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Think Healthy Thursday: Active Lives Move Us Toward Better Health

Over the past 30 years we've increased portion sizes on our plates, increased the amount of high calorie fast food we eat, and we sit more as we text, tweet, surf and stream via technology. It is increasingly important to restore the balance of food we take in and the physical activity we exert.

Creating movement within an everyday routine is the most effective way to keep moving. To reap maximum benefits from moving, most people need to be active a minimum of 30 minutes a day if they are 18 or older and 60 minutes a day if they are between six and 17 years old. Be sure to exercise five or six days a week. You don't need a gym or even a class to keep moving, you just need to think about moving. Escalator or stairs? Stairs! Close parking spot or back of the parking lot? Back of the lot!

Aaron Leventhal, owner and trainer at FIT Training Studio in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, offers his take on the importance of physical activity. Leventhal draws on his experience both as a professional athlete and as a trained fitness expert. "We all need movement. At any age, movement and exercise are essential to a healthy mental and physical lifestyle. At younger ages, it's important to teach and develop these habits so they can be practical throughout life."

First Lady Michelle Obama's personal goal is to help get America's kids healthy. In February 2010, Mrs. Obama launched the Let's Move initiative, a comprehensive program designed to help kids eat healthier, move more often and to integrate all levels of community to achieve these goals.

Leventhal concurs, "The best thing to do for kids is to continue to expose them to new sports. For kids, playing a new sport should be just that, more play, less skill or about 70% play and 30% skill. This keeps kids involved and moving. Over time, they will learn skill, but the point is to peak interests and promote movement and fun. For kids who are not active in sports, exercise or movement should provide the same factors as a sport does; it should provide a form of competition and camaraderie."

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