It will come as no surprise that both diet and exercise are key components to a healthy lifestyle. Research presents so many benefits from both. Reduced stress, reduced risk for chronic disease, more energy, better sleep, etc. I find that it is common for people to gravitate towards one or the other over the course of their health journey. Some things come more naturally than others. While we aren’t all in perfect sync all of the time, developing habits and consistency in both the diet and exercise realms combine for maximized health and wellness achievement.
In regards to diet, in 2015, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released, prompting the general population to focus on making shifts in their eating patterns with small changes over time. Changing everything in one day is overwhelming and does not promote lasting changes. What can you increase day to day? Fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, lean meats?
Exercise is sometimes viewed in the completely wrong perspective. Something we HAVE to do, or for the mere purpose of weight loss. Exercise is so much more than that! Not only can it be fun, but it offers immediate benefits of improved mood, energy, sleep and beyond!
It has been about a decade since the first edition of exercise guidelines were released, however, just recently, the newest guidelines were presented for the general American population. It is estimated that 20% or less of the population actually meet their physical activity needs. In the most current edition, many things remained the same, however, there are a few noteworthy changes and information we need to know! The focus is on “Move Your Way.” I love this! We aren’t all geared to be marathoners, extreme athletes, body builders, etc. BUT! We all can and SHOULD do something! And good news for us, every little bit counts!
For adults, it used to be thought that exercise in 10-minute increments or more was really what it took to promote health benefit. We now know that any little bit helps! It’s all about movement and activity over the course of the day. Taking the stairs, working in the yard, parking further away from the store, walking around your office space, etc. Do you have a step tracker or smart watch? What is your daily step average? We can over estimate our movement and think we may be doing more than what we actually are. Activity trackers are a great way to give us perspective over our activity.
In general, the adult population should still shoot for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. This is just a little more than 20 minutes per day. Weight bearing exercises should be included 2 or more times a week. Again, it’s all about moving YOUR way. For me, I prefer walking on a treadmill on a steep incline and then finishing off with a jog most days of the week. I have three little boys, so the treadmill in my home is usually the most realistic option for me. Some of my friends go to exercise classes at the gym several days per week; some meet up to play basketball or volleyball, etc. We have all made commitments to do what works best for us, but most importantly we are moving!
It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. We have become increasingly more sedentary from even small ages. Its time to get moving!
For the full report, look here. In the 2nd edition you will find that there are now guidelines for:
- pre-school aged children
- Children and adolescents
- Older adults
- Women during pregnancy and postpartum
- Adults with chronic health conditions
- Adults with disabilities
There is information for everyone!
I urge you! Don’t wait for the holidays to pass, or the weather to get warmer, or for schedules to become less busy. Embrace your health in the here and now. Learn to appreciate your journey and get moving!
Need more ideas? Check out the Move Your Way Campaign!