Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/19/2005 10:28:27 PM
Distributed May 2004
"Americans need to be more active. There’s just no getting around it," says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
New guidelines from the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recently doubled the recommended amount of daily exercise, advising adults to get at least one hour of moderate exercise every day. The previous daily minimum goal from the 1996 Surgeon General's report was 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week.
Studies have shown that about 25 percent of American adults report doing no significant amounts of physical activity.
Reames points out that physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits. Increased participation in various types of leisure-time physical activity is recommended by health experts.
The LSU AgCenter nutritionist says regular physical activity increases physical fitness; helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints; builds endurance and muscular strength; helps manage weight; lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes; helps control blood pressure; promotes psychological well-being and self-esteem and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
Moderate-intensity physical activity also has substantial health benefits. This includes housework, childcare duties, occupational activity or walking for transportation. Public health programs usually encourage participation in moderate-intensity rather than vigorous-intensity activities for sedentary persons.
Reames offers these tips to keep you exercising:
• Choose activities that you enjoy and find invigorating.
• Exercise at your own pace, building intensity gradually.
• Keep up your energy levels by eating healthfully and getting enough sleep.
• Choose activities that are convenient, fit your lifestyle and fit your budget.
• Select exercise opportunities that offer support and interaction, such as walking with friends or aerobics class.
"Don’t let another day pass without gaining the benefits of exercise," Reames says, advising, "Find something you enjoy and get with it."
For additional information about healthy lifestyles, contact the LSU AgCenter Extension agent in your parish. Also, visit the Family and Consumer Sciences Web site at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/Extension/