Introduction to Physical Activity
When it comes to staying active, even moderate activity like taking the stairs can make a big improvement to your health
Benefits beyond weight loss
Regular physical activity can improve your overall health (for example, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar) and help you feel good physically and emotionally. One study found that overweight people who were physically active and fit had a lower risk of heart disease and early death than people who were thin but inactive and unfit. So, it is possible to be overweight but fit. Being physically active can also be key to maintaining weight loss.
Moderately vigorous physical activity, like walking at a brisk pace of 15 to 20 minutes per mile or raking leaves, can be all that it takes to get these benefits. If you want to start a more formal exercise program in line with your healthcare provider’s recommendations, take an aerobics class or try jogging—you can even join a gym, but you may not need anything beyond walking to get health benefits.
How much physical activity is right?
It is recommended that adults perform moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This may sound like a lot, but you may not have to do it all at once! You could spread your physical activity out during the week and break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. You may want to try 20 minutes of brushing snow off your car and 2 trips to the attic to get holiday decorations or 5 minutes digging a hole for your new plant, 10 minutes walking to the corner store and back for a gallon of milk, and 15 minutes of walking the dog. Every little bit of activity counts! Keep track of all your activity in an exercise tracker, and you may be surprised how quickly it adds up.