Exercise can be a challenge for individuals who are already overweight,
but it’s worth the effort health wise. Physical activity is fundamental
in warding off illnesses such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes,
and it gets our endorphins flowing, improving mood and energy levels.
But according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s
National Center for Health Statistics, only 20.3% of Louisiana adults
are getting the recommended amount of exercise, which falls below the
US average of 23%. This lack of exercise contributes greatly to the obesity
rate in Louisiana, where nearly one out of every four adults is considered obese.
If you’re an adult between the ages of 18 and 64, you should be engaging
in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of
vigorous physical activity each week, as well as muscle-strengthening
exercises about twice a week. Shorter sessions of 20 to 60 minutes each
work better for some individuals. To increase your physical activity,
start by making a few simple lifestyle changes: park your car further
away from the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or agree
to be the family’s designated dog walker. Once you start losing
weight, the more activity you’ll be able to do.
Some examples of moderate physical activity include walking at about 3
miles per hour, household chores such as vacuuming or mopping, biking
at 10 mph or slower, and ballroom dancing. Examples of vigorous physical
activity include jogging and hiking, swimming laps, jumping rope, mowing
the lawn, and heavy gardening. Be sure to include at least a 5-minute
warm up to prepare your muscles for vigorous activity, a stretching phase
to minimize the chance of injury, and a cool-down phase to dissipate body
heat and reduce the risk of cardiac stress.
An easy way to estimate the difference between moderate and vigorous activity
is the “talk test.” If you are doing a moderate intensity
activity, you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you are doing a
more vigorous activity, you should not be able to say more than a few
words without taking a breath.
Mary Thomas, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Bluebonnet Family Clinic
Phone: (225) 757-6031
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