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Benefits of Exercise

Being physically active can improve your health in a number of ways, including:

  • Improved immune system function
  • Improved psychological functioning
  • Improved self-image
  • Helps you stay at or get to a healthy weight
  • Improved circulation
  • Helps manage stress
  • Increased energy levels
  • Decreased chance of depression
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Increased chance of living longer
  • Increased mobility
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Helps you meet new people

How Much Exercise Do I Need?

Adults should engage in at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate physical activity each week, or at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Each activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time, spreading out activities over three or more days for best results. For example, three days of vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes each day, or five days of moderate activity for 30 minutes each day, would both meet physical activity recommendations. Try to alternate between moderate and vigorous physical activities.

Examples of Moderate Physical Activity

Common Chores

  • Washing and waxing a car
  • Washing windows or floors 
  • Gardening 
  • Pushing a stroller 
  • Raking leaves 
  • Walking at a pace of 3-4.5 miles per hour 
  • Walking stairs

Sporting Activities

  • Volleyball
  • Touch football
  • Basketball 
  • Bicycling at a pace of 10 miles per hour
  • Fast social dancing
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Running at a pace of 10 minutes per mile 
  • Tennis

Examples of Vigorous Physical Activity

Common Chores

  • Chopping wood
  • Climbing and trimming trees
  • Pushing a non-motorized lawn mower
  • Shoveling heavy snow
  • Lifting or pushing heavy furniture
  • Carrying bags of groceries (or a child weighing 25 pounds or more) up a flight of stairs

Sporting Activities

  • Race walking at a pace greater than 4.5 miles per hour
  • Wheeling a wheelchair
  • Mountain climbing
  • Backpacking
  • Bicycling at a pace greater than 10 miles per hour
  • Boxing
  • Tennis
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Treading Water

For information on how much exercise is right for kids, check out Move It! Choose Your Fun!

Tips to Get Yourself Moving

Chances for physical activity are available everywhere you go! Try some of these tips to get yourself moving at various places around the home and town.

  • Zoo - Walk from exhibit to exhibit. Don't wait for the train! Avoid the crowds by starting at the back of the zoo and working toward the front.
  • Rain - Put on the rain gear, grab an umbrella, and take a walk in the rain.
  • Park - Take a frisbee and play fetch with your dog. Play catch with your child/parent. Fly a kite. Run. Jog. Skate. Bike.
  • Driveway - Ride down the driveway on your bicycle instead of in your car. Wash your car by hand instead of going to a car wash. Put up a basketball hoop and challenge the kids in your neighborhood to a game. Run in place.
  • Office - Take a brisk walk for 10 minutes before lunch. Replace coffee breaks with walking breaks. Take the stairs. Pretend the elevator is out of service. Have a "walking meeting" - grab your colleague and discuss business while taking a walk. Walk to lunch instead of driving. Burn off some of those calories on your way back to the office.
  • Mall - Take a lap around the mall each time you go to do some shopping. Park at least 10 cars away from the store or mall entrance, even if the lot is empty. Meet friends for a walk around the mall a few times each week.
  • Neighborhood - Organize a "walking pool" and have parents in the neighborhood rotate walking the kids to school. Walk your dog. Shoot hoops. Turn off the television and take an evening stroll.
  • Garden/Yard - Trade in your power lawnmower for a push mower. Use a rake to collect leaves in the fall instead of a leaf blower. Plant a garden. Trim the hedges. Uproot weeds.
  • Sidewalk - Put on your inline skates and go for a trip around the block. Instead of having neighbors over for coffee, get together for an evening stroll. Play hopscotch. Jump rope. Stroll with the baby or dog.

Back to Healthy Lifestyle TIps

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