Cooking Matters: Exercise!

Janna dePorter is an AmeriCorps/VISTA Member doing a year of service with Solid Ground’s Cooking Matters program, which provides classes on nutrition, healthy cooking and food budgeting for people at risk of hunger and malnutrition. This post is adapted from the Cooking Matters Seattle blog.

I hope that in these past few weeks, everyone has had the opportunity to get outside at least once and move around. In the Pacific NW, we have had some late sunny and warm weather – take advantage of it! When the weather outside is wonderful, you’d have to make up an excuse to stay indoors on the couch!

The benefits of exercise have been documented far and wide. It can help boost your mood, keep weight down, keep diabetes at bay, improve your fitness level, increase muscle and bone mass while decreasing fat mass, and make you feel great all around.

The USDA recommends that adults get 30 minutes of physical activity a day and that kids get 60 minutes a day. It may seem like a lot of time, but it really isn’t! Think about how many minutes there are in a day: 1,440. Certainly you can move around for at least 30 of those minutes. It does not have to be intense exercise either; moderate activity (enough to make it somewhat difficult to talk) is sufficient, and the 30 minutes do not have to occur all at the same time. You can break them up into three 10-minute segments if that makes it more manageable and likely that you will do it.

It’s also important to incorporate some strength training so that you don’t lose muscle. I like to count carrying groceries from the store to my home (about a 10-minute walk) as a good arm workout. Sometimes I even lift the grocery bags up and down and pretend that I’m doing bicep curls. Anyone who has volunteered with us knows that carrying all of the supplies from our cars to the classroom certainly counts as weight lifting!

Some suggestions for getting more physical activity:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go for a walk after dinner
  • Park further away from your destination so that you walk more
  • Do something fun like dancing
  • Ask a friend if they would like to go for a walk instead of going to a café to catch up

Some great “getting active” resources:

Now get out and do something active!

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