Take advantage of local options to stay healthy

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018

According to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2014 Pearl River County’s life expectancy was 74.9 years – more than four years below the national average. To assist in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, there are several local options available.

In Picayune, Crosby Commons on Goodyear Boulevard provides local citizens with a 1/3 mile walking track. The track is paved, and speakers installed along the path provide walkers with upbeat music.

According to an article by the National Institute of Health, walking regularly not only lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, it also elevates a person’s mood. For those just beginning a more active lifestyle, the National Institute of Health recommends starting with walking since it is easy, can be done anywhere, does not require expensive equipment and has a lower risk of injury. Adults should receive 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity a week to stay healthy.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, will help you meet the goal of 150 minutes per week. If you can’t walk for 30 minutes at a time, try breaking your activity into three 10-minute walks instead,” the article states.

Another way to stay healthy is to take advantage of local farmers markets. A farmers market in Picayune opened Saturday. While the bad weather led to a small turnout, hopes are high that next week’s market will take place in the sun. Poplarville’s farmers market will also open soon, although the date has not been announced.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables provides a plethora of positive health benefits.

An article by the Harvard School of Public Health states, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”

Buying fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables – such as those provided by local farmers – adds even more health benefits. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture states via its website that locally grown produce eliminates the need for long-distance shipping, extended storage periods and other potentially negative aspects.

In addition to the health benefits of buying fresh produce, purchasing ingredients from farmers markets supports local farmers.

Another way Pearl River County citizens can improve their health is by planting a garden at home or by participating in a community garden.

According to an article by Preventative Health Reports, gardening has been shown to have multiple health benefits, including physical exercise, social interaction and better access to fruits and vegetables.

On an international scale, studies about gardening showed, “a wide-range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety and body mass index, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life and sense of community,” the article states.