Being physically active is important for your health. Adults who are physically active are less likely to develop some chronic diseases than adults who are inactive. Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities can benefit from a physically active lifestyle.
- Start activities slowly and build up over time
If you are just starting physical activity, build up slowly. This will help to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
- Get your heart pumping
For health benefits, do at least 2½ hours each week of physical activity that requires moderate effort. A few examples include brisk walking, biking, swimming, and skating. Spread activities over the week, but do them at least 10 minutes at a time.
- Strength-train for health muscles and bones
Do strengthening activities twice a week. Activities that build strength include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, working with resistance bands, or heavy gardening.
- Make active choices throughout the day
Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, or park further away from work and walk.
- Be active your way
Mix it up—there are endless ways to be active. They include walking, biking, dancing, martial arts, gardening, and playing ball. Try out different activities to see what you like best and to add variety.
- Use the buddy system
Activities with friends or family are more enjoyable than doing them alone. Join a walking group, attend fitness classes at a gym, or play with the kids outside. Build a support network—your buddies will encourage you to keep being active.
- Set goals and track your progress
Plan your physical activity ahead of time and keep records. It’s a great way to meet your goals.
- Add on to your active time
Once you get used to regular physical activity, try to increase your weekly active time. The more time you spend being physically active, the more health benefits you will receive.
- Increase your effort
Add more intense activities once you have been moderately active for a while. You can do this by turning a brisk walk into a jog, swimming or biking faster, playing soccer, and participating in aerobic dance.
- Have fun!
Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.
The tips featured in this blog post were developed by the USDA. For more information, visit myplate.gov.