April is Move More Month.
The American Heart Association encourages all Americans to commit to being more active on a daily basis. A recent study from the University of Birmingham found that a group of elderly cyclists have immune systems of much younger people. Staying active does keep the body young and healthy.
Every Day Habits
I was recently a guest on a radio show about healthy eating. The host told me that he has difficulty finding time to commit to a 20 min walk daily, despite every intention to do so. I love the theme of Move More. The American Heart Association recommends moderate-intensity exercises for 30 minutes most days of the week. Changing our mindset to find daily moments to move more is a lot easier for many:
- Stand, or pace, while talking on the phone whenever possible.
- Park a little farther away from the office or stores
- Do you watch a favorite TV show every day? Move around or do leg squats during the show.
Make it Enjoyable
Walking is really the simplest way to achieve a 30 minutes daily workout. Find a pleasant route around the neighborhood. Listen to the chirping birds; watch the change of season in the trees. Do not underestimate the fit of the walking shoes, which ought to be replaced every 6 months of constant use. It is easier to build exercises into your lifestyle when the activities are enjoyable: dancing, cycling, or gardening. Do you enjoy solitude or rather get active with friends?
Fuel and Hydrate
Give yourself the energy to move more, from nutritious breakfasts and snacks. For intensive sports training, carbs-rich meals of mostly whole grains provide the ideal fuel. For recreational fitness, research shows that aiming for 25 grams of protein every meal keeps you full, and amplifies the benefits of exercise on lean muscle strength. Examples are peanut butter or eggs on toast for breakfast, Mediterranean beef and salad pita at lunch, for example. Drink 2 glasses of water before workout. Think recovery. Recovery foods should include some protein and carbs to replenish fuel and strengthen muscles. Good snack options are yogurt, PBJ, or beef jerky.
About Cindy Chan Phillips, MS, MBA, RD & Director of Nutrition Education, New York Beef Council
Cindy Chan Phillips, RD, MS, MBA is a registered dietitian, health communicator and mother of twin sons. Currently she is the Director of Nutrition Education of the New York Beef Council. She received her Master of Science in Nutrition Science from Syracuse University, her MBA in marketing in San Diego State University and a Chef certificate from Mohawk Valley Community College Hospitality Program.