Sticking to Important Fitness Resolutions All Year Long is Easier with COLOR

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WeÂ?ve been looking to the big institutions -- government, employers, drug manufacturers, and healthcare providers -- to come up with either the big money or the big answers, when really much of our country's healthcare problems lie in the very small choices each of us will make every day of 2005 to either move in the direction of better health and fitness, or away from it.

This year, your New Year’s resolution should go beyond how you want to look, to include your long-term health, vitality, and disease prevention, say the publishers of an innovative new fitness journal. The healthcare troubles of 2004 – soaring costs, safety concerns and recalls of popular drugs, shrinking employer support of health insurance, and more people going without coverage – are all incentives to avoid the 80% of disease that is preventable if we improve our daily habits in the areas of physical activity, eating, stress management, smoking cessation and alcohol use. To help more people stick to their fitness and health resolutions all year long, a Minnesota mom and her LA based daughter have published an inexpensive, easy-to-use, but powerful new fitness tool that combines the proven technique of journaling with the fun of coloring. By coloring in positive fitness actions each day on the monthly calendar pages of the Streaming Colors™ Fitness Journal, adults and older teens of all fitness levels are rewarded for taking small steps to improve their fitness and health habits, and are reminded and motivated to do more when they see a lack of color. The mom/daughter team is working to bring Streaming Colors Fitness calendars to mainstream America in 2005 because they believe that small, gradual, but widespread improvements in Americans’ health and fitness lifestyles are our best hope to head off the looming health care crisis.

“We’ve been looking to the big institutions -- government, employers, drug manufacturers, and healthcare providers -- to come up with either the big money or the big answers, when really much of this problem lies in the very small choices each of us will make every day of 2005 to either move in the direction of better health and fitness, or away from it. A seemingly small decision to take the stairs, or to skip the french fries, when repeated day after day, across the population, can play a significant role in helping us avoid the lifestyle-related diseases that are so expensive to treat – like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers,” says Stillwater MN based Jennifer Luhrs, 54, who began using her calendar system in 1999 to fight stubborn middle-age weight gain. In 2004 she completed her first half marathon and sprint triathlon. “The key is to get into the habit of making healthy daily choices, and that’s what our calendars help people do.”

With the Streaming Colors fitness calendars, people pick a few things to improve each month, then color in the calendar’s boldly-outlined daily modules with each day’s positive actions. Red could mean an aerobic workout, yellow might celebrate a donut-free day, green could indicate a healthy breakfast with oatmeal, and blue could help track water intake.

“Most people start out the year with good intentions. Some fail because they set overly ambitious goals, but many just get distracted by the events of life or simply forget their resolutions. Our calendars help remind and reward people for taking even the smallest daily actions, until they become a natural part of a person’s lifestyle. It’s fun to color in your achievement in turning down a cookie, or in taking the stairs at work,” says Alexis Luhrs, 26, who uses her Streaming Colors calendar to train for local fun runs. “Be sure to choose activities you enjoy, both indoors and outdoors. Because the calendar is customizable, it’s perfect for tracking all your different routines as the seasons change or as you progress. It will help you keep up that positive New Year’s spirit to improve throughout the year.”

How big a difference in America’s health can those small steps make? Results published in the New England Journal of Medicine, from a large Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial, showed that lifestyle modifications such as low-fat eating and walking 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk of developing diabetes by an impressive 58 percent. Other research studies show that losing as little as ten pounds can lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol, to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke. In the year 2000, poor diet and physical inactivity were responsible for 400,000 deaths in the U.S., according to a CDC study, fast approaching tobacco use (435,000) as the leading cause of death in America. There are no simple medical cures for these lifestyle-related diseases, and that is why every American needs to be mindful of the small things they can do each day to move in the direction of better health and fitness.

The Streaming Colors Fitness Journal ($15.95) is available online at http://www.streamingcolors.com and at amazon.com. Ask for it through your employer, health care provider, fitness trainer and other retailers.

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