Being Active: A Little Goes a Long Way

Want to reduce your risk of breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes? Want to look good and feel better? Well, don’t just sit there—grab your tennis shoes and get moving! Starting an exercise routine doesn’t have to be hard.  Even small amounts of activity throughout the day can add up to real health benefits!

It’s recommended that everyone be active for at least 30 minutes a day on five or more days of the week. This is over and above the usual things you do each day, like walking to and from your car.

Whether you set aside time to exercise or do short bursts of activity throughout your day, the most important thing is to get up and get moving!

So How Much Activity Should You Be Doing?

That depends on you. If you haven’t been active, you should start with moderate activities and gradually increase the length, frequency and intensity as you become more fit. Work you way up to at least 30 minutes or more five or more days a week.

If you are active, but want to do more, increase the intensity, length or frequency of what you currently do. Moderate to vigorous activity for 45 minutes or more five or more days a week will increase your health benefits.

If you are active and want to maintain your current level of fitness, try adding new activities to your routine to use different muscle and keep your interest.

Look for easy ways to add more activity throughout your day—take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further away from the door at your office, the mall and the grocery store.

Active Substitution

Don’t think you have time to add physical activity to your day? Consider simple substitutions. Think about how much time you spend sitting versus being active. Are there ways to replace sitting with moving? For instance:

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk or bike to your destination.
  • Be active at lunch with your coworkers, family, or friends.
  • Take a 10-minute activity break at work to stretch or take a quick walk.
  • Walk to visit a coworker instead of sending an email message.
  • Go dancing with your spouse or friends.
  • Plan active vacations rather than driving trips.
  • Wear a pedometer every day to see how you can increase your steps.
  • Join a sports or recreation team.
  • Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV.
  • Plan your activity routine to gradually increase the days per week and minutes per session.