BY LYNN EDMONDS
These aren’t New Years’ resolutions. These are New Years suggestions. They’re designed to give you a few, Queens-specific ideas for things you can do to boost your chances of having a healthy 2016 – and beyond!
1. Go for a walk. We get vitamin D from the sun. But the cold weather, which incentivizes us to stay indoors, combined with short days and a weak winter sun, can put Queens’ residents at risk of a deficiency from November to March. Taking a walk outside when the sun is at its peak can help the body to get the essential vitamin, which contributes to bone strength, and is necessary to guard against colon and breast cancer, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis. Sunlight also boosts mood and energy, and helps protect against Seasonal Affective Disorder, or winter blues. Getting outside in the morning is a good way to wake you up and regulate your sleep cycle, too. A twenty-minute walk sometime before noon could be a refreshing addition to a winter day. Walking in nature has added benefits in improving mood, studies show, so consider tackling one of the following trails on a day when you have a little more time: A loop around Astoria Park (about 1 mile); A loop around Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (2.34 miles); A loop around Ridgewood Reservoir in Forest Park (1.2 miles); A loop around Kissena Park fitness path (half a mile). These are just a few of the routes you can take. Other parks to explore include The Queens Botanical Garden, Cunningham Park, Alley Pond Park and Crocheron Park.
2. Take a (free) workout class. Amazingly, there are over 60 free workout classes every week in the borough of Queens alone. Anybody can take advantage of these sessions, offered through the NYC Park’s Department’s Shape Up NYC. That’s good news, because regular group exercise classes have the benefit of keeping you accountable, providing a safe, effective workout, and creating a social environment that many find motivating. The classes are offered every day of the week at various times, in tens of different locations throughout all of Queens. They range all different intensities and styles, from kickboxing, total body conditioning and boot camp, to Zumba, line dancing and ballet, to yoga and stretching and rehabilitation. So consider adding one of them to your weekly schedule! For a complete list of classes visit nycgovparks.org/programs/recreation/shape-up-nyc.
3. Eat Fresh, Local Produce. Some people eat “paleo,” consuming tons of meat and eggs and eschewing grains, while others go vegan, and do the complete opposite. Still others stick to the USDA food pyramid (now “myplate”), which suggests getting about a quarter of your daily nutrition from grains and a quarter from “protein” (either legumes or meat). What’s a person to do amid all these diverging ways of “eating healthy?” One sure bet is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Virtually all diets allow for unlimited quantities of these. Here are some of Queens’ year-round Greenmarkets, where you can get fresh produce and other local farm products throughout the four seasons: The Jackson Heights Greenmarket, at 34th Avenue and 78th Street, open on Sundays from 8a.m.-3p.m.; the Sunnyside Greenmarket, at 43rd Street Skillman Avenue, open on Sundays from 8a.m. to 3p.m. and the Forest Hills Greenmarket, at 106-28 Queens Blvd., open on Sundays from 8a.m. to 3p.m. You can also order from Astoria-based Green Top Farms, which provides “nutritious meals, on demand, straight from the farm,” according to their website. Greentop avoids the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified seeds. To contact them and place an order for some of their micro-greens, visit greentop.farm.
4) Laugh. Laughing works your abs. It also decreases stress hormones and helps to boost the immune system, research says, and it can even help relieve pain thanks to the endorphin release it provokes. Of course, if you’re laughing, you’re also probably enjoying the moment. A couple of Queens venues that have the potential to get you cracking up are Q.E.D. in Astoria, The Standing Room and The Creek and Cave in Long Island City and Mavi Lounge in Hollis.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, email@example.com or @Ellinoamerikana