Being mindful of your health during March Madness

Watching the NCAA basketball tournament can be a healthy experience.

A delicious matcha smoothie from Malamiah Juice Bar. | Photo by Jermale Eddie, co-founder of Malamiah Juice Bar, LLC

A delicious matcha smoothie from Malamiah Juice Bar. | Photo by Jermale Eddie, co-founder of Malamiah Juice Bar, LLC

Spending hours sitting in front of a screen watching the NCAA tournament drinking soda or alcohol and eating salty foods can have a negative impact on your health.  However, the tournament might be a great time to think about ways you can be more active and participate in sports.

You might consider watching games while walking or running on a treadmill or an exercise bike. Many health clubs are equipped with television sets and have flexible hours. If you plan on watching a game while sitting at a desk, Michigan State University Extension has some great tips on how to stay active.

If you aren’t a member of a health club, consider ways you can be more active while watching the games at home. This might include doing push-ups, sit-ups, walking up and down stairs, leg lefts, using hand weights or eating healthy snacks.

Healthy eating is just as important as exercising to our overall health. Michigan State University Extension offers workshops and online resources to help support healthy snacking. Ideas include peanut butter and fruit, dried fruits, smoothies, English muffin pizza with vegetables, hummus and vegetables, and low-fat popcorn.

Some businesses are starting to support health during the month of March as well. Malamiah Juice Bar at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market will be offering their “Matcha Madness Smoothie” during the month of March. Matcha is a highly concentrated green tea that contains antioxidants. If you aren’t able to make it to the Market, you might want to try this recipe for a matcha smoothie you can make at home with some simple ingredients such as bananas, spinach and coconut milk.

Watching healthy athletes compete can help inspire us to improve our health and physical fitness. March is a great time to talk with your friends and family members about ways you can be active and enjoy healthy foods together.

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