‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle’ during National Nutrition Month® by including Physical Activity in Your Daily Routine, says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
February 10, 2015
CHICAGO – Make physical activity a part of your daily routine as you “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” during National Nutrition Month®.
Each March and throughout the year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating by adopting a healthy lifestyle focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise. The goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.
“Daily physical activity is a crucial part of everyone’s healthy lifestyle, but unfortunately most of us don’t include enough movement in our daily routines,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Jennifer McDaniel. “Regular physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, reduces the risk of chronic illness and fosters overall well-being.”
Regular Physical Activity is a Must
Most health benefits come from at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activity, with added advantages from increased exercise and intensity. Endurance and muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights, working with a resistance band or doing pushups are also beneficial.
“A physically active lifestyle offers you many rewards, from a slimmer body to a healthy heart,” says McDaniel, who is also a board certified sports dietitian. “And these physical benefits are only the beginning. Additional advantages include stress relief, better sleep and even a more positive mental outlook.”
Everyday Ways to get Moving
Physical activity is important for everyone at every age. “The key is to find activities that are both sustainable and enjoyable. For some, this may mean a light yoga class, while for others it may mean training for a marathon. Bottom line: Find manageable ways to move more,” McDaniel says.
McDaniel offers ways to get moving:
Use the buddy system: Join a walking group or attend fitness classes.
Participate in social and competitive sports like soccer or flag football.
Plan a hiking or canoeing trip instead of a beach vacation.
Sign up for a 5k run/walk with friends or family.
Sneak in exercise at your desk like leg lifts and calf raises – or even buy a desk that allows you to stand while working.
Take a 15-minute walk on your lunch break (or walk up and down the stairs when weather’s bad).
Find an activity monitor to assess movement through the day – gadgets are very motivating for some!
Food is Vital for Energy
To maintain a physically active and healthy lifestyle, stay nourished before, during and after exercise. “Before exercise, look for foods high in carbohydrates, adequate in protein and moderate in fat and fiber, like oatmeal with bananas, almonds and fat-free milk,” McDaniel says.
“Drink water before, during and after physical activity since dehydration can cause fatigue and impair performance,” McDaniel says.