Eating and activity, a combination for health
Healthful eating fuels physical activity at every stage of life. Children and teens grow, develop, and learn better when they are physically fit and well nourished. An active lifestyle coupled with healthful eating contributes to increased quality of life for adults and seniors.
Fitness is defined as a state of physical and mental soundness. Fitness at every age comes from a lifestyle that includes both good nutrition and regular physical activity. The sooner you start, the better the outcome. However, don’t feel that you are too old or too out of shape to start trying. Research shows that individuals who become more physically active (no matter their age) are able to lower their risk for heart disease and diabetes, improve attitude, increase energy, and have an improved sense of self.
Food and physical activity choices are personal. Food nourishes the body, but it should also be a source of pleasure and good taste. Choose foods that provide enough of the nutrients you need and that fit your lifestyle. Using Choose MyPlate can help. MyPlate is a guide. It isn’t a rigid list of foods that you can or cannot eat. Instead, it shows a variety of foods groups and the proportions in which they should be eaten. With MyPlate, YOU choose the kinds of foods that fit your culture, lifestyle, and even special occasions. Choose MyPlate recognizes that we all have our favorites—and all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
Physical activity is also a personal choice—but it should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle. You don’t have to join a gym or start running marathons to be physically active. Although some activities provide a greater benefit for aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and weight loss, almost any activity done on a regular basis has been shown to have some benefit in disease prevention. Depending on your preferences, health, and lifestyle you can choose from a number of different activities. Go for a short walk before breakfast or after dinner. Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving. Use stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Look for opportunities to become more physically active and have some fun at the same time.
The key to fitness is to take responsibility for your food and physical activity habits. By doing so, you have a better chance for a higher quality of life for you and your family, and perhaps a longer one, too.
Email or call Susan Lednicky, Nutritionist with Clark County Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5548.