Physical Activity Guidelines

ThinkstockPhotos-526789591The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight. A key recommendation of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines is to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which help promote health and reduce risk of chronic disease. Remember the following:

  • Regular physical activity offers health benefits for everyone!
  • Some physical activity is better than none.
  • Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. You can get this amount in by being active 30 minutes 5 days a week.
  • For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration.
  • Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.

Need some motivation? Not sure where to start? The free online USDA Physical Activity Tracker may be a good way to get new ideas for being physically active and help you track your movement. This is available at

Cool Off While Working Out!

fitness active pool water workoutStay cool in the summer, yet still break a sweat! There’s more to do in a pool than swim laps. You burn as many calories walking or jogging in the water as you do on land if you move your arms and legs at the same pace. You also can burn calories in shoulder deep water while using a kickboard or while performing push/pull movements with a pool noodle. The water resistance exercises your muscles but reduces stress on your joints.

Find more exercises you can perform in the water. Watch this video for other pool workout ideas

Get Motivated to Move

letsmoveGetting bored with your workout? Want new ideas on how to get active? Check out Let’s Move! at

February 2014 marked the fourth anniversary of Let’s Move!, an initiative to inspire families and communities to help children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the anniversary by encouraging people of all ages to show her how they move (through an everyday fitness routine, by making better food choices, or by moving their community toward a new norm) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc., using #LetsMove.

Be inspired to take your own physical activity up a notch by following Let’s Move! on Facebook and follow the Let’s Move! blog at

The Kitchen Workout

woman in kitchenAre you having a difficult time getting 30 minutes of physical activity in during the day? Did you know that your kitchen could be a great place for you to get some physical activity while your meal is cooking?
Warm Up: March in place or walk briskly for one minute while breathing deeply (IN through the nose and OUT through the mouth).
Side Arm Raises: Hold cans of fruit or vegetables at your sides with palms facing inward. Slowly breathe out as you raise both arms to the side, shoulder height. Hold the position for 1 second. Breathe in as you slowly lower arms to the sides. Build up until you can repeat 10 to 15 times. Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.
Toe Stands: Stand at your kitchen counter, feet shoulder-width apart, holding on to the counter for balance. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out and slowly stand on tiptoes, as high as possible. Hold position for 1 second. Breathe in as you slowly lower heels to the floor. Build up until you can repeat 10 to 15 times. Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.

Skating Your Way

skatingRoller skating or blading is a fun activity and can improve your heart and lung health as
well as muscular endurance. It requires relatively good balance and coordination, but if you want to glide gracefully, you will need a lot of practice. Beginning skating does not have to be an expensive trip to the sporting goods store. Try it out at your local skating rink or check the local parks and recreation office or fitness center to see if they rent roller skates or rollerblades.

If you decide you like skating, get skates designed with a high roller skate boot for maximum ankle support. Skating is a great workout, so try it. Be sure to wear protective gear, including helmet, knee and elbow pads, and gloves before strapping on those skates.

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