Usually when we eat, we think about taste and satisfying hunger pangs. Often we don’t think to eat for our activity level. But, they are directly related and one of the reasons for gradual weight gain.
Inactivity and obesity
About 71% of adults are overweight and obese, according to the CDC. Obesity is an important factor because it relates to other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Although there are many contributors to the obesity epidemic, over time, our society has evolved into more sedentary ways of living and a life of convenience. Things such as fast food, drive-thrus, deliveries, game consoles, elevators, and sitting at the work desk are modern ways of sedentary living. Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more convenient to be inactive.
Eating and activity
Generally, as we age, our activity level decreases while the weight slowly increases. Without being aware of this inverse reaction happening over a period of time, eating behaviors remain the same. Modifying those eating behaviors and activity level not only help to prevent potential weight gain, but can improve heart health and diabetes.
No matter your age, the body is meant to move. The Department of Health and Human Services states that physical activity for adults should be at moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes a day per week for a health benefit.1 Anything above this time has a greater health benefit.1
Many people prefer a low to moderate-intensity activity such as walking. Doing this five days a week for 30-60 minutes a day can help with weight loss or maintain weight loss. Even walking extra steps in a parking lot or taking the stairs regularly during the day contributes to a healthy weight. Combining this activity with healthier eating helps with better overall health.
We need energy to fuel our bodies just like cars need gas to run. In this case, energy is the food we eat and one of the ways that the body uses this energy is through exercise. Although, when the body is consistently idle as in sedentary living, the excess energy from food not used is stored as fat.
What you can do
Grab a buddy to exercise together and be aware of eating behaviors. Small changes over time can lead to healthier habits. Here are a few meaningful modifications that can be made with eating behaviors:
- Snack on fresh or dried fruits and veggies. Does watching TV or sitting at work prompt you to snack? Try to reduce mindless junk food snacking.
- Drink more water. Reduce sugar sweetened drinks such as sodas and juices that add more calories to your day.
- Eat a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, grains, proteins, and dairy.
- Order a small salad instead of a side of fries when eating out.
- Physical activity guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Accessed 10/14/2020. https://www.hhs.gov/.