon sometimes we feel the work day to be overwhelming, leaving us with no personal time during the day. Plan lunches and pack your own meals a few times a week to reduce the likelihood of reaching for unhealthy snacks at your desk or going through a fast food drive-thru. Not only will you recognize what you are eating when you make it yourself, you will also save money by not going out to eat several times a week.

It is fact that not many people want to end a day cooking a full course meal after a long day. Focus on providing a protein, vegetable, and a carbohydrate for dinner time. Cooking in abundance to meal prep will save time on busy days while staying true to a healthy diet. Cook a large chicken breast and shred some for the following days, steam vegetables and seal them in a container for freshness, pop  quick-cooking rice or pasta in the microwave for a fast carbohydrate serving.
 In addition to meal planning and mindful eating, physical activity helps us reach our health goals by keeping our bodies moving, and increasing energy and alertness throughout the day. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly. Get outside and take a walk, park your car extra far from the store, do sit-ups and push-ups during commercial breaks of your favorite show. Listen to your body and give it rest when needed to refrain from burning yourself out completely and losing sight of your goals in the bigger picture.

It’s 2019 – a year to recognize mindful eating and the long-term benefits associated with it. Plan meals ahead of time, don’t eliminate your favorite foods and eat them in moderation, exercise often, stay hydrated, and most importantly, listen to your body. The results of a long-term healthy lifestyle will be more rewarding than any quick-fix diet.

For information about WMHS Nutrition and Health Programs, visit our website here:  For more information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN. LDN, Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.
Contributed by Morgan Roberts, B.S., Aramark Dietetic Intern at Western Maryland Health System.