Exercise: How to Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions

13. Should I eat before exercising?

Your body needs fuel for exercise and physical activities, but you should wait at least two hours after eating a large meal before exercising. Following a healthy eating plan and being physically active are keys to a healthy lifestyle. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Guidelines, a healthy diet:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars
  • Balances the calories from foods and beverages with calories burned through physical activities to maintain a healthy weight

For more on healthy eating, see Eating Well As You Get Older. Also, check out What's On Your Plate?, a nutrition resource from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.