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Healthful Eating and Physical Activity Everyday
Provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health

Good nutrition is vital to your health. It is even more effective when coupled with regular physical activity. A physically active lifestyle offers many rewards -- from heart health to strong bones to stress relief.

Study after study shows that people who follow healthful eating plans and stay physically active are more successful at losing -- and keeping off -- extra pounds of body fat. In fact, physical activity along with a healthful eating plan appears to be the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

How can physical activity help you manage your weight and enhance your body image?

* Physical activity burns energy. The longer, more frequently and more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you burn. Whenyou burn more than you consume, your body uses its energy stores and you lose weight.

* Physical activity helps you keep muscle and lose body fat. Without exercise on a weight-loss diet, you lose lean body tissue along with body fat.

* Physically active people have more lean body mass. Even when you're not moving, lean body mass requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue. So at the same weight, you may be able toconsume slightly more calories without gaining weight than someone with more body fat.

* Physical activity speeds up your metabolism for up to 12 hours, even after you stop. You'll burn more energy even at rest.

* Physical activity can help relieve stress.

* Many people who become more physically active opt for foods with less fat, fewer calories and more complex carbohydrates.

For weight control, you don't need to be an exercise fanatic with strenuous daily workouts to get the benefits. Step aerobics or pedaling away on a stationary bike may not be right for you. That's OK, because moderate, consistent physical activity can do the job. In fact, any activity you enjoy and stay with can be the right one for you. If you make exercise enjoyable, you're more likely to stick with it.


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