Hi there! My name is Julie Knopp and I am a Dietetic Intern at Virginia Tech, working this month with the Family Nutrition Program. I would like to talk to you about something near and dear to my heart: Exercise. Physical activity. How do you feel when you hear those words? Do you feel a sense of guilt or dread? Or perhaps you feel satisfied knowing that you are already getting regular activity in your daily life. Whatever the case may be, exercise is an important part of life. It doesn’t matter if the exercise is intense or moderate, short or long. Anything counts! Once you start exercising, your body will change to become faster, stronger, and healthier.
However, a lot of people are not used to exercising every day. For the typical American, whether they are a child or an adult, their day consists of sitting. Sitting in school, at work, driving in the car, sitting in front of a computer or TV, etc. Because of all this sitting, their body has responded by cutting down on how much muscle they have, how fast they can move, how much energy they need, etc.
Our bodies adapt to whatever environment we choose to place them. Whether it is active or sedentary, our bodies will respond accordingly. Likewise, if we exercise even a little bit, our bodies will adapt and become a little bit more efficient at moving and burning energy. Basically, your body is able to change however much you would like it to change.
I say this as a challenge, and not a threat. How do you want your body to change? Do you like it where it is?
The USDA recommends that children and teens should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Adults should do at least 150 minutes per week, or about 21 minutes per day. Whatever your starting point is, your body will quickly adapt to any changes you make to your activity level and you will reap the numerous benefits of exercise. These include improvements in body shape, heart health, mental health, and many, many more! What are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!