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Healthy Activity

Department of Health in Lee County

  •  239-332-9501

    Mailing Address

    3920 Michigan Avenue 

    Fort Myers, FL 33916 


    TTY users can contact us through Florida Relay by dialing 7-1-1 or one of the other Relay Toll Free Numbers. 

Step UP! To Good Health!

Having an active lifestyle is great for your heart. Your physical activity should get your heart rate into your target heart rate zone for at least 30 minutes, on most days. Start slowly, aiming for the low end of your target heart rate zone.

Age   (Years)

Target   Heart Rate Zone

Average   Maximum Heart Rate


100-170   beats per minute

200   beats per minute


98-166   beats per minute

195   beats per minute


95-162   beats per minute

190   beats per minute


93-157   beats per minute

185   beats per minute


90-153   beats per minute

180   beats per minute


88-149   beats per minute

175   beats per minute


85-145   beats per minute

170   beats per minute


83-140   beats per minute

165   beats per minute


80-136   beats per minute

160   beats per minute


78-132   beats per minute

155   beats per minute


75-128   beats per minute

150   beats per minute

Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.
Note: A few high blood pressure medications lower the max heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you are taking such medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to use a lower target heart rate.

Defining Overweight and Obesity
Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

Body Mass Index          Calculate your BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a height to weight ratio that is a way to tell if you are at a healthy body weight. While BMI is accurate for most people, it does not work for everyone. It is important to remember that:

  • You could have a high BMI but be at a weight that is      considered healthy if you are muscular or athletic.
  • You could have a normal BMI and have poor nutrition.
  • At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than      men.

What are the health consequences of overweight and obesity for adults?
The BMI ranges are based on the relationship between body weight and disease and death. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high LDL cholesterol, low      HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, but is not the only factor to consider when aiming for good health. The food choices we make each day affect us today and for years to come. We can form good eating habits to help us feel strong and full of energy. There are six kinds of nutrients in food:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Find The Fun in Fitness.

Think about what you already like to do—and look for ways to make those activities more physical. 

If you like to read, take a brisk walk to the library.  If you love the nightlife, head for a dance club.

If you enjoy spending time with your family, play with your children.  If you enjoy outdoors, work in your garden.

If you love spending time with your dog, turn his daily walk into your workout.

Social time with friends can be activity time.  Go bowling.  Play tennis.  Try golf. Take a hike.  Go kayaking.

Take a class.  Try Hula or Belly Dancing.  Learn to Line Dance.

How Much Is Enough?

The Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that kids and teens participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week7 days is best.

30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on 5 or more days of the week can make a difference in adult health.

Check with your health care provider before you begin and before you increase your activity if you have been inactive for a long time, or have health problems.

Any amount of regular physical activity is better than none at all. Every bit counts! In addition, physical activity does not have to be strenuous or exhausting to be beneficial. 

It is best to start modestly, and build based on your fitness level. 

You can add up 10 to 15 minutes here and there to meet your total

The more intense the activity, the less time you need to get your physical activity quota. For example, 20 minutes of jogging or running is about equal to 45 minutes of walking.

Step Up! To Good Nutrition

Mix up your choices within each food group.

  • Focus on fruits.      Eat a variety of fruits—whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—rather than      fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you      will need 2 cups of fruit each day (for example, 1 small banana, 1 large      orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches).
  • Vary your veggies.      Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy      greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and      winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans,      black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.
  • Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low fat or fat-free milk—or an      equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1½ ounces of      cheese equals 1 cup of milk)—every day. For kids aged 2 to 8, its 2 cups      of milk. If you do not or cannot consume milk, choose lactose-free milk      products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
  • Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads,      crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1      cup of breakfast cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see      that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as      "whole" in the list of ingredients.
  • Go lean with protein.      Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. And vary      your protein choices—with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it is important to understand the connection between the calories your body takes in (through the foods you eat and the beverages you drink) and the calories your body uses (through normal body functions, daily activities, and physical activity).
There is a right number of calories for you to eat each day. This number depends on your age, activity level, and whether you are trying to gain, maintain, or lose weight. You could use up the entire amount on a few high-calorie foods, but chances are, you wont get the full range of vitamins and nutrients your body needs to be healthy.

Eat healthy by including a variety of complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber in your daily diet. Whole grains, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dry beans and peas are all good sources.

  • Chose foods low in saturated  fat and cholesterol. Avoid Trans fat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Choose foods that are low in sodium and sugar.
  • Make sure to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day.

Finding a Balance
Becoming a healthier you is not just about eating, it is also about being active. The important thing to remember is that there must always be a balance. Calorie balance is like a scale. To remain in balance and maintain your body weight, the calories consumed (from foods) must be balanced by the calories used (in daily activities and functions).

Estimated amounts of calories needed to maintain energy balance for various gender and age groups at three different levels of physical activity.

The estimates are rounded to the nearest 200 calories and were determined using the Institute of Medicine equation.



Activity   Level























Sedentary means a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

Moderately active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life

Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, inin addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.      Source:

Although food and proper eating habits are essential to life, food alone cannot make you truly healthy.  Being active is also fundamental in maintaining a well body and healthy lifestyle.   —Live Well to Feel Well