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Fitness and Nutrition in Men

Fitness

What Physical Activity Can Do For You

If you think you're too tired or busy to exercise, then maybe you should think about these three things:

Steps You Can Take to Get Moving

Talk to your health care provider before you start any physical activity if you:
  • have heart disease or had a stroke or are at high risk for them
  • have diabetes or are at high risk for it
  • are obese (body mass index of 30 or greater)
  • have an injury (like a knee injury)
  • are older than age 50


Nutrition

Having a healthy diet is sometimes easier said than done. Between work or school, and family you are probably balancing a hundred things at once. Having a healthy meal sometimes falls last on your list. But you should know that it isn't hard to make simple changes to improve your diet. A little learning and planning can help you find a diet to fit your lifestyle.

Why Have a Healthy Diet?

Obesity in Americans is on the rise. About 35 percent of us weigh more than we should for good health. Obesity is measured with a body mass index (BMI), which shows the relationship of weight to height. (Click here to figure out your BMI). As your body mass increases, so does your risk for serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. Your body mass is affected by how much physical activity you do, your diet, and your genes. So having a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to help your overall health. If you burn as many calories as you take in, your weight remains the same. If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. So make sure the foods you eat are healthy ones that will work hard for your body.

Basic Steps to a Healthy Diet

There are some basic steps to good nutrition that you can easily build into your lifestyle. It doesn't hurt that these steps also help you reduce your risk for heart disease - the #1 killer of men. You can do this by having a diet that:

Know Your Fats

There are different kinds of fats in our foods. Some can hurt our health, while others aren't so bad! Some are even good for you! Here's what you need to know:

Portion Control

Sizes for everything from bananas to soft drinks have gotten larger in the past 20 years. It's not enough to eat the right kinds of food to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight. Eating the right amount of food at each meal is just as important. If you are a healthy eater, it is possible to sabotage your efforts by eating more than the recommended amount of food. A serving is a specific amount of food, and it might be smaller than you realize. Here are some examples:

No matter which diet you choose, be sure to talk with your health care provider first, before starting any type of eating plan. You might want to ask your provider for a referral to a registered dietician (RD) who can help you. You might also want to enlist the help of a family member or friend to give you support and help you stay on track. Try to have some fun learning new recipes and different ways to cook!

Making Sense of Nutrition Terms
We see these terms all the time, but what do they mean?
(These definitions are based on one serving of a food. If you eat more than one serving, you will go over these levels of calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.)

Calorie-free: fewer than 5 calories
Low calorie: 40 calories or fewer
Reduced calorie: at least 25% fewer calories than the regular food item has
Fat free: less than ½ gram of fat
Low fat: 3 grams of fat or fewer
Reduced fat: at least 25% less fat than the regular food item has
Cholesterol free: fewer than 2 milligrams cholesterol and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat
Low cholesterol:
20 milligrams or fewer cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat
Sodium free: fewer than 5 milligrams sodium
Very low sodium: fewer than 35 milligrams sodium
Low sodium: fewer than 140 milligrams sodium
High fiber: 5 grams or more fiber