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You are now making choices about many areas of your health. Although your parents or other adults make decisions about some of the food you eat, you are making many of your food choices--especially snacks. You also can make decisions about how much physical activity you get. The responsibility to maintain your good health will soon be yours alone.
The great things eating well and exercising regularly can do for you!
- Feel better about yourself
- Be healthy
- Grow as tall as you are supposed to be
- Think better and do better in school
- Be the best you can be in activities I enjoy
- Be in a better mood
- Sleep better
- Have more energy to do all the things you want to do
Food Feeds Your Body and Brain
- fruits and vegetables
Skin and Hair
- lean meats
- dairy foods
- legumes (such as red and black beans)
- orange juice
- lean meats
- dairy foods
- legumes (such as lentils, pinto, or refried beans)
- peanut butter
Bones and Teeth
- legumes (such as white beans)
You've heard the term "nutrition" all your life. The food-fitness connection is what it's all about. In a nutshell, nutrition is how food nourishes your body. And, being well nourished depends on getting enough of the nutrients your body needs--but not too much.
The SuperTracker food guidance system created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture can help you assess your eating habits and physical activity. It presents guidelines for making healthy food choices and being active every day. Use SuperTracker to create your own personal eating and activity plan.
Along with making healthy eating choices, you need to do plenty of physical activities to have a strong body. You should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. When it comes to physical activity, it all adds up! Short periods of time (for example, 10 minute blocks or bursts) throughout the day can help you reach the daily goal. Making physical activity part of your daily routine can be fun! There are lots of ways to get moving.
Outdoor Fitness Fun
It can be great to be outside and being active in the great outdoors makes the experience even more special. Try these fitness-fun activities: Go rollerblading or explore a local park. Wash your family car or walk someone's dog. Mow a lawn with a push mower, paint a fence, rake some leaves, or shovel some snow. Get together with your friends and shoot some baskets. Go skateboarding or play street hockey.
You Can Keep Moving, Even Indoors
If the weather keeps you indoors, you can still keep moving. For example:
- Play some music and dance. Dancing is a fun way to move.
- Play an interactive computer or video game.
- Do more than one thing at a time. Do some exercises when watching television. Do stretches while talking on the phone.
- Do some chores. Cleaning your room uses as many calories in a minute as a relaxed-pace bike ride. Vacuuming and scrubbing the floor burn even more calories.
Ten Ways to Get Physical
- Set up a jump rope contest.
- Walk more, ride less as often as you can.
- Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.
- Play a game of tag, kickball, or softball.
- Make a snowman or go sledding or skiing.
- Go in-line skating or bike riding (remember to wear your safety equipment).
- Go miniature golfing with your friends or family.
- Host a neighborhood bike wash or better yet, wash the dog.
- Canoe, row, or kayak.
- Go swimming.
- Wear comfortable clothing and footwear when you exercise.
- Do simple stretches to loosen up the muscles before you exercise.
- If you can talk while you are doing a physical activity, you're probably moving at a pace that's right for you. If you are too breathless to talk, slow down. And if you can sing, you may not be working hard enough.
- Don't overdo it! Stop when you get tired.
- Take deep breaths and cool down after you exercise.
- Drink plenty of water during and afterwards to replace fluids that your body loses when you exercise.
Your life is filled with many choices! A single choice may seem small but, if it's made over and over, it can have a major impact on your health--and your life!
Choices about what you eat and how much you move all add up. Choose wisely and live well!
Prepared by Julie Haines, former assistant coordinator, Nutrition Links program.