USDA Dietary Guidelines: Easy Ways to Start Exercising

Adding Muscle and Balancing Calories

Exercising doesn't come naturally to most people. Here are a few more tips on exercising to get you started on the path to a healthy lifestyle:

Add More Muscle

Since muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue, you want more of it. Increased muscle mass will use up more calories, making it easier for you to lose weight and keep it off. Toned muscles make you look more trim even before you lose all the pounds. Upper arms look firmer and less flabby. Toned muscles in your lower abdomen help trim the tummy, making it appear flatter as the fat disappears. No one has to go to a gym to get toned muscles. You can improvise weights and other gym equipment right in your own home.

Other muscle-adding tips include:

  • Use large-size cans of food as small hand weights. As you can handle more weight, use milk jugs.
  • Use bags of frozen vegetables as weights draped across your ankles as you do leg lifts. Be sure to clearly mark these particular vegetable bags as your weights so that you don't inadvertently eat them. After partially thawing many times, they won't be good to eat.
  • Keep hand weights next to the couch, and make TV time strength-training time, too.
  • Buy a good-quality jump rope, and use it often for a heart-pounding workout.
  • Keep sports and play equipment by the door, ready to put to use.

Keep Calorie Balance in Mind

So you did it, you overate some of those discretionary calories in the form of a giant piece of cheesecake at the party. You knew it was loaded with calories, but you just couldn't resist. Don't beat yourself up about it. Instead, beat a path to some extra activity. If you eat more than you intend to now and then, you can always bring your calorie scale back into balance by adding some extra physical activity. By either increasing the duration or intensity of your activities, you can burn more calories.

  • Be proactive. If a holiday or special event is approaching and you know you may eat more than usual, add 10 minutes of extra physical activity to your daily routine for a week or more in advance.
  • Or, increase the intensity of your normal physical activity routine. Either way, you'll be balancing your calorie scale in advance.

One of the keys to any healthy diet is good amounts of exercise. With the right attitude and approach, you can make the USDA Dietary Exercise Tips work for you.  See the next page to see how to maintain your new exercise plan.


This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.