Winter is over and gone and with it should be the excuses for not being physically active. The warm weather and the blooming flowers just beckon us outside. There are a variety of activities the entire family can do to meet daily activity needs.
Before you head out the door, you may wonder how much activity is enough. For adults, 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity is recommended most days of the week. Moderate means you should be able to feel you are doing some physical activity. It would be the equivalent of walking two miles in 30 minutes. If you don’t have 30 minutes, you can do your physical activity in three ten minute bouts but that ten minutes needs to be moderate exercise. While all activity is good, if you are getting moderate exercise in less than 10 minute bouts, those minutes don’t count toward your 30-60 minutes per day. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
If you haven’t been active all winter, start slowly and gradually work your way up to 30-60 minutes per day. That will give your body time to adjust and will help prevent soreness and injury.
If you have children, make it a point to exercise or be active with them. Children of parents who exercise are more likely to lead physically active lives than children of parents who do not regularly exercise. Keep in mind that things they like to do are good for both of you. Try taking a long bicycle ride, a hike in the woods or go swimming at the pool.
There are many benefits to be gained from getting regular exercise. One benefit is that it is easier to maintain a healthy weight when you are exercising. People who lead active lifestyles can help lower risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancers. Weight bearing exercise such as walking, running and weight lifting can help make bones stronger and strength training can help make muscles stronger. Many people who exercise regularly say they sleep better and feel less stress when they are exercising.
Your body benefits in the long run when you develop regular exercise habits. Some people feel like they just don’t have time to work exercise into their daily routine. Keep in mind that exercise helps you to have more energy. So, after you exercise, you’ll be rejuvenated to finish your other tasks.
Source: Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension.