This information explains the physical and mental health benefits of being active. You don’t need a formal exercise routine to be active.
By Getting Enough Physical Activity, You Can
- Lower your stress.
- Improve your mood.
- Lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
- Raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
- Help you prevent and control diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
While at Home
- Clean your home.
- Walk or play with your pet.
- Walk around or lift weights while watching television.
- Do some gardening or outdoor chores.
When You’re Out
- Get off the subway 1 or 2 stops before your usual stop. Walk the rest of the way.
- Go for a walk.
- Park a distance from where you’re going. Walk the rest of the way.
- Walk during lunch.
- Exercise in your chair.
- Stand while you eat, talk, or read.
- Take the stairs.
Make a Plan You Can Follow
Talk with your healthcare provider about your plan to increase your physical activity. Once you know what’s safe for you, make a plan.
Think about a few things to try. We have some examples below. You can try these, or you may have other ideas. Mixing it up can be helpful. Write down what you plan to do for the week. Keep your list where you can see it as a reminder. Keep in mind there are 2 types of exercise that most adults need to stay healthy:
- Aerobic activities make you breathe harder and get your heart beating faster. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking or dancing. That’s about 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
- Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Examples include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups. Aim to do these types of activities 2 days a week.
Pick a date to start. It may be helpful to tell a close friend or family member. You can even invite them to be your exercise partner.
Get started. Take it slow, especially if you’re new to being active.
- Start with 10 minutes of activity at a time and work your way up to 30 minutes at a time. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a day 5 days a week is best for your health. It’s OK to take your time building up to that. Every bit adds up.
- Walking, dancing, and riding a bike are usually moderate-intensity activities. If you’re breathing hard but can still talk easily, you’re doing a moderate-intensity activity.
- If you’re already physically active, you might try 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.
- Running, fast bike-riding, and jumping rope are common vigorous activities. If you can only say a few words before you have to take a breath, you’re doing vigorous physical activity.
Reward yourself at the end of the week. When you reach one of your goals, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation by reading or watching your favorite TV show. Do something with friends and family that makes you happy. You deserve a reward for all your hard work.
You can also reward yourself after each exercise by taking a few minutes to enjoy the good feelings that exercise gives you. Tracking your goals and planning your rewards each week can help you stay motivated to exercise.
Set goals for next week. You may want to just repeat what you did last week, or increase or change your goals. Think about where you want to be. Plan goals about how to get there.
Benefits of Physical Activity (CDC)
Los beneficios de la actividad física (CDC)