Physical activity is one of the most important keys to health and wellness.
Benefits of regular physical activity:
- Promotes a healthy heart
- Builds strength and increases flexibility
- Stress reduction
- Promotes mental and emotional health
- Prevents chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some cancers
- Maintain mobility and reduce pain for people with arthritis
- Builds positive body image
- Weight maintenance or weight loss
How much is enough?
- For adults: 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
- For guidelines for children and older adults, click here
- These guidelines are a MINIMUM – More time = more health benefits!
- For additional benefits, you can include some more vigorous activity (see below).
What counts as physical activity?
- Moderate activity can include brisk walking, bicycling with few hills at slower speeds, yard work/gardening, water aerobics, etc.
o You should be working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, while still able to carry on a conversation
- Vigorous activity includes jogging, bicycling fast and/or on hills, lap swimming, and sports like basketball or soccer.
Making it happen!
- You don’t need to have a 30 minute block of time to be active – break it up into 10- or 15-minute sections throughout the day.
- Look for ways to build activity into your life:
o Walk or ride a bicycle for errands or to work/school
o Make it a family activity: go for a walk or bike ride after dinner, play in the park – get active together!
o Take the stairs instead of the elevator
o Park at the far end of the parking lot
o If you’re at the mall, or a big grocery store, walk an extra lap around the store before starting your shopping
- Find a buddy: someone to walk or run with, or someone to meet at the gym
- Click here to get the Be Active Your Way guide to get started.
Did you know?
Sources and for more information:
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
Physical Activity for Everyone (from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control)