By Dylan Bailey, MS
The end of April is approaching and the start of May means warmer temperatures and that we’re one month closer to the official start of summer!
May also marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a time when we have the opportunity to raise awareness about the health benefits of physical activity and let others know about fun and enjoyable ways to get moving.
Just about everyone can benefit from regular physical activity in their lives1,2:
Children and Adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health. It’s recommended that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
Adults and Older Adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. For older adults, it can also lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like learning and judgment skills). It’s recommended to get 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity activity and to do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity, which involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
While it can be tricky to fit in the recommended amount of physical activity, you might start by trying things you can do with others, like taking a walk after dinner or going for a bike ride. For more tips on increasing physical activity, check out resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services3.
Nutrition and Physical Activity
What’s really important to keep in mind about being active, is that nutrition is just as important and helps with an overall healthy lifestyle. The food you eat is truly the fuel for your success!
To get the most out of your fitness or sports activities, try sticking to an eating pattern with healthy carbohydrates (like whole grain breads and pastas and low-fat or fat-free yogurt/milk, fruits and vegetables), plenty of water for hydration and lean sources of protein. You’ll also want to make sure you pack healthy snacks ahead of your activities for energy and/or recovery. Fruits are a great option!
After physical activity, you’ll want to refuel your body with plenty of fluids. Try diluting fruit juice with water for a simple post-activity drink. Generally, you’ll also want to stick to getting some carbohydrates and protein to kick-start the recovery process. Let’s take a look at a few before and after exercise meals.
If in the morning is when you’re active, try this Secret-Ingredient Green Smoothie. Why? It’s got healthy carbohydrates, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, to power you in the pre-dawn hours. It’s portable too, so you can bring it wherever you go!
A perfect meal-prep option, Vegetable Fried Rice can be made in advance and easily pre-portioned for post-exercise nutrition. Replace the leftover rice in this recipe with brown rice to get more whole grains and try adding an extra egg for additional protein, especially if you’re going to be eating this after exercise.
Fiesta on a Plate
Lean protein, veggies and international seasonings make for a simple, yet flavorful weeknight meal. Try these Lime and Cumin Chicken Tenders with Fiesta Rice before you head out on your evening walk or bike ride! Make sure to stick to the recommended serving size to avoid overeating before walking.
Try the recipes above and for more ideas visit Libby’s® Recipe Box.
1 May: National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/MayToolkit.aspx
2 Current Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/policies_practices/physical_activity/guidelines.htm
3 Help a Loved One Get More Active: Quick tips. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/help-a-loved-one-get-more-active-quick-tips