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Diet and Nutrition

Exercise Now ... No Excuses

Increasing your physical activity will make you feel better, look better, and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Physical activity has been shown to be the strongest predictor of weight maintenance. Remember that every activity burns calories, so if you walk at a rate of 3-4 miles per hour, you will burn about 250 calories (which equals a small vanilla ice cream cone or a small order of fries) in an hour.

Although guidelines by various health organizations may differ, most recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. So what is moderate activity? Moderate activity is any activity that makes your heart rate increase slightly and makes you breathe as hard as you do during a brisk walk, without breaking into a sweat. Dancing, roller skating, yoga, doubles tennis, gardening, and leisurely bicycling are examples of moderate activity.

So why not exercise? Here are some common excuses and responses:

NO TIME
If you don't have a half-hour to exercise, just do 10 minutes of activity three times per day. Research shows that 5- to 10-minute bouts of exercise, with a total accumulation of 30 minutes of activity per day, contribute to physical and psychological health.

NO EQUIPMENT
Many activities require little or no equipment. In fact, the most popular activity just requires a pair of shoes?walking at a pace of 3-4 miles per hour.

NO ENERGY
It has been shown that exercising boosts your energy level. Don't procrastinate?plan activities early in the day so that you don't feel too tired to exercise.

DON'T LIKE IT
Just modify your everyday activities, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator or walking the corridors and stairwells of your workplace during your 10-minute break.

NOTE: Many of these tips are provided by the American Cancer Society's Guide to Being More Physically Active.

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Last Reviewed: Jan 24, 2011

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati