Article written by Ann Fenton (afenton1@unl.edu), Extension Educator in Pierce County.

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Maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities, however, finding time to be active can be challenging. By taking care of ourselves, we can be the kind of person we strive to be. You don’t need an hour—or even 30 minutes—to get a complete, effective workout. We can always find a few free minutes in our day. Short workouts can do wonders to both the body and mind.

If children don’t have a full 60 minutes at one time, physical activity can be broken into two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods during the day. The physical activity should be moderate (brisk walking) or vigorous (running). Suggestions for moderate and vigorous activity include:

  • Moderate - riding a bike, brisk walking and games that require catching and throwing
  • Vigorous - running; sports such as soccer, ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming or tennis; and active games requiring running and chasing, such as tag or flag football.

Ideas for Squeezing in Physical Activity:

  • Be active with friends and family. Having a support network can help you keep up with your program.
  • Schedule it in. The more regular activity you do, the quicker it will become a habit. Think of ways to link activity to daily life. For example, you could schedule walking with a co-worker after lunch.
  • Include work around the house. Get busy with yard work and other active chores around the house. Have the family help you with raking, weeding, planting, or vacuuming.
  • Work out during screen time. Watch a movie while you jog on a treadmill or download a video on your phone and watch while you ride a stationary bike. Find ways to be active during commercial breaks.
  • Be an active parent. Instead of standing on the sidelines, walk up and down the soccer, football, or softball field while the kids play their game.

Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad

  • 2 cooked chicken breast halves, dicedChicken Avacado
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 c. low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Wash hands with soap and water. Gently rub avocado under cold running water. Slice avocado in half, remove pit and dice. Mix gently with chicken in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine sour cream, black pepper, lime juice, garlic powder, onion powder and salt in a small bowl. Add to avocado and chicken. Stir to combine. Serve on whole grain bread or with whole grain crackers.
  3. Makes four servings. Each serving has 220 calories, 15 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 4 g fiber and 220 mg sodium. Adapted slightly from North Dakota State Extension.

Sources:

  1. 10 Tips: Physical Activity at Home, Work, and Play, USDA’s ChooseMyPlate
  2. 10 Tips: Be Active Adults, USDA’s ChooseMyPlate
  3. Physical Activity Guidelines, 2nd Edition: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This article has been peer-reviewed.