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Make 2021 the Year for You!

As the new year rolls around, many of us focus on changing our behaviors or making a New Year’s resolution. For some that might be to balance our personal budget or clean out the garage. However, for many of us, it’ll be to lose weight. With the CDC stating that nearly half (42.4%) of U.S. adults are obese (meaning their BMI, a measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight, is more than 30 percent), losing weight might be a common resolution, especially after consuming heavy holiday food. It’s an important resolution as well, being that obesity puts you at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

And simply put, losing weight is best achieved by lifestyle changes that include healthy eating and regular physical activity.

If you are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, check with your health care provider for the go ahead to start incorporating the CDC’s physical activity recommendations into your daily routine.

Adults need at least:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week
  • Weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Although 150 minutes each week may sound like a lot of time, it’s only 2 1/2 hours, the same the amount of time it takes to watch a movie.

You should spread that time out during the week, so you turn this time into a routine or habit. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day, as long as those chunks of time are for at least 10 minutes at a time and at the moderate-intensity level. The key is to get your heart rate elevated into a safe cardio zone.

What does moderate intensity mean? Well, that will vary from person to person. An easy way to gauge how hard you’re working out that doesn’t require special equipment and can be done anywhere, is the “talk test.” If you can talk but are unable to sing during the activity, that’s moderate intensity. If you are unable to say more than a few words without having to pause for a breath, you’re working too hard. Most people will find examples of moderate-intensity activities to be walking briskly at 3 mph or faster, water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 mph, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing. and general light gardening. However, it is important to find something that you enjoy doing, so be creative, grab a buddy at work, a neighbor, your family or the dog, and get out there and move! And remember, 2021 should be the Year of You!

You can visit www.choosemyplate.gov for guidance on healthy eating or www.cdc.gov for CDC’s physical activity guidelines.

Nicole Rhoads, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian If you are interested in individual outpatient nutrition counseling, call Nicole at 610-378-2489, email NRhoads@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or schedule an appointment at 610-378-2100. Visit www.pennstatehealth.org for more information.

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