With the holiday season upon us, it's a good time for people to think about their New Year's resolutions and start getting back in shape. Business and community leaders, take note: This is the perfect time of year to promote well-being. Help the people in your communities set and achieve fitness goals and better manage stress by motivating them to get more exercise and to optimize their nutrition. Here’s how:
Move It!Encourage your community to follow the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Adults are advised to do both of the following to see health benefits:
- At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time
- Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week
Good Nutrition for Healthy LivingHelp your community choose a healthy eating plan by leading them to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines emphasize:
- Adopting a healthy eating lifestyle that you can implement throughout your lifespan.
- Focusing on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within your caloric needs.
- Consuming fewer foods with added sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats.
- Being aware of less healthy foods and beverages, and choosing healthier nutrient-dense options.
- Helping to make and support a healthy nutrition lifestyle for yourself, your family and your community.
Fitness at the Office Pays OffMany jobs nowadays require prolonged sitting, which has been linked to neck and back pain, as well as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. When people are active at work, it not only improves their health, but their increased alertness will make them more productive employees. Some companies promote fitness and stress management, with gyms on the premises or areas for lunchtime yoga or meditation classes. But even without these facilities, people can exercise at the office, even getting in some cardio (a session as short as 10 minutes is effective). Some ways to get moving at work include:
- Muscle-strengthening and flexibility exercises at the desk to limber up and improve posture.
- Stationary cardio activities such as marching or jogging in place.
- Having walking meetings.
- Using a phone headset and walking while talking.
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Using breaks as fitness breaks, going outside for a brisk walk or walking up and down flights of stairs inside the building.
Keep it Up!Help people find the motivation to stay on track to healthy living and make fitness and good nutrition a part of their lives.
- Suggest USDA’s SuperTracker – a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan that helps people stay on target by tracking their food intake and exercise.
- Become an active community: Make it easier for people to walk or bike on your streets. This doesn’t just improve people’s fitness level, but your community becomes a better, safer place to live – and you can reap the environmental and economic benefits!