Dietary Guidelines Explained: Physical activity

"Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight."

 “Sit less and move more” is the message of this guideline – and it’s a crucial one. Those “sedentary activities” we need to reduce are sitting at the computer, sitting in the car, sitting in front of the TV – in fact any “activity” in which our bodies are not really active.

“Engage in regular physical activity” means exercise for around 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Of course, we hear this message repeatedly. And yet…most of us still don’t act on it!

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that exercising regularly does not have to mean going to the gym. A 15-minute walk to the bank at lunch time, and 15 minutes playing ball with your kids in the evening will do it. Try these other tips for getting enough exercise:

  • Use a pedometer. A pedometer attaches to your waistband or belt and records the number of steps you walk each day. 10,000 steps per day is the target for getting a good amount of exercise
  • Instead of driving, walk or cycle whenever you can
  • Encourage your kids to play outside instead of sitting in front of the TV – and then join in
  • Take up a new “active” hobby, such as dancing, tennis, or rollerblading