One aspect of the USDA’s new recommendations on nutrition that’s getting little fanfare are their recommendations for physical activity that will support a new healthy lifestyle. While few of us think of the Department of Agriculture when we think of exercise, the government knows what we all should know: healthy eating works hand in hand with a regular exercise program. Think of them as BFFs. Here’s what the USDA recommends in terms of a healthy exercise program.
1. 300 minutes of moderate activity:
You can break those 300 minutes down any way you like, in ten minute, fifteen minute, half hour or hour long bursts. What qualifies as “moderate activity?” Brisk walking (read: no strolling) , gardening, biking, canoeing, water aerobics (easy on the joints), and some forms of dancing.
2. 150 minutes of vigorous activity:
Don’t have 300 minutes in your week to set aside for exercises? If you up your intensity level, you can cut your workout time in half. The key is to sustain a higher intensity with vigorous activity. So what qualifies as “vigorous?” Jogging, running, jump rope, race walking, biking hills, swimming fast (no floating on an inner tube),or swimming laps.
3. Muscle building:
You’re probably heard it a thousand times: building muscle burns fat. And for women in their 30s, building muscle also leads to healthier bones. Go for pushups, sit ups, lifting weights that work all parts of the body. Yep, it’s time to pull out those old school exercises from P. E. class.
That’s the new guidelines in a nutshell. The easy part is making sense of it. The hard part is actually carrying them out. How are you going to start using the new guidelines in your workout routine?