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Staying Active

Your Physical Activity Plan

​​​Staying active means you’ll be healthier, have more energy, meet new people, and feel better about yourself. In sports, winning teams make a game plan to win. When you want to make a change, like getting active, you also need a plan to help you succeed.

Setting Goals

Remember, don’t expect too much, too soon. If you haven’t been active for 10 years, you can’t expect to run a marathon after a few weeks of exercise. Here are some tips to help you set goals that you’ll be able to reach.

  • Think about how much time you need and when you can be active each day.
  • Ask your family and friends to support you.
  • Find out if you have a neighbour, friend, or co-worker who would like to join you.
  • Find out about easy, fun ways to be active close to your home and work.

It’s a good idea to think about your goals, so you can get to where you want to be. Lots of people find SMART goals helpful.


For example, your goal might be going for a brisk, 30-minute walk, 5 days a week, all year long. This goal is a SMART goal because it lets you decide when you’ll walk (in the morning, during your lunch break, or after you’ve put your children to bed). It’s also ensures that you’ll do enough walking to make it worthwhile, and you can take 2 days a week off.

Safety First

Make sure it’s safe for you to exercise. Being active is safe for most people, but if you’re not sure, do the Get Active Questionnaire to see if you need to talk to your health provider before you start.

Staying safe means wearing the right gear, including:

  • comfortable shoes, runners, or boots
  • clothing that’s right for the weather (layers are a good idea in cool weather)
  • sunscreen and a hat (even when it’s cloudy)
  • safety gear such as a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards (when needed)

It’s important to drink fluids when you’re active. Drink about 2 cups (500 mL) of fluid, 2 hours before you exercise. Then drink enough fluid while you’re exercising to replace the water you lose from sweating.

Water is okay to drink if you’re exercising for less than an hour. If you’re doing intense exercise for longer than an hour, drink sport drinks or juice mixed with water. These drinks give you sugar and salt, which you lose during exercise.

Get Help from Your Friends

When setting up your physical activity plan, remember that it’s easier to be active if the places where you live, work, or go to school support being active. For example, it will help ​you stick to your plan if you:

  • have friends and family members who are active
  • live in an area where it’s safe to walk, bike, and play
  • have places to be active close to where you work or go to school
  • have walking and biking trails, parks, and playgrounds in your area, which are well lit and safe
  • know what activity to do and how to enjoy it
  • can afford to take lessons, go to facilities, or join clubs

When you’re trying to be active, encourage others to be active at your school, work, and in your community.​

Current as of: October 24, 2018

Author: Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Health Services