Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/30/2005 12:52:21 AM
Americans need to be more active, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames. Surveys have shown that about 25 percent of American adults report doing no significant amounts of physical activity.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy Americans age 2 years and older engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being and a healthy body weight.
To reduce chronic disease risk in adulthood, the guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
"For most people, greater health benefits can be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration," Reames says.
The nutritionist recommends approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding caloric intake requirements. This regimen will help manage body weight and prevent gradual body weight gain in adulthood.
Reames also recommends additional increase in physical activity to sustain weight loss in adulthood - at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
Physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits. Increased participation in various types of leisure time physical activity is recommended by health experts. 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.
Reames says moderately intense physical activity has substantial health benefits. Such activities include housework, childcare activities, occupational activity or walking for transportation.
Lack of time is often given for a failure to be physically active. Setting aside 30 to 60 consecutive minutes each day for planned exercise is one way to obtain physical activity. Physical activity also may include three to six 10-minute segments of moderate-intensity activity for a total of 30 to 60 minutes. The accumulated total is what is important – both for health and for burning calories.
The nutritionist 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, suggesting you find something you enjoy and "get with it."
For additional information about healthy lifestyles, contact the LSU AgCenter Extension agent in your parish. For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/