Physical activity and nutrition

Physical activity and nutrition work together for better health. For example, physical activity increases the amount of calories you use. For those who have intentionally lost weight, being active makes it easier to maintain the weight loss. However, 30 minutes of activity daily may not be enough to lose weight or maintain weight loss. Read the preceding guideline “Aim for a Healthy Weight,” for more information about weight management.

Physical Activities

Physical activity and nutrition work together in more ways than weight management. By increasing the calories you use, it also is easier to get the nutrients you need. Physical activity and nutrition work together for bone health, too. Calcium and other nutrients are needed to build and maintain strong bones, but physical activity is needed as well.

Help children be physically active 

Children and adolescents benefit from physical activity in many ways. They need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Parents can help:

  • Set a good example. For example, arrange active family events in which everyone takes part. Join your children in physical activities.  
  • Encourage your children to be physically active at home, at school, and with friends by jumping rope, playing tag, riding a bike.  
  • Limit television watching, computer games, and other inactive forms of play by alternating with periods of physical activity.

Physical Activities For Children And Teens

  • Aim for at least 60 minutes total per day  
  • Be spontaneously active.  
  • Play tag.  
  • Jump rope.  
  • Ride a bicycle or tricycle.  
  • Play actively during school recess.  
  • Roller skate or blade.  
  • Take part in physical education activity classes during school.  
  • Join after-school or community physical activity programs.  
  • Dance.
  • Older people need to be physically active too 

Older persons also need to be physically active. 

Engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, and take part in activities to strengthen muscles and to improve flexibility. Staying strong and flexible can reduce your risk of falling and breaking bones, preserve muscle, and improve your ability to live independently. Lifting small weights and carrying groceries are two ways to include strength building into your routine.

Advice For You

  • Engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.  
  • Become physically active if you are inactive.  
  • Maintain or increase physical activity if you are already active.  
  • Stay active throughout your life.  
  • Help children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.  
  • Choose physical activities that fit in with your daily routine, or choose recreational or structured exercise programs, or both.
  • Consult your health care professional when starting a new vigorous physical activity plan if you have heart disease or a related health problem. 
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