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Tips for Getting More Active Minutes

Mother and daughter walking

Between work, school, errands, volunteering, and family commitments, finding time for physical activity can be challenging. If that describes you, remember that some movement is better than none! Even small bouts of physical activity provide some health benefits.

Walking more is an easy way for most people to add physical activity to their day. Try these tips and see how fast the minutes add up.

  • Instead of sitting and waiting while your child is at sports practice, walk around the field.
  • Walk your dog a little farther than you normally do.
  • Find a convenient path near your home or work. Set specific times to walk there and walk to routine destinations.
  • Host a virtual walking meeting. Walk and talk over work problems with your co-workers for the first 20 minutes.
  • Make a walking date with a friend or family member. Skip the flavored coffee and do a loop around a park or the neighborhood instead.
  • Take a walking lunch break. Keep walking shoes and socks in your car or filing cabinet.
  • If you normally walk outside but the weather is bad, head to the local mall for a climate-controlled walk.
  • Stop circling parking lots looking for a close spot. Park further away and walk briskly to your destination. You could get a few more minutes of physical activity by walking around the entire parking lot before going inside.
  • At airports, walk to your concourse [PDF-2.35MB] instead of taking a shuttle or tram.

Getting Started

Start slowly and work up to being physically active 150 minutes a week. You might split that into 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. See examples of weekly physical activity schedules for adults and come up with a plan that works for you. Using a physical activity diary [PDF-571KB] might help.

Eventually, you will want to walk at a moderate intensity pace. That means you’ve raised your heart rate and broken a sweat. In general, at moderate intensity, you can talk, but you can’t sing.

Finding time to be consistently physically active is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. Being physically active can help you feel better immediately, and regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and some cancers. Start with a few extra minutes of physical activity today, then add a few more minutes tomorrow, and soon you’ll reach the goal of 150 minutes a week.

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