National Nutrition Month: Your way, every day.

NNM2013It was already mentioned in a previous post  that March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Eat right. Your way, every day.” As Donna pointed out, the theme is a bit confusing and may lead people to believe that eating “their way” means that they should just eat whatever they want, whenever they want. I doubt this is what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics meant to convey with their message. Instead, I believe the message is intended to remind the public that they should choose healthy foods and beverages that they like and that fit into their lifestyle, heritage, schedule, etc. There are no right and wrong ways to eat healthy, as long as you stick to basic guidelines and practice moderation. I’ve been mulling over this theme in my mind all month, and so, with just a few days left in March, I’d like to add my own interpretation of the message to pair with Donna’s “Lighten Up!” idea.

And so I present this second alternative to the National Nutrition Month theme:

“Just Move! Your way, every day.”

This recommendation is nothing new. In fact, it may seem a bit generic, and to be honest, it is! But sometimes it’s good just to go back to basics and remind ourselves of the simple health guidelines for everyday life.

You might also be thinking to yourself that it’s not even a nutrition recommendation… and in a way you’re right. While it doesn’t address actual food consumption (see Donna’s post for more on that!), I think that it’s equally important to think about the calorie-burning side of the weight control equation.

This is especially relevant for those who are still working on their New Years’ resolutions to slim down and get ready for beach weather, or for those who would like to improve their aerobic fitness levels. Exercise helps you lose weight and build muscle, not to mention its role in staving off chronic diseases.

So while you should certainly focus on eating healthy in a way that suits your personal situation, I also think it’s critical to find a workout plan that works for you, your way, every day. This plan will obviously be different for every person or family, and it will vary from one age group to another, but here are some basic tips to get the ball rolling.

  • Do some form of physical activity every single day. Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk or 100 jumping jacks, the important thing is to get moving!
  • Exercise on your own schedule. If you can’t devote 30 minutes to a solid bout of exercise, then consider shorter bouts, but do them several times per day.
  • Alternate between individual workouts and group activities. Sometimes it’s nice to just be alone and exercise at your own pace, but other times you’ll benefit from the encouragement and motivation of having others around!
  • Find a workout buddy who will hold you accountable and will encourage you to stick to your workout plan, even on days when it’s raining (or, as in my case, snowing!).
  • Try something new! Don’t let yourself get bored with your exercise routine. Switch up your activities to get some variety and prevent burnout. Even professional athletes add in some cross training into their workout routines every once in a while!
  • Remember to eat healthy pre- and post-workout snacks that fit into your personalized, healthy diet! You don’t want to go to the kitchen and negate all of that hard work you just put in, do you?
burning calories without fancy gym clothes

burning calories without fancy gym clothes

Note: If you’re struggling to come up with your own workout ideas, here are a few of my favorite go-to cross training activities:

  • Online workout videos, which you can get for free on Hulu or Youtube. They range from simple walking exercises to total-body calisthenics.
  • Hiking or walking in a nearby park or forest.
  • Doing a few laps of the office each day to say hi to coworkers.
  • Using a set of hand weights at the desk to do arm raises and wrist curls. (Silly, yes, but if you do it a few times per day then you’ll be amazed at the results!)
  • Biking to the grocery store or on other errands when the weather permits.
  • Doing calisthenics and stretches during the commercial breaks of favorite TV shows. Playing a game of Frisbee in the front yard.

 

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