Poor diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use are the three leading causes of disease and early death in the US. Over time, rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes have been steadily increasing in Washington State, especially among low income and minority groups and those with lower education levels.
Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.
Scientific evidence shows that physical activity at moderate intensity keeps people healthy. Even those who have been sedentary can improve their health and well-being with regular daily physical activity. Physical activity benefits people of all ages and abilities.
Physical activity can be bodily movement of any type, including daily activities such as walking to the store, taking the stairs, or raking leaves. Physical activity may include recreational, fitness and sport activities such as jumping rope, playing soccer, or lifting.
It is important to be physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week. This can include several short bouts of activity in a day.
Things to keep in mind as you consider increasing your activity level:
Find something you like to do, such as gardening, biking, walking, canoeing, swimming, hiking, running or dancing
If your goal is to lose weight, a combination of a healthy diet and moderate to vigorous activity 60 minutes a day, five times a week, will help you be successful
Being active with a friend or as a family will help make it fun
Be consistent and set a schedule
If you have been inactive, always consult your healthcare provider before starting a physical activity program
Remember: people who are physically active live longer, have more energy, have less stress, burn more calories, and are stronger.
Biking and Walking Maps for Skagit County
Physical Activity Resources for Skagit County
Walking and Biking Trails in Washington State
League of American Bicyclists