A lot of us face roadblocks when it comes to exercise. But for every hurdle, there’s a solution—maybe even several. To get tips on overcoming the exercise hurdles you face, click here to take the following assessment.
Note: This assessment is not intended to be a substitute for a visit with your healthcare provider.
Physical activity is important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In combination with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases that include heart disease, cancer and stroke — three leading causes of death. Physical activity can help control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat and promote strong bone, muscle and joint development.
According to the CDC, adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days, preferably all days, of the week. Children and teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity most, preferably all days, of the week.
Being physically active is an important part of keeping your family healthy. If you can’t do 30-60 minutes all at once, try aiming for 10 minutes a few times each day. Your health benefits will increase the more time you spend being active. For additional tips on getting active as a family, visit our active families page.
Adults should work their way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. It is beneficial to also include muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on two or more days a week.
Children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. It is also recommended that children include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups; and bone strengthening activities, such as jump rope and running, at least three days a week as part of the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity.
When exercising, if your breathing and heart rate are noticeably faster but you can still carry on a conversation, you’re likely exercising at a moderate intensity. When it comes to health benefits, one minute of vigorous activity is equal to two minutes of moderate activity. Examples include:
When exercising, if your heart rate is increased substantially and you are breathing too hard and fast to have a conversation, you’re likely exercising at a vigorous intensity. When it comes to health benefits, one minute of vigorous activity is equal to two minutes of moderate activity. Examples include:
Measure your progress by the number of steps you are covering each day. Generally speaking, you can count on 2,000 steps equaling one mile.
Use this chart to convert activities that are not easily measured by a pedometer. Multiply the number of minutes you participated in the activity by the number indicated in the chart. Use only the timed, converted steps for your step count. Do not also include the pedometer steps if you were wearing your pedometer while performing the activity.
PLEASE NOTE: Conversions are estimates; your actual steps may vary
Click here to download a full list of converted activities into steps.
5-2-1-0 is an evidence-based message created by Let’s Go!, a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program for children and families. The 5-2-1-0 healthy strategies are thought to have the greatest impact on bringing healthy eating and active living choices to life.
Read about the 5-2-1-0 recommendations below. Ask yourself, how many of these healthy recommendations do you practice each day? Give yourself a star for each accomplishment and try to reach four stars daily! Get the family involved and become healthy champions together!
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides vitamins and minerals, important for supporting growth and development, and for optimal immune function in children. High daily intakes of fruits and vegetables among adults are associated with lower rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and possibly, some types of cancers. Emerging science suggests fruit and vegetable consumption may help prevent weight gain, and when total calories are controlled may be an important aid to achieving and sustaining weight loss.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the average child watches an average of 5–6 hours of television a day. Watching too much television is associated with an increased prevalence of overweight and obesity, lower reading scores and attention problems. The AAP therefore recommends that children under age two shouldn’t watch any television. In addition, the AAP recommends no TV or computer in the room in which the child sleeps, and no more than 2 hours of screen time a day.
Regular physical activity is essential for weight maintenance and prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and osteoporosis. While most school age children are quite active, physical activity sharply declines during adolescence. Children who are raised in families with active lifestyles are more likely to stay active as adults than children raised in families with sedentary lifestyles.
Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has increased dramatically over the past 20 years; high intake among children is associated with overweight and obesity, displacement of milk consumption, and dental cavities. It is recommended that children 1–6 years old consume no more than 4–6 ounces of juice per day and youth 7–18 years old consume no more than 8–12 ounces. Whole milk is the single largest source of saturated fat in children’s diets. Switching to low or non-fat (1%) milk products significantly reduces dietary saturated and total fat, as well as total calories.
Physical activity breaks increase oxygen to the brain, burn calories and can improve positive thinking. The benefits of physical activity breaks go long beyond the effects on the body. They are also associated with improved attention, concentration, academic achievement, reduced stress and memory.
Consider implementing physical activity breaks into your routine. Click here to learn more about different types of physical activity breaks.
Overweight and obesity are caused by an energy imbalance. What does that mean? What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT. We use this energy for simple everyday movements like breathing and digesting our food, and we also use energy for physical activities like walking or running. Your ENERGY IN and OUT don’t have to balance exactly every day – it’s the balance over time that is important. Weight gain happens when people eat and drink more calories than they burn.