TWU Offers Little Chapel Wedding Package
Start New Year’s
Health Resolutions Before Christmas
By Nancy DiMarco,
You don’t need
to wait for Jan. 1 to begin making changes that will improve your
life in the coming year. You can take action today that will substantially
reduce your risk of developing or dying from heart disease, colon
cancer and high blood pressure. All it takes is devoting 30 minutes
of your time each day. Are you willing?
Speaking as a dietitian
and a nutritionist, I tell my classes all the time that I truly
believe that exercise is of the greatest importance when it comes
to changing the risk for lifestyle-related diseases. Nutrition is
next in importance and cannot be neglected, but without activity,
simply changing one’s diet will not achieve all the possible
Over the last 20 years,
the fitness world, led by the American College of Sports Medicine
(ACSM), has changed its recommendations about exercise to be much
more user friendly. The guidelines used to be 20 minutes of vigorous
activity at least three times per week.
Now, the Centers for
Disease Control and the ACSM recommend that everyone participate
in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
These guidelines are designed to promote the health benefits of
regular physical activity.
A moderate intensity activity is defined as 150 calories of expended
energy per day, or 1,000 calories per week. Examples include walking
briskly for 30 minutes, swimming laps for 20 minutes, washing and
waxing the car for 45-60 minutes or pushing a stroller 1.5 miles
in 30 minutes.
The total amount of daily
activity is what's important. A study conducted by the Institute
for Aerobics Research in Dallas showed that the 30 minutes of exercise
each day doesn't have to be done at one time – breaking the
exercise into three 10 minute segments is fine to promote better
The difference between
intense and moderate activities really determines whether you receive
fitness or health benefits from exercise.
The fitness benefits
of exercise include significant changes in body composition, such
as decreased body weight, decreased percent of body fat, increased
muscle mass, increased lung capacity and maximal oxygen consumption.
These benefits are of great importance if you are an athlete or
even someone who wants to challenge him or herself in an athletic
competition, such as a marathon or strength event.
In truth, there is more
health benefit for a sedentary individual embarking on a moderate
Study after study has
shown that physical activity improves health by reducing the risk
of dying prematurely, reducing the risk of dying of cardiovascular
disease, reducing the risk of developing diabetes, reducing the
risk of developing high blood pressure, reducing the risk of developing
colon cancer, reducing feelings of depression and anxiety, helping
control weight, helping build and maintain healthy bones, muscles
and joints, helping older adults become stronger and move without
falling and promoting psychological well-being.
If I were to put all
that in a bottle and sell it, I’d probably make a million
dollars but be accused of being a snake oil salesman!
Still, 60 percent of adults do not exercise regularly and 25 percent
don't exercise at all. Women exercise less than men do. And the
older a person is, the less likely he or she is to exercise.
health through physical activity is a key public health challenge
that we must hasten to meet," said former CDC director Davis
Satcher. "The stakes are high and the potential rewards are
great – preventing premature death, unnecessary illness and
disability, controlling health care costs and maintaining high quality
of life into old age.”
Dr. Nancy DiMarco
is a research professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food
Sciences and coordinator of the master’s program in Exercise
and Sports Nutrition at Texas Woman’s University. She can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Start Your New Year’s Resolutions Early
- Check with your physician
to get his clearance if you have any medical condition that would
- Exercise either in
a group or with a friend for accountability. People who exercise
together tend to keep exercising
- Start slowly and gradually
work into a regular schedule of activity
- Vary your activity
the way you vary your food – moderation, variety and balance
are all keys to enjoying physical activity
- Choose activities
you enjoy doing but be open to trying new ones – new muscles
get challenged with different activities
- Never neglect proper
fluid intake, even in cooler weather
- Join a local fitness
club or facility near you
- Use the expertise
of a qualified personal trainer (has ACSM or NSCS certifications)
to jump start your program
- Have a physical fitness
- Record your activity
for the first few months to determine how well you are adhering
to your new resolution.
For Further Information
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Tel: (940) 898-3456