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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Make exercise part of your everyday activities

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Ask the Nutritionist: Make exercise part of your everyday activities

The National Restaurant Association's Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., provides regular commentary on the NRA News blog. In this post, she's highlighting the importance — and fun — of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

With summer quickly approaching and the days becoming longer, this may inspire us to get in shape or become more active. Regular exercise and staying active provide immediate benefits, as well as long-term benefits:

• Reduces stress or tension

• Increases energy levels

• Supports mental health by increasing self-esteem and confidence which can ultimately lower the risk of depression and anxiety

• Lowers the risk of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer

• Decreases body fat

• Lowers or maintains body weight

• Wards off osteoporosis by increasing bone and joint strength

Research continues to point towards the health benefits of exercise. Just recently, a new study published in the journal of Hypertension indicated that physically active people with a family history of high blood pressure could reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure by as much as 34% compared with those who did not exercise frequently.

Current USDA recommendations for physical activity include the following:

• Adults (18 + years) – at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity and 2 days a week of strength training.

• Children (6-17 years old) – at least 60 minutes each day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity including which also includes muscle and bone strengthening exercise.

There are a wide variety of ways in which to stay active, from everyday tasks to your favorite hobby. A few tips include:

• Take the stairs

• Get up from your desk and walk around every hour

• Take a brisk walk even if only 10 minutes at a time

• Walk to destinations surrounding your neighborhood or worksite

• Park your car in the back of the parking lot when shopping or at the worksite

• Find an activity you love and keep with it

• Try new activities such as zumba class or dance lessons

• Find a workout buddy or make it a family activity

• Watching TV? Get up and walk in place during commercials

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