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Physical activity on a regular basis is beneficial to everyone’s health! Physical activity is defined as anything that gets your body moving. Each week, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week. Start slowly if you’ve never been active before. Even 5 minutes of physical activity is beneficial to one’s health! Once you’ve mastered it, gradually increase the level of activity.

Benefits of Physical Activity

Physical activity increases the likelihood of living a longer life. It can also help with:

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight.
  • Reduce your “bad” cholesterol while increasing your “good” cholesterol.
  • Prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

And that’s not all. Being more active can:

  • Improve your sleep by boosting your mood.
  • Improve the health of your bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Reduce your chances of developing depression.
  • Reduce your risk of falling and the pain associated with arthritis.
  • Assist you in having fun and feeling better about yourself

Physical activity is beneficial to people of all ages and shapes and sizes. Even if you’re out of shape or haven’t been active in a long time, you can find activities that suit your needs.

Health Conditions

If you are overweight or obese, becoming more active can help you stop gaining weight and lower your risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes. Physical activity can help you manage a health condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Consult your doctor about the best types of exercise for you.

You can find safe and enjoyable ways to be active if you have a disability. Aim for two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. These include activities that cause your heart to beat faster, such as fast walking, wheelchair walking, swimming, or raking leaves. Begin slowly and do your best. Even 5 minutes of physical activity is beneficial to one’s health. You can gradually progress to more. If you can’t get 2 hours and 30 minutes per week, squeeze in as much as you can.

Getting Started

If you haven’t been active before, begin slowly and gradually add new activities. Do them longer and more frequently after a few weeks or months. You can serve as an example for your children and other family members. Encourage your entire family to get outside and be active — go on a hike or organize a family soccer game.

Physical activity can include a wide range of activities! Find activities that you enjoy. Play tennis or basketball, go to a yoga or martial arts class, or simply dance in your living room. Inviting your friends to join you is a good idea. Everyday activities can have a significant impact on one’s health. You may:

  • Go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood
  • Ride a bike to work — or just for fun
  • Do push-ups during commercial breaks in TV shows

Track Your Progress

Keep track of your physical activity — either by writing it down or by using an app. Enter your goals and track your weekly activities. Count the number of steps you take with a fitness tracker. And as you become more active, you will be able to set higher goals!

Keep in mind that it’s not all or nothing. Even 5 minutes of activity is preferable to none! See if you can squeeze in 5 minutes of activity before or after work or dinner — whatever works best for you.

Challenge Yourself

Any amount of physical activity is preferable to none. However, increasing physical activity can boost health benefits. Here are some ideas for incorporating more activity into your daily routine:

  • Be active for longer periods of time each time — for example, if you walk for 30 minutes three days a week, try adding 10 minutes each day.
  • Increase your physical activity — if you ride your bike to work two days a week, try making it four days a week.
  • Examine your weekly schedule. Put a few extra times in your calendar to fit in some activity.

In general, 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity equals 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. Instead of walking for 30 minutes, try jogging for 15 minutes — you’ll get the same health benefits in half the time!

Activities You Can Do

Do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities to reap all of the health benefits of physical activity.

  • Aerobic activities cause you to breathe more deeply and your heart to beat faster. Aerobic activity is exemplified by fast walking.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities strengthen your muscles. Lifting weights, using resistance bands, and performing push-ups are some examples.

Use these resources from health.gov to learn more about physical activity for:

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