Part 3. Keeping It Up, Stepping It Up
"My friends and I have been walking at the mall 4 mornings a week for
the past 6 months. We walk for 45 minutes each time, for a total of 3 hours a
week. Our goal is to reach 5 hours a week. Sure, some mornings it is tough to
get out of bed early to walk. But once I'm there, I am glad."
Adding more time
Already doing 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of aerobic
physical activity? Good for you! Do you want to gain even more health benefits from
physical activity? Slowly add more time to your weekly routine.
Strive to double your weekly activity time. Work to be active 5
or more hours each week. This activity level can lower your chances of
getting breast and colon cancer. Read the next section to find out how to add
Gaining more health benefits!
Advice to follow:
To get more health benefits, add more
time of aerobic physical activity.
- Try to move from 2 hours and 30 minutes of
moderate-level activities a week to 5 hours or more a
Adding more effort
Instead of doing only moderate-level activities, replace some with
vigorous aerobic activities that will make your heart beat
even faster. Adding vigorous activities provides benefits in less activity
time. In general, 15 minutes of vigorous activity provides the same benefits as
30 minutes of moderate activity.
Have you been walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week? On
2 days, try jogging instead of walking for 15 minutes each
time. Keep on walking for 30 minutes on the other 3 days.
Would you like to have stronger muscles? If you have
been doing strengthening activities 2 days a week, try adding an extra day.
Mix it up!
You can do all moderate activities, all vigorous activities, or some of
each. You should always start with moderate activities and then add vigorous
activities little by little.
To mix it up, you can try 30 minutes of biking fast to and from your job
3 days a week. Then play softball for 60 minutes 1 day. Then lift weights
for 2 days.
You've mixed vigorous aerobic activity (biking fast) with moderate
aerobic activity (softball) and activities for stronger muscles (weights).
To add more effort, try some vigorous activities (check off the ones
you will try):
- Aerobic dance
- Fast dancing
- Jumping rope
- Martial arts (such as karate)
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Riding a bike on hills or riding faster
- Swimming fast or swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
You can choose moderate or vigorous activities, or a mix of both each
Advice to follow:
You should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each
week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level.
You should do at least 1 hour and 15 minutes each
week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level.
Do it your way!
You can replace some or all of your moderate activity
with vigorous activity. With vigorous activities, you get similar health
benefits in half the time it takes you with moderate ones.
Muscle strengthening activities
Remember to also do strengthening activities on 2 or more days a
Adding more time
Strive to double your weekly activity time. Work to be active
5 or more hours each week for even more health
For Everyone: Staying Safe and Avoiding Injury
Physical activity is generally safe for everyone. People who are
physically fit have less chance of injury than those who are
not fit. The health benefits you gain from being active are far greater than
the chances of getting hurt. Being inactive is definitely not good for your
Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are active:
- If you haven't been active in a while, start slowly and build
- Learn about the types and amounts of activity that are right for
- Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
- Build up the time you spend before switching to activities that take
- Use the right safety gear and sports equipment.
- Choose a safe place to do your activity.
- See a health care provider if you have a health problem.
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