How To Start A Physical Activity Routine

Physical activity is a vital part of staying healthy. It can help you reach and stay at a healthier weight. It helps you burn fat, and build stronger muscles and bones.

Physical activity can also help prevent heart disease, cancer, and stroke, lessen feelings of depression, and boost confidence.

But how much physical activity does a person need?

The experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say that adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity.

But, if you’re not used to being active, that may not be possible at first. You can start with just a few minutes each day and work your way up to 150 minutes each week. As you get stronger, you can add even more.

To get started …

Talk with your health care provider. If you have chronic health concerns or injuries, your health care provider can help you figure out which activities will work best.

Then, write down an activity goal. Start with something small that you know you can reach. Be specific. For example, decide to do 30 minutes of a certain activity four days a week for four weeks.

Aim for a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, like walking and yoga, or swimming and weight training.

Get the right gear. Make sure you have proper shoes, clothes, and safety equipment for your activities. The right gear can prevent injury.

Make a list of fun activity choices. Having several different activities that appeal to you will help keep you interested and more likely to stick with exercising. You might like activities such as…

  • Exercise classes

  • Gardening

  • Taking regular walks in the morning, at lunch, or after dinner

  • Playing catch with your kids

  • Riding a bike

  • Swimming laps or doing a water exercise class

  • Lifting weights

  • Taking stairs instead of using elevators or escalators.

Once you’ve picked out some things you’d like to do…

Create an activity calendar. Plug in activities for each week and post it somewhere you can see it.

Then you can …

Track your progress. Wear a pedometer or use a website or smart phone app to track steps or miles, or keep a log of your activities.

Reschedule, don’t cancel. If something comes up and you have to miss an activity, plug the activity into a new time slot.

Make it social. Invite friends or family to join in on your activities.

Set new goals and challenges to keep you motivated, such as creating a contest with your family members or friends.

To get started on your routine… remember these 5 Quick Physical Activity Tips

  • Check with your health care provider first

  • Get the right gear

  • Pick something you WANT to do

  • Use simple challenges to keep you motivated, and

Don’t give up!

So …

Whether you’re thinking about starting a new physical activity plan or just ready to jump in and go… now you know how!