Balancing good nutrition and physical activity are important for good health and for weight management. It is really about making healthier choices over and over until they become a habit. And starting to make healthier choices about food intake and physical activity may be easier than you think! Finding your balance between good nutrition and physical activity starts with the first step and then taking one more step at a time.
For weight management there must be a balance between the calories consumed from foods and beverages and the calories expended through physical activity and many body processes. It is really about math! There is a basic formula for weight management.
If one consumes more calories than expended, weight will be gained.
If one consumes the same number of calories as are expended, weight will be maintained.
If one consumes fewer calories than expended, weight will be lost.
Good nutrition also means getting the most nutrition for the calories consumed. Eating diets that are high in calories but low in nutrients can cause a person to be overweight and malnourished at the same time. Better nutrition, healthier eating habits and regular physical activity have tremendous potential for reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Find your balance between nutrition and physical activity. Choose the steps that are right for you. Make it a personal journey and you will reap the rewards.
The best place to start is exactly where you are today. Choose to lead a more active lifestyle and look for ways to add activity to your normal daily pattern. Select activities that are enjoyable for you like going on walks, dancing, biking or swimming. Schedule a specific time during the day for activity. You can start with as little as five or 10 minutes of increased activity and gradually increase the time. Reduce the amount of time spent watching television and other sedentary behaviors, and replace with some type of physical activity. Replace coffee breaks with walk breaks. Consider investing in some exercise equipment such as a stationary bicycle or treadmill. It may be a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. This is particularly true for folks with any type of medical problem, if overweight, over the age of 40, have not been exercising or have health concerns.
Joining a fitness center is a great idea. When Integris PACER Fitness Center, 5520 N Independence Ave., started in 1978, it was the first hospital-based fitness center in the country. The acronym stands for Prevention of Atherosclerosis and Coronary disease through Education and Rehabilitation. It was an investment of 15 cardiologists who wanted a cardiac rehabilitation program. PACER is a truly professional, prevention-focused wellness program.
Nancy Shidler, M.S., is the administrative director of PACER. She said the center performs fitness evaluations on every person who joins. If something of concern or a “red flag” is raised about a risk factor during that evaluation, it is stopped and the physician is contacted or the person is sent back to his or her physician for clearance. The fitness testing includes basic height, weight, flexibility, grip strength and abdominal strength. In addition, resting heart rate, blood pressure and blood tests via finger stick are checked. A lipid profile including total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides determines a baseline and a low, level exercise tolerance test determines the fitness of the individual's heart.
Each person is provided an individualized exercise prescription, including short- and long-term goals. Everyone is taught how to use the equipment in their prescription during their fitness program orientation. A three-month follow-up evaluates progress and additional follow-up is scheduled as necessary. PACER also offers more than 100 classes per week. In addition, it provides free baby-sitting for parents or grandparents while they are exercising.
A great place to start with better nutrition is to replace sugary empty calorie snacks with nutrient-packed options. This refreshing smoothie is a great snack after exercising for a midday energy boost or even as part of breakfast. It includes orange juice and strawberries from the fruit group and fat-free yogurt from the dairy group. Plus it is simple and quick to fix.
IF YOU GO
Learn with Lunch
Becky will teach Learn with Lunch classes at:
Class size is limited. Call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.