Physical activity involves moving the body. Being active and maintaining a healthy weight are needed for good health. Both benefit health in different ways.
People of all ages can improve health and fitness by including moderate amounts of physical activity in their daily lives. A moderate physical activity is any activity that requires about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes, such as rowing, cycling, vacuuming, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
Don't attempt to go from "couch potato" to world-class athlete in one weekend.
Start with a modest amount of exercise most days and build up to the recommended levels.
Check with your doctor before beginning a strenuous exercise program.
It is never too late to benefit from a regular exercise program. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Aim to include 30 – 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. You can do the activity all at once, or split it up into short bouts.
- To have additional fitness benefits, increase the intensity of the activity.
- Try to add a warm-up before starting exercise and finish at a slower pace to cool-down. Include stretching in your activity plan.
- Find an activity that you enjoy that can be easily added into your life.
- Find other people to exercise with for support and encouragement.
- Track activity on a chart or calendar to check how often and how long you are exercising. Use a pedometer to track steps; discuss goals with your health care provider.
- Build activity into your daily life – take the stairs, park away from buildings, walk in place while listening to radio or watching TV.
- If you have questions about your ability to exercise, check with your health care provider before starting a program.