Becoming Physically Active

For the beginner, one way to be more active is to do more "everyday" activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching or taking a walk during breaks at work, and spending less time watching television and working on the computer. Also, try spending more time doing activities such as gardening, household chores, pushing a stroller or wheelchair, yard work, ironing or cooking, and playing a musical instrument.

The next level would be light activities, such as slow walking, garage work, carpentry, house cleaning, child care, golf, sailing, and recreational table tennis.

Once comfortable with this level, try adding more moderate activities such as faster walking, weeding and hoeing a garden, carrying a load, cycling, skiing, tennis, and dancing.

For example, you can start out walking slowly a total of 20 minutes for 3 days a week and gradually build to 45 minutes or more of fast-paced walking. By doing this, you can use 100 to 200 more calories per day. This plan can be used with other types of physical activity, but walking a popular because it is safe and convenient.

High intensity or vigorous activities include very fast walking or walking with a a load uphill, tree felling, heavy manual digging, basketball, climbing, or soccer/kickball.

You may also want to try
Flexibility exercise to improve joints and muscles
Strength-building or resistance exercises
Aerobic conditioning

If structured group activities are what you need to help you stay physically active, try joining community recreation programs, the YMCA, or a health club. You can find a variety of activities for all fitness levels and budgets.

The key to success is to choose activities that you enjoy.

You can have fun and feel healthier by doing any of the following:
Walk or ride a bike in your neighborhood
Join a walking club at a mall or at work
Play goilf at a local club
Join a dance class
Work in your garden
Use local athletic facilities
Join a biking or hiking club
Join a softball team or other sports team with coworkers, friends, or family
Chase your kids in the park.
Walk your dog
Take a walk during your lunch break

Fitting Activity Into Your Schedule

Many people are completely inactive, and they all have reasons such as:

I don't have the time to exercise.
While physical activity does take time, only 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week gives benefits to your heart, lungs, and muscles. Although 60 minutes of moderate activity is recommended for weight loss, you don't have to do it all at once. You can break it up into smaller chunks such as 20 minutes, three times a day. Consider the amount of time you spend watching TV. Also, many forms of physical activity can be done while watching TV, such as riding an exercise bike or using hand weights.

I don't like to exercise.
You have bad memories of doing situps or running in high school, sweating, puffing, and panting. Now we know that you can get plenty of gain without pain. Activities you already do such as gardening and walking can improve your health, so just do more of the activites you like.

I don't have the energy to be more active.
Once you become a little more active, you should have more energy. As you progress, daily tasks will seem easier.