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Does this sound like your typical day? You drop off the kids and commute to work for an hour in the morning. Sit at your computer or desk until lunch. Take a 10-minute walk to pick up lunch, then eat at your desk. Sit at your computer or desk until 5:00 p.m. Commute and pick up the kids for an hour. Hit the drive-through window for dinner on the way home. Help your kids with homework until 8:00 p.m. Watch TV until 10:00 p.m., then go to bed.
While you are certainly busy, this sedentary lifestyle, which is typical for many Americans, is a contributing factor to our unhealthy weights and waistlines. It’s a difficult cycle to break. Yet, the benefits of setting aside 30 to 60 minutes for physical activity in your daily routine can be immediate, and over time, help to reduce your risk for chronic illness or health conditions. You’ll feel better, look better, boost your self-esteem, sleep better, and have more energy. Also, as discussed in “Fight Disease with Regular Physical Activity,” your immune system gets a boost with regular activity, too.
What You Can Do
Physical activity and healthy food choices work together to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The bottom line is, the more you move, the more calories you burn.
Most healthy adults have no problem introducing moderate physical activity into their lives. However, if you're over age 50, you have one or more health risks, or you have a chronic illness or health condition, be sure to ask your doctor about how you can safely work physical activity into your daily routine.
It’s important to understand you don’t have to join a gym or train for a marathon. Instead, you can take small steps to becoming more active—like taking a brisk walk during your work day, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing “laps” yourself while watching your child play sports. Also note, you don’t have to get your exercise in a single 30- to 60-minute window; you can break it up into smaller 10-minute increments and get the same benefits.
As you think about becoming more physically active, be sure to check out the fitness resources and programs that may be available on your campus.