Nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand for good health. Today, about half of all American adults have one or more chronic diseases, often related to poor diet. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of creating a healthy eating pattern to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. Poor nutrition is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and dental disease.
Everything we eat and drink — the food and beverage choices we make day to day and over our lifetime — matters. Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. To help Americans lead healthy lifestyles, the U. S. Department of Agriculture has adopted MyPlate which focuses on the five food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein) that are the building blocks for a healthy diet. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, in your bowl or in your cup.
Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition.
Make small changes to create a healthier eating style.
Exercise is an integral part of good health. Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer. It is recommended that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain and stay healthy. This includes fast walking, bicycling, vigorous dancing, and swimming. In general, try to accumulate about 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week. It is more important that you have shorter intervals of exercise and continue with your exercise regimen than have one or two long sessions per week. Getting shorter bursts of exercise may be as, if not more beneficial than longer, sustained periods of time.
For those who aren’t accustomed to physical activity, initial activities may be light and at a slow pace. Though an individual’s regimen can be adapted to other forms of physical activity, walking is a particularly smart choice because of its safety and accessibility.
Increase activity by undertaking frequent, less strenuous exercises, such as walking up and down the stairs instead of the using the elevator. Once some progress has been made, many find they are eventually able to engage in more strenuous activities such as tennis or any form of group sport. To stay motivated, choose activities that are fun, set realistic goals and celebrate your progress. Exercise with a friend to make it more pleasurable or keep a journal/download an app to track your progress.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise and fitness options for you based on your age, lifestyle, and health history. Book your appointment online to schedule a visit with a CareMount Medical primary care provider.