Part 2. Making Physical Activity a Part of Your Life
"I started taking a 45-minute water aerobics class with a group of
women from church. It's really a lot of fun, and I am getting in shape. I
started out going 2 days a week, and now my goal is to make it to all 3 classes
Congratulations! You are doing some regular physical activity each week
and are ready to do more. You may be feeling the benefits of getting active,
such as having fun with friends, sleeping better, and getting toned. Are you
looking for ways to do more activities at a moderate level?
Here are 2 examples for adding more activity
- You can do more by being active longer each time.
Walking for 30 minutes, 3 times a week? Go longerwalk
for 50 minutes, 3
times a week.
- You can do more, by being active more often. Are
you biking lightly 3 days a week for 25 minutes each time? Increase the number
of days you bike. Work up to riding 6 days a week for 25
minutes each time.
Tip: If you have not been this active in the past,
work your way up. In time, replace some moderate activities with vigorous
activities that take more effort. These are explained in detail in
Activities for stronger muscles and bones
Advice to follow:
Adults should do activities to strengthen muscles and
bones at least 2 days a week.
Choose activities that work all the different parts of the
bodyyour legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms. Exercises
for each muscle group should be repeated 8 to 12 times per session.
Try some of these activities a couple of days a week:
- Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling)
- Lifting weights
- Push-ups on the floor or against the wall
- Working with resistance bands (long, wide rubber strips that
Tip: Some people like resistance bands because they
find them easy to use and put away when they are done. Others prefer weights;
you can use common grocery items, such as bags of rice, vegetable or soup cans,
or bottled water.
For best success
- Team up with a friend. It will keep you motivated and be more
- Pick activities that you like to do.
- Track your time and progress. It helps you stay on course. Fill in
these forms to help set your activity goals.
Before you know it, you'll be able to do at least 2 hours and 30
minutes of activities at a moderate level each week.
- Add in more strength-building activities over time. For example, you
can do sit-ups or push-ups.
"My son and I play in a baseball league twice a week. On the days we
play, I sleep much better at night. This makes me want to do more on other
days. My son wants to lift weights together, and so we got some weights and
work out in the basement."
Planning your activity for the week
Physical activity experts say that spreading aerobic activity out over
at least 3 days a week is best. Also, do each activity for at least 10 minutes
at a time. There are many ways to fit in 2 hours and 30
minutes a week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity
each day, for 5 days.
On the other 2 days, do activities to keep your muscles strong. Find
ways that work well for you.
Want to learn more about how to add physical activity to your life?
- Join a fitness group.
- Talk to your health care provider about good activities to try.
- Speak to the worksite wellness coordinator at your job.
- Visit www.healthfinder.gov
and type "activity" in the search box.
Tip: To learn how to avoid injury, see
top of page
This graphic notice,, means that you are leaving the health.gov site and entering a non-Federal Web site. View full disclaimer.