Moving Hearts and Feet
Yesterday I checked out this great video webinar called Good Food Rules: Nudging people towards healthier eating. In it, Dr. Mike Evans mentioned his four initial good health recommendations to patients:
1. Eat Well 2. Sleep Well 3. Get Out and Mingle 4. Walk Often
The piece of advice about mingling might be the most surprising for a physical health recommendation, but Dr. Evans found that isolation can be the biggest risk factor for poor health. As I approach one year of working at Manna Food Center, I’ve only recently noted something I did not anticipate about interacting with Manna’s visitors: the Mingle factor.
Families I encounter in our lobby have told me profound stories of comfortable lives and changing circumstances that brought them to Manna. Others, like an individual yesterday, live in their car. Often a simple “How are you?”, can prompt a whirlwind half-hour story of joy and loss, and I am grateful for these reminders that I do not go to a job where the purpose of my work is unclear.
Recently, I greeted a few clients sitting in the folding chairs we have for those with disabilities. I had to do a second-take and ask, “What did you say?” He repeated, “I said do you like football?” This simple question opened a jovial dialogue among the four men about sports, the changing scenery of Montgomery County, and nostalgic childhood Sundays. I didn’t expect that here at Manna—clients, together, waiting for food, and finding comfort in this small moment. The mingle piece; this simple interaction had this group of men smiling, laughing, remembering.
Nutrition Education is not telling people What To Eat. It’s educating the public about the ways to best help our bodies move, grow, heal, press on. That’s why it’s more than food, it’s also just getting out of wherever you are. Walking, mingling, talking, visiting.
Get moving at home: mow the lawn, care for the yard, play with the kids, walk around the block with a friend—or the whole family.
Get moving at work: replace your coffee break with a 10-minute walk, get off the bus one stop early and walk, skate, or bike.
Get moving and have fun: swim, dance to the radio, play basketball, walk the dog, bike, take a nature walk, jump in puddles with your kids, play soccer.