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NDSU Extension Family
Nutrition Program
By Trisha Jessen, NDSU Extension Educator

There are 1,440 Minutes in Every Day, Schedule 30
for Physical Activity

As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, I begin to lose interest in evening walks. It could be easy to turn on the television right after supper and cozy myself under a blanket until bedtime. Although this seems quite relaxing, I know that our bodies actually crave movement. Adults should strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and children should get a minimum of 60 minutes each day.

Aerobic and recreational activities help strengthen your heart and lungs and boost your immune system. This exercise helps protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also help manage a healthy body weight. Muscle strengthening activities, such as using hand weights, help keep you fit so daily activities are easier. Strengthening also helps keep bones strong. Flexibility activities, such as stretching, help keep your muscles and joints moving easily. Stretching can help prevent falls in the elderly.

Itís important to note that when we exercise we actually boost our energy levels. Often times I hear people say they are too tired to work out when, in fact, the activity itself creates energy.

Donít fret, all this moving about doesnít have to take place at one time. Ten minutes of vacuuming counts toward the dayís total. Sometimes our job keeps us active, but many workers remain quite idle behind a counter or at a desk. Be creative and find fun ways to get moving. If you are bored with walking, mix it up to provide enjoyment. Signing up for dance or yoga classes would help combat the winter blues while adding all the physical benefits of exercise.

Sometimes change requires motivation. Find a friend or include the whole family to join in the fun. It helps to make a goal and reward yourself once the goal is reached. The sense of accomplishment can fuel your desire for more.

As always, talk with your doctor before increasing or beginning new physical activities if you have any health concerns. By choosing a blend of activities that you enjoy, you are keeping your one and only body in tip top shape. For more information, visit

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