Why you should make physical activity a regular part of your routine

Why you should make physical activity a regular part of your routine
Choose activities that you enjoy and that you can do regularly. Some people prefer activities that fit into their daily routine, like gardening or taking extra trips up and downstairs. Others prefer a regular exercise program, such as a physical activity program at their work-site. Some do both. The important thing is to be physically active every day.

Most adults do not need to see their healthcare professional before starting to become more physically active. However, if you are planning to start a vigorous activity plan and have one or more of the conditions below, consult your health care professional:

  • Chronic health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, or obesity  
  • High risk for heart disease  
  • Over the age of 40 for men or 50 for women.

Examples Of Physical Activities For Adults

For at least 30 minutes most days of the week, do any one of the activities listed below—or combine activities. Look for additional opportunities for other activities that you enjoy.

As part of your routine activities   

  • Walk or bike ride more, drive less.  
  • Walk upstairs instead of taking an elevator.  
  • Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the remaining distance.  
  • Mow the lawn with a manual mower.  
  • Rake leaves.  
  • Garden.  
  • Wheel self in a wheelchair (if wheelchair-bound).  
  • Push a stroller.  
  • Clean the house.  
  • Do exercises or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.  
  • Play actively with children.  
  • Take a brisk 10-minute walk in the morning, at lunch, and after dinner.

As part of your exercise or recreational routine  

  • Walk.  
  • Bicycle.  
  • Swim or do water aerobics.  
  • Play racket sports.  
  • Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).  
  • Canoe.  
  • Play basketball.  
  • Dance.  
  • Take part in an exercise program at work, home, school, or gym.

Health benefits of physical activity

Compared with being very sedentary, being physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week reduces the risk of developing or dying of heart disease. It has other health benefits as well. No one is too young or too old to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity.
Two types of physical activity are especially beneficial:

  • Aerobic activities. These are activities that speed your heart rate and breathing. They help cardiovascular fitness.  
  • Activities for strength and flexibility. Developing strength may help build and maintain your bones. Carrying groceries and lifting weights are two strength-building activities. Gentle stretching, dancing, or yoga can increase flexibility.

Health Benefits Of Regular Physical Activity

  • Increases physical fitness  
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints  
  • Builds endurance and muscular strength  
  • Helps manage weight  
  • Lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes  
  • Helps control blood pressure  
  • Promotes psychological well-being and self-esteem  
  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety

To get these health benefits, adults need a moderate amount of physical activity for a total of at least 30 minutes most days of the week, and children need at least 60 minutes per day.
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