Exercise tops dietary standards
Making exercise a priority ranks as the most important change to the new federal dietary guidelines. Gone are the days when 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week ruled. Now 30 minutes per day most days of the week is the minimum to prevent chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease. To prevent weight gain the guidelines suggest 60 minutes of exercise on most days. And for those wanting to lose weight, the suggested amount of physical activity is up to 90 minutes a day on most days.In Colorado, which ranks 51st in obesity, and is one of the more active states – “the best of the worst,” according to a study by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health – this might not be as much of stretch.
Brian Magee, a Glenwood Springs resident, said these government guidelines align fairly closely to what he does each week. He said that he works out five to six times a week, for at least one hour and up to a day on the weekends.”If I don’t go out for an hour I don’t feel like I’ve done anything,” Magee said. Magee was navigating the indoor rock-climbing wall at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, which is one of his staple wintertime activities to prepare for the summer rock-climbing season. What exercise Magee gets depends on the season. Besides climbing he does Bikram yoga, snowboards, runs, ice-climbs and goes snowshoeing. “The day doesn’t seem right if I don’t work out,” he said. The key for him is that all of his activities are ones that he enjoys.
Magee was not alone at the community center, which was fairly busy with people swimming in the pool, walking the track, and using cardio machines and weights. A day at Sunlight Mountain Resort brings lots of locals to the ski slopes, so it seems that many people in the Roaring Fork Valley are active.Even so, for many who have a family, work full time or work two jobs, getting 90 minutes a day of exercise seems impossible.”I used to work out 90 minutes a day, five to seven times a week,” said Kerri Binns, of Rifle. Binns is now just starting to think about incorporating 30 minutes of exercise into her day again. At her mom’s urging, she decided make exercise a part of her life again since high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are part of her genetics.The new dietary guidelines also stress counting calories and choosing foods packed with nutrients. The guidelines stress the choice of foods and beverages low in added sugars.Another change is the old standard – five vegetables and fruits a day – increased. Now you’re supposed to eat more whole fruits – not juices – and veggies, especially dark green and dark orange ones such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, winter squash and peas.
Another recommendation increases the two glasses of low-fat milk to three glasses so you get enough calcium in your diet.Finally, the recommendations suggested eating at least 3 ounces of whole-grain foods daily. Binns said her own eating habits would rate an F. “I don’t know where I go wrong. When I go to the store I plan out wholesome meals. Last week we bought ingredients for 15-bean soup and a tuna soufflé, for example. But during the week it goes wrong,” she said.For instance, one habit that she and her family would like to break is the once-a-week fast food dinner at places such as KFC. She also knows that she has to work on planning out what she’s going to eat.
“Trying to lose weight you have to keep a food diary,” she said.In the next few months the U.S. government will unveil its new food pyramid, which might not be a pyramid at all. Then it will be up to individuals whether to change their eating habits. Magee doesn’t eat out more than once a week. “First of all, you can’t eat out. There’s no way to eat out and eat healthy,” he said. The rest of his diet is fairly balanced, with carbs, lean meats and whole-grain foods. Magee has developed what works for him, and said, guidelines aside, that it must become a priority to change your habits and make healthy choices. “It has to be important enough to you to get exercise and eat three square meals a day,” he said.”It has to be important enough to you to get exercise and eat three square meals a day,” he said.
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