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Staying healthy in Amherst

By Sally Writes

With summer in full force, it's easy to lay back, relax, and focus less on a healthy lifestyle in favor of more time on the couch. However, Amherst is full of opportunities for individuals and for families to explore fitness, wellness and nutrition. Here are a few local options to try out.

From Dance to Yoga
Going for a run in the beautiful Delaware park is a wonderful way to keep fit, but running may not be for everything. For all those fans of ballroom dancing, be sure to check out Salsa in the Park, latin and kizomba dancing classes for beginners held every Monday until August 21 in the Delaware Park Rose Gardens. It's one of Buffalo's most beloved outdoor dancing events, joining individuals with similar interests who are looking to dance and have fun. Partners are not necessary as they rotate, so singles are welcome.
Looking to relax and de-stress after a long year? Then the gentle hatha yoga classes at the Graycliff might be the perfect fix, although remember to preregister as this is required to access the classes.

Remember, a fit and healthy body will help you avoid illness; the US center for Disease Control and Prevention actually estimates that 7 hours of physical activity per week reduces your risk of dying early by 40%!  Exercise also helps you sleep better and reduce stress, two very important aspects of living a healthy life.


Eating out is always fun, but home made meals are usually the healthier option. During the whole year, your diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables, and favor whole foods over processed foods. This is especially true in the summer as the heat causes dehydration, which can be avoided by drinking lots of water and consuming water-dense foods such as fruit. Whole foods are also nutrient dense, providing the body with everything it needs, such as minerals, fiber and vitamins.

Being healthy doesn't just come from working out and not being overweight. Even a perfect BMI can hide underlying health concerns. A poor diet can contribute to heart disease and digestion issues, among other conditions. For optimal results, as well as consuming fruit and vegetables, consumers should aim to reduce sugar consumption and processed foods.

Digestion issues can also be helped by certain types of fruit; new research at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has in fact shown that cranberries can be greatly beneficial as they support the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach and in the intestine, and are therefore excellent for gut health.

Local farmers' markets can be excellent opportunities to stock up on healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Advocating for a Healthy Community
With plenty of opportunities for health and wellness dedicated to everyone, including families, it's never boring to be healthy in Amherst. Available opportunities to explore something new or to simply participate in fun events are published regularly, with updated calendars detailing locations and times, so be sure to regularly check for updates and new posts.

Originally published on Amherst Times. Republished with permission.