Let’s Get Moving!

Let’s Get Moving!

Physical activity is vital for all individuals. Everyone can benefit from being physically active throughout their lives. Physical activity helps to reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Chronic conditions may be manageable by regular physical activity. Being active can help people maintain a healthy body weight as they age or help people lower their body weight, if needed, when paired with a healthy diet. Physical activity can help with balance, which reduces the risk of falling and lessens the risk of injury if a fall does occur.

Socialize and stay on track with your wellness goals by exercising with others.
Photo credit: UF/IFAS Photo Library

How much physical activity is recommended? Some activity is better than none—small amounts of daily exercise like walking, folding laundry, grocery shopping, and gardening benefit health. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Moderate-intensity exercise increases heart and breath rate, but the person should still be able to maintain a conversation. Vigorous-intensity movement causes you to become out of breath and unable to hold an entire conversation. It is important to know that exercise is most beneficial spread throughout the week, for example, brisk walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Some people do not have time to set aside a 30-minute block during the day to walk and choose to do 10 minutes at a time three times a day, which counts for 30 minutes of exercise that day!

Physical activity can benefit overall health, including mental health. Grab a friend or two and plan to meet up a couple of times each week to socialize and exercise together. Group exercise can be a great way to maintain healthy relationships and physical health. Research indicates that people with an accountability partner tend to stick with their exercise goals longer than those who do not have an exercise partner. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans also recommend that adults should do at least two days per week of muscle-strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights and resistance training. You do not need fancy equipment; you can use food jars, cans of soup, milk jugs, etc., as your weights. Also, you can use your body weight for resistance training, such as push-ups, squats, and planks. When doing muscle-strengthening exercises, it is essential to work out all major muscle groups each week, including the legs, back, chest, and hips.

Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program. It is also essential to keep a few safety tips in mind: be aware of your surroundings, dress for the weather, stay hydrated, and ensure the area is well-lit to avoid fall or trip hazards.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans | health.gov

Meet Jefferson County’s New Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Meet Jefferson County’s New Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Melanie had a blast teaching kids about building a healthy plate at the 2022 Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA.
Photo source: Kendra Hughson

My name is Melanie Southerland, and I am the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Jefferson County. I started in my position on August 1, 2022. I come from Taylor County, FL where I grew up and still live today. I love living and working in a rural community. I bring my passion for health and wellness promotion and knowledge of social determinants of health, aiming to reach all areas where people live, work, play, and worship. Health is comprehensive; it includes physical health, emotional health, mental health, and financial health. In Jefferson, I will be focusing on providing education and resources for improving healthy lifestyles and food safety practices as well as improving economic well-being.

I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Science and Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Florida State University. I bring experience from working with the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program for the last five years where I served as the Nutrition Program Manager for five rural counties in northeast Florida.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our family. I enjoy walking my dogs, reading, and fishing!

Please feel free to reach out to me by email at melmcafee@ufl.edu, or call our office at (850) 342-0187.  Please follow our Facebook page: UF/IFAS Extension Jefferson County.