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Importance of Physical Activity

By Maryann Birmingham

Being physically active is important for good health. Most people of all ages need to be more active; being active means moving your body! Regular physical activity helps keep the heart, lungs, muscles, bones and joints healthy. It’s recommended that adults should be active for at least 30 minutes every day. For children and teens it’s recommended for them to get 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Safety first while being active: be careful to prevent injuries. The most common injuries are to the bones, joints, tendons and muscles. Most injuries can be avoided by warming up before and cooling down after being physically active. People with heart disease or those that have had a heart attack, stroke or heart surgery should talk to a healthcare provider before participating in any type of physical activity.

Suggestions for some physical activities: walk, cycle, jog, skate, etc. to work, school or the store; park the car further away from your destination; take the stairs instead of the elevator; play with your children or pets; take fitness breaks to go for a walk-instead of taking cigarette or coffee breaks; work in the garden; dance or walk while doing errands. The options to add more physical activity to your daily routine are endless!

The benefits of being active are: Reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes; helps maintain a healthy body weight; keeps bones strong; increases energy; improves sleep and mood.

There are 1,440 minutes in every day… Schedule 30 of them for being active!

References:
President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Maryann Birmingham is a Community Nutrition Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at 631-727-7850 ext. 356 or at mab422@cornell.edu.

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