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How much physical activity i need to do?

How much physical activity i need to do?

How much physical activity do I need?

How can I handle roadblocks to becoming more active?

How can I eat healthier?

How can reading the Nutrition Facts label help me?

How can I handle roadblocks to healthy eating?

How can I eat well when away from home?

I can do it!

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Eating foods that are good for you and staying physically active may help you reach and maintain a healthy weight and improve how you feel. You also may find that moving more and eating better could help you keep up with the demands of your busy life and be there for the people who depend on you.

Why should I move more and eat better?

In addition to helping you reach and maintain a healthy weight, staying active and eating better may lower your chances of developing

type 2 diabetes, or high blood sugar

high blood pressure

kidney disease

heart disease


certain kinds of cancer NIH external link

But improving your health isn’t the only reason to move more and eat better. You may also

have more energy for work, play, and family

feel better about yourself

manage stress better

set a good example for your children, friends, and other family members

tone your body—without losing your curves

Your family, friends, and coworkers can be a great source of support as you work to adopt healthier habits. Ask them to join your efforts. Being healthy is important for them, too. By making healthy choices together, you may find it’s easier to move more and eat better.

Should I talk to a health care professional before starting a physical activity program?

Most people don’t need to see a health care professional before starting a less intense physical activity, like walking. However, if you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes—or symptoms of chronic conditions—talk with a health professional about the type and amount of physical activity that’s best for you.

If you haven’t been active, work slowly toward the goal of 150 minutes per week.

How much physical activity do I need?

To maintain or improve your health, aim for 150 minutes per week—or at least 30 minutes on all or most days of the week—of moderate physical activity. Moderate activities are ones that you can talk—but not sing—while doing, such as brisk walking or dancing. These activities speed up your heart rate and breathing.

If you haven’t been active, work slowly toward the goal of 150 minutes per week. For example, start out doing light or moderate activities for shorter amounts of time throughout the week. You can gain some health benefits even if you do as little as 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.

For best results, spread out your physical activity throughout the week. Even 10 or 15 minutes at a time counts. And any amount of physical activity is better than none at all.

To lose weight and keep it off, you may need to be even more active. Shoot for 300 minutes per week, or an hour a day 5 days a week. On at least 2 days per week, also try activities that strengthen your muscles. Examples of these activities include workouts using hand weights or rubber strength bands.

How can I handle roadblocks to becoming more active?

Becoming more active isn’t easy. Different people may have different reasons for finding it hard to get moving. If some of the roadblocks below sound familiar, try the suggested tips to help you overcome them.

“I don't have time.”

Try sneaking a few minutes of physical activity at a time into your day. Get started by making these small changes in your daily routine:

Break your physical activity up into two or three 10-minute walks a day, if you can do so safely near work or home.

Take regular breaks from sitting at the computer or watching TV. Get up, move, and stretch by lifting your hands over your head. Twist side to side.

Schedule time to be active as you would a hair or work appointment, and stick to your plan.

“I'm going to ruin my hairstyle.”

If you avoid being active because you don’t want to ruin your hairstyle, try

a natural hairstyle, short haircut, braids, twists, locs, or wigs

wrapping a scarf around your hair; when you’re done with your workout, remove the scarf and let your hair air dry.

Tip: Physical activity may make the hair look dull or lead to salt buildup. To keep your hair healthy as you stay fit:

Cleanse your scalp with a clarifying product when needed.

Avoid harsh products that may strip hair of natural oils.

Limit the use of heat on hair, such as dryers and curling irons. If you use heat, also use low settings to protect hair from damage.

For styling ideas, consider viewing YouTube videos and visiting other relevant online hair groups and communities to be informed and inspired.

“It costs too much.”

You can be active without spending a lot of money—or any money at all:

Look for free or low-cost classes and activities in your community.

Walk in a mall, or walk or jog in a park or on a school track.

Gather friends and neighbors from your apartment complex and hold regular group workout sessions.

Find workout videos online and on YouTube if you have internet service—or DVDs at the library—and work out at home.

“Physical activity is a chore.”

Some people may be put off by physical activity, especially if they haven’t been active for a while or got hurt and are afraid of getting injured again. However, with some planning and effort, physical activity can be enjoyable:

Try being active with your kids—walk, jump rope, play flag football or tag, or toss a softball. Children should get an hour of physical activity each day.

Get a friend or family member to go biking or take a dance class with you. You can cheer each other on, have company, and feel safer when you’re outdoors.

Enjoy friendly competition with family and friends by setting a weight-loss challenge or entering a walking, biking, or running event for a worthy cause.

Physical activity can be fun when you do something you enjoy.

How can I eat healthier?

An example of a healthy meal includes vegetables, fruits, and small portions of protein and whole grains. These foods provide fiber and important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. When planning meals for you and your family, think about including

a salad or other different-colored vegetables, such as spinach; sweet potatoes; and red, green, orange, or yellow peppers

fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, or nondairy products such as almond or rice milk

different-colored fruits, including apples, bananas, and grapes

lean beef, pork, or other protein foods, such as chicken, seafood, eggs, tofu, or beans

whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain cornmeal

Treats are okay if you have them once in a while. Just don’t eat foods such as candy, ice cream, or cookies every day. Limit sweet treats to special occasions, and keep portions small. Have one cookie or piece of candy, rather than trying every kind.

Remember that alcohol, juices, soda, and other sweet drinks have a lot of sugar and calories.

If you can’t have milk or milk products because you have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk, try lactose-free milk or yogurt. Besides milk and milk products, you can get calcium from calcium-added cereals, juices, and drinks made from soy or nuts. Eating dark green leafy vegetables such as collard greens and kale, and canned fish with soft bones like salmon, can also help you meet your body’s calcium needs.

How can reading the Nutrition Facts label help me?

Reading the information on the Nutrition Facts label can help you choose foods high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals; and low in sodium, added sugars, and unhealthy fats, which federal dietary guidelines External link (PDF, 3.94 MB)  recommend Americans limit.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label appears on most packaged foods and tells you how many calories and servings are in a box, can, or package. The label also shows how many nutrients are in one food serving. The FDA made changes in 2016 to update the Nutrition Facts label External link.

How can I handle roadblocks to healthy eating?

Eating healthy foods may seem hard when you don’t have time to cook or are on a tight budget. Try these tips to get past roadblocks that may keep you from eating well:

“I don't have time to cook healthy meals; I don’t really know how to cook.”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Nor do you need to be a chef to prepare healthy meals. Here are ways you and your family can eat better without spending a lot of time preparing meals:

Buy frozen or precut veggies and add them to a salad or veggie wrap with pita bread for a quick meal. Or microwave the veggies and add them to whole-grain pasta.

When you cook, make enough for extra meals. Casseroles with veggies and whole grains, and a whole cooked chicken, may last a few days so you don’t have


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