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Being physically active means doing any kind of activity that gets your body moving.
The types of physical activity that can help you get fit and stay healthy include:
Reaching a balance between these three types of physical activity is important because each one contributes to your overall fitness.
Being active is one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps you to:
Start slowly. Make it your long-term goal to get at least 2½ hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
Pick activities that you like—ones that make your heart beat faster, your muscles stronger, and your muscles and joints more flexible. If you find more than one thing you like doing, do them all. You don't have to do the same thing every day.
Get your heart pumping every day. Any activity that makes your heart beat faster and keeps it at that rate for a while counts.
Here are some great ways to get your heart beating faster:
Even some household chores can be aerobic—just do them at a faster pace. Vacuuming, raking or mowing the lawn, sweeping the garage, and washing and waxing the car all can help get your heart rate up.
Strengthen your muscles during the week. You don't have to lift heavy weights or grow big, bulky muscles to get stronger. Doing a few simple activities that make your muscles work against, or "resist," something can help you get stronger.
For example, you can:
Stretch your muscles often. Stretching will help you as you become more active. It can help you stay flexible, loosen tight muscles, and avoid injury. It can also help improve your balance and posture and can be a great way to relax.
Be sure to stretch the muscles you'll be using when you work out. It's best to warm your muscles slightly before you stretch them. Walk or do some other light aerobic activity for a few minutes, and then start stretching.
When you stretch your muscles:
If you're worried about how more activity might affect your health, have a checkup before you start. Follow any special advice your doctor gives you for getting a smart start.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: October 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Heather Chambliss PhD - Exercise Science
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