May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Yet, about one quarter of American adults report doing no significant physical activity.
"Americans need to be more active," says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames, pointing out that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends regular physical activity and fewer sedentary habits for better health, psychological well-being and body weight.
To reduce chronic disease risk in adulthood, the guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity, above usual routines, at work or home on most days of the week. Generally, more health benefits can be obtained with more vigorous activity for longer periods.
Reames recommends approximately 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week, while not exceeding caloric intake requirements, to help manage body weight and prevent gradual body weight gain in adulthood.
To sustain weight loss in adulthood, she recommends extending moderate physical activity to at least 60 to 90 minutes a day while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
Reames 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 activities include housework, childcare, occupational activity or walking for transportation.
Lack of time is often given for a failure to be physically active. Reames recommends setting aside 30 to 60 consecutive minutes each day for exercise. Or, divide that time into 10-minute segments. The accumulated total is what is important – both for health and for burning calories.
To help 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 going to aerobics classes.
"Don’t let another day pass without gaining the benefits of exercise," Reames says, adding, "Find something you enjoy and get with it."
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/Extension/Departments/fcs/
On the Internet: Dietary Guidelines for Americans http://www.health.gov/DietaryGuidelines/
Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3329, or email@example.com