Physical Activity and Health

physical activityPhysical activity helps you control your weight by using excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Most foods you eat contain calories, and everything you do uses calories, including sleeping, breathing, and digesting food. Balancing the calories you eat with the calories you use through physical activity will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, particularly after you have lost a large amount of weight, you may need to do 60 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity each day.

Physical Activity Program Tips:

Check with your health care provider. If you have a chronic health problem such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, ask your health care provider about what type and amount of physical activity is right for you.

Start slowly. Incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine and gradually work up to the 30-minute goal to improve health and manage your weight.

Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals and celebrate every success.

Track progress. Keep an activity log to track your progress. Note when you worked out, what activity you did, how long you did the activity, and how you felt during your workout.

Think variety. Choose a variety of physical activities to help you meet your goals, prevent boredom, and keep your mind and body challenged.

Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and ones that are appropriate to the activity you will be doing.

Listen to your body. Stop exercising and consult your health care provider if you experience chest discomfort or pain, dizziness, severe headache, or other unusual symptoms while you work out. If pain does not go away, get medical help right away. If you are feeling fatigued or sick, take time off from your routine to rest. You can ease back into your program when you start feeling better.

Eat nutritious foods. Choose a variety of nutritious foods every day. Remember that your health and weight depend on both your eating plan and physical activity level.

Get support. Encourage your family and friends to support you and join you in your activity. Form walking groups with coworkers, play with your children outside, or take a dance class with friends.

Regular physical activity will help you feel, move, and look better. Whether your goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight or improve your health, becoming physically active is a step in the right direction. Take advantage of the health benefits of physical activity and make it a part of your life.

 
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