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Nutrition, Well-being & Fitness
By Terry Campbell, Professor, Purdue University Global
Published: 02/11/2019

Healthyliving Hello and welcome to the February 2019 Corrections.com article selection. Our topic this month is ‘Nutrition, Well-Being, and Fitness,’ dreaded words for some. Before I begin, I have a couple of questions for you to consider: Did you make a News Year’s resolution to improve your health? (Making better food choices, increase physical activities, or other). If so, are you still remaining proactive or have you slipped? Another question to consider, what are your food choices for the Super Bowl game? Will you discard the healthy food choices for this game or include some nutritional choices? Do you make healthy choices several times a week, or very few? A large percentage of our population continues to make unhealthy choices. No, I am not the food police but I have learned if I over indulge today or for a couple of days, I back off the other days.

I have concerns with the growing health issues related to poor nutrition, and our officers and staff well-being. These areas also lead to health problems and concerns, and stress. As if we do not have enough stress dealing with the inmate population on a daily basis. Ask yourself, when was the last time you had a physical? If areas were identified where medication would be necessary, did your physician also advise to watch your weight and exercise? Some tough areas, decisions to make, and do you find yourself not being able to take the next step for improvements? When you arrive home, do you decide to drink a few alcoholic beverages to unwind and relax in the easy chair, or do you stop off from work at one of the local bars/taverns?

Time to wake up and improve your overall health. Your family would like to see this and keep you around awhile and hopefully healthy. We also know from research, the more we neglect our bodies, this leads to other health concerns. We all know we work in a stressful environment and one where many people are not able to work. By being somewhat physically fit and maintaining a healthy diet, you are not only setting an example for your family but others as well. Also, do not forget, the inmate population recognizes if you are in shape and your dress is professional. This will increase your pride, self-esteem, and confidence.

You do not have to stop all at once, if you did you would probably put your body into additional shock. Research your human resource department and check for any discounts for being healthy, or other incentives. There are little changes we can begin to take and eventually these will increase. One big issue I found is I like to eat. I found it difficult to push away and had to learn moderation. If I eat foods today that are not healthy, then the next couple of days I will eat healthy. I used to work out and run when I was younger, now that I reached the senior category and several knee surgeries, I walk 5-6 miles Monday thru Friday. This is to maintain my cardiac and physical well-being. Do you have any specific activities or routines you use to be physically active and eat nutritious meals?

Our lives in corrections are hectic and chaotic at times. In a second an incident can occur, it may be life threatening, and you respond. Do you have the necessary stamina to then engage in physical confrontations? Or do you find yourself out of air and trying to catch your breath. Let’s face it, we are older and perhaps not able to perform as we did previously. Be smart and decide to make good choices. At the end of the day, we want to go home in one piece. This is not only the physical component but also maintaining a positive mindset. We have enough stress and distractions in work and life without adding to this. When we arrive home, there is supposed to be family and quality time. Or are you exhibiting behavior with the message; ‘do not bother me.’ Excuses are made and our children begin to see this and expect this daily. Guess what, our children may begin to emulate us. Are you involved in family activities or choose to be by yourself? If you have children, you can enjoy family time with a variety of activities including healthy lifestyles.

Change is always difficult for a variety of reasons. Yet, you and I have control over this, provided we recognize lifestyle changes are necessary. When you accept positive changes, recognize results are not going to be immediate and there are some hurdles along the way. We have to work on our physical and mental well-being.

Many of you have faced the recent brutal cold and how physically draining this can be. A wakeup call may be necessary and recognize this before a medical emergency. I have some physical limitations and I recognize them. I can learn to adjust and live with this, or become bitter and stop seeing the positive things in life. Make those changes now, your family and co-workers will appreciate this. Somethings I have control over and some I don’t. I recognize this and made positive adjustments I have control over. Look in a mirror and like what you see and make sure you stop making excuses and make the proactive changes.

Stay safe out there.

Thanks, Terry

Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Purdue University Global and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at tcampbell@purdueglobal.edu.

Other articles by Campbell


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