Energize Yourself and Your Family (cont.)

"It's too expensive."

There are lots of ways to be physically active that are free or low-cost. You can:

  • Find a local school park or school track where you can walk or run.
  • Walk around a mall.
  • Work out with videos in your home-you can find workout videos at bookstores or your local library.

      TIP: Most people do not need to see their health care provider before getting physically active. If you have chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, or obesity, talk to your health care provider before starting a vigorous physical activity program. You do not need to talk to your provider before you start a less strenuous activity like walking.

  • Join a recreation center or fitness center at work or near your home.
  • Walk your dog. If you do not have a dog, pretend that you do.

"Physical activity is a chore."

It can be fun! Try to:

  • Do things you enjoy, like walking, dancing, swimming, or playing sports.
  • Walk or take an exercise class with a friend or a group. This way, you can cheer each other on, have company, and feel safer when you are outdoors.
  • Be active with your kids-ride bikes, jump double-dutch, toss a softball, play tag, or do jumping jacks. Physical activity is good for them too.
  • Break it up into short blocks of time-taking three 10-minute walks during your day may be easier than taking one 30-minute walk.
  • Use your daily workouts as time-outs just for yourself.

      TIP: Keep a physical activity log. Writing down your workouts in a notebook or on a calendar lets you see how many times you have been physically active in a week. You can also use your log to track your physical activity and health goals.

Tips on Eating Better

It may be hard to eat healthy if you do not have time to cook or your kids want fast food. Try these tips to eat better, save time, and stretch your food budget:

Help Your Family Eat Well

Here are some ways that you and your family can eat better:

  • Eat breakfast every day. Try a whole-grain cereal like raisin bran with nonfat or low-fat milk, or whole-wheat toast spread with jam. Enjoy some fruit with your breakfast too.
  • Teach kids that healthy foods taste good. Make macaroni and cheese with nonfat milk and low-fat cheese. Try a peanut butter (spread thin) and jam or preserves sandwich instead of a burger and fries.
  • Choose nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese instead of full-fat dairy products.
  • Choose whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta more often than refined-grain foods, like white bread, white rice, and white pasta.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables. Keep a bowl of fruit on the table, bags of mini carrots in the refrigerator, and boxes of raisins in the cupboard.
  • Do not keep a lot of sweets like cookies, candy, or soda in the house. Too many sweets can crowd out healthier foods.

      TIP: If you cannot digest lactose (the sugar found in milk), try nonfat or low-fat lactose-reduced milk. Or try nonfat or low-fat yogurt or hard cheeses like cheddar, which may be easier to digest than milk. You can also get the calcium from calcium-fortified juices, soy-based beverages, and cereals. Eating dark leafy vegetables like collard greens and kale, and canned fish with soft bones like salmon, can also help you meet your body's calcium needs.