Ask A Nutritionist: How Can I Increase My Physical Activity?

Categories: Blog, Health Check

Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist and volunteer at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic. Prior to joining the Clinic, she served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP).

It’s summertime and there’s no time like the present to make physical activity a regular part of the day. The key is to make changes to your lifestyle by increasing your general level of activity throughout the day. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Start slowly. Begin with five to ten minutes if you have not been active at all and build up with small steps. To improve your health, try to aim for 30 minutes of activity a day. You can break it up into 10 minutes at a time. To lose weight you want to work up to 45-60 minutes a day. If you have certain health issues, talk to your doctor about the type and amount of exercise that is right for you.

Make time in your day for physical activity. Take a brisk walk at lunch or walk the dog before and after work. Do yard work, wash the car, work around the house or play with your children. March in place during TV commercials instead of eating.

Look for ways to fit more activity into your day. Do chair or desk exercises, walk up the steps, park farther away from the store. Ask family and friends to join you. Form a walking group with your neighbors or co-workers. Play with your children or just pump up the music and dance. Go for a hike or bike ride.

Remember you don’t have to join a gym or run a road race to be active. Set a goal –make it reachable and specific. For example, “I will walk for 10 minutes with my neighbor 3 days this week,” and increase this goal when you can do it comfortably. Keep it interesting by doing something different every few days. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing. So get moving and enjoy better health!

Looking for a new healthy recipe for summer? Try this Chicken And Bulgur Salad with Peaches.

Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016.  Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 299 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, James, & Wadmalaw Island or Folly Beach. You can follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.