Getting Started with Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. If you’re ready to get the immediate benefits of better sleep, reduced anxiety, and lower blood pressure, here are ways to get started:
- Look for ways to reduce time sitting and increase time moving. For example, make it a tradition to walk before or after dinner.
- Set aside specific times to make physical activity part of your daily or weekly routine. This diary [PDF-571KB]might help.
- Start with activities, locations, and times you enjoy. For example, you might like morning walks in your neighborhood; others might prefer an online class after work.
- Try activities with others in your household for motivation and mutual encouragement.
- Start slowly and work your way up to more time or more challenging activities.
- Use free apps and websites to find fun ways to be physically active or new places to put some variety in your activity routine.
- Federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week for adults. You might split that into 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
For many people, walking is a great way to become more active. See ideas on how you can begin and how your community can help:
- American Heart Association: Walking –Take the First Step
- Resources for how to support walking in communities
People with chronic conditions may want to talk to their doctor about the right types and amounts of physical activity. Examples of chronic conditions are heart problems, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Ways to Overcome Obstacles to Physical Activity
As you start thinking about ways to become more active, the obstacles might seem hard to overcome. Try these strategies:
|I don’t have time to be physically active.||
|I don’t have anyone to go with me.||
|I’m so tired when I get home from work.||
|I have so much on my “to do” list already, how can I do physical activity too?||
|I’ll probably hurt myself if I try to be more physically active.||
|I’m not coordinated.||
|I can’t learn something new at my age!||
|My job requires me to be on the road; it’s impossible for me to be physically active.||
|I have small children and it’s impossible to have time to myself for physical activity.||
|Also see Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity.|