The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend finding your balance between food and physical activity. Consuming more calories than you expend leads to weight gain. More than half of all Americans don't get the recommended amount of physical activity. To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day on most days of the week. Children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes a day on most, and preferably all, days of the week.
To manage body weight and prevent gradual weight gain, people should exercise about 60 minutes at a moderate to vigorous intensity on most days of the week, while not exceeding recommendations for caloric intake. Sixty to 90 minutes may be needed to maintain weight loss.
The more vigorous the activity and the longer the duration, the more health benefits you'll get. But every little bit counts. Here are some examples of easy ways to work exercise into your day:
- Take a 10-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner to reach the goal of 30 minutes per day.
- Park your car in the farthest spot when you run errands.
- Take a family walk after dinner.
- Walk your dog.
- Do yard work.
- Wash your car by hand.
- Pace the sidelines at kids' athletic games.
- Ask a friend to exercise with you.
- Run around and play with your children for 30 minutes a day.
- Walk briskly at the mall.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do sit-ups or lift weights in front of the TV.
Source: FDA Consumer Magazine
Adapted from HHS Small Steps program
Date: May-June 2005 Issue
Reviewed by athealth on February 4, 2014.