When you hear “physical activity,” you may picture people working out at the gym or running laps. The truth is that doing a workout routine isn’t the only way to be active. “Physical activity” actually refers to any movement that helps your body burn energy. Being physically active for at least 150 minutes each week can lower your risk for certain chronic diseases and help improve your quality of life. All it takes are a few small lifestyle changes to increase your activity level and meet that weekly goal! Walking is a simple way to incorporate activity into your life.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to add steps to your day. You can start by picking parking spots farther from buildings, going for a walk at lunch, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’re watching TV, get off the couch and get moving! Stretch while the show is on. Do some quick jumping jacks or push-ups during commercials. This will transform a sedentary evening into a more active one. Household chores are another great way to boost your activity level. Mowing the lawn, washing the car, weeding the garden, and raking leaves are all active tasks. They’re also things that might need to get done! Crossing these items off your to-do list can help you make progress toward reaching your 150 minutes of weekly activity too.
A fitness tracker can help you determine your current activity level. It can also inspire you to get moving if you’re falling a bit short. A quick glance at your tracker can give you the motivation you need to lace up your shoes and take a quick stroll around the neighborhood. Of course, “exercise”—like the laps or the gym routine mentioned above—is great, but it isn’t the only way to get moving. If you’re just getting started with increasing physical activity, it’s OK to take it slow. Start by using these tips to reach 150 minutes of weekly activity. Then you can start to build! As always, be sure to consult your physician before beginning this or any exercise program.
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- Benefits of physical activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated December 2, 2020. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/ index.htm
- Physical activity recommendations for different age groups. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated September 17, 2020. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/ physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html