AMES, Iowa — As most families understand, it can be difficult to keep up with our mental and physical health in a fast-moving world. This can be especially true during county and state fair season, when 4-H members can become stressed about the outcome of a project and fried Twinkies are only a food stand away.
However, fair visitors were reminded of how great it feels to think and live healthy during Healthy Living Day at the Iowa State Fair. The Healthy Living Day event, sponsored by the Iowa 4-H Healthy Living program, was held Aug. 10 at the 4-H Exhibits Building and open to anyone at the fair who was interested in learning more about how to have fun and be healthy.
“I love seeing how excited the youth and adult participants are to learn about incorporating new, healthy behaviors into their lives,” said Nicole Kling, 4-H Healthy Living intern. “It is also great helping with the bike blender and offering hummus samples. You can tell that making the hummus on the bike blender was the highlight of some of the participants’ day!”
During Healthy Living Day, fair visitors were able to take part in a number of activities, including two activities to try and beat their first heart rate, learning yoga and expressing current emotions using emotion wheels. The emotion wheels allowed participants the chance to focus on their own mental health, a large focus of this year’s healthy living events. They also made and taste tested hummus, with many saying it was delicious after first thinking they didn’t like it.
The event included an awards ceremony for the Healthy Living Club Challenge, and recognized 4-H clubs making top efforts in completing healthy habits during their meetings. Some of the habits clubs established included providing water, a fruit or vegetable, or playing a game using physical activity. An amazing 16 clubs from across the state tied for first place this year.
“Clubs started to catch on to these healthy changes, and now each month they strive for this ‘pilot’ to be the new normal,” said Laura Liechty, 4-H Healthy Living program specialist. “It has been exciting to see clubs excel in the challenge and to turn simple strategies into very impactful projects that can outreach into their community.”
Liechty suggests moving more, eating well and adopting other healthy behaviors can become something that people feel not just obligated to do but actually enjoy. By experimenting with different recipes, setting fun goals while exercising, and addressing emotions and feelings, everyone can enjoy living healthy.
For more information on 4-H Healthy Living Projects or on joining 4-H, contact an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa 4-H webpage at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.
Photo: Healthy Living Day activities included a session of partner yoga.