Why Exercise is Good for You | Kentucky Nutrition Education Program

Get Moving

Ways to Increase Your Physical Activity

When it comes to physical activity there can be a lot of questions – What type? How much? How long? Read on for some answers on why exercise is good for you to help get you started.

Why do I need to be physically active?

Being physically active is important to your health. The more inactive you are, the more likely you are to develop certain diseases.

What are the types of physical activity?

Aerobic activities make you breathe hard and your heart beat faster. Aerobic activities can be moderate or vigorous in their intensity.

During moderate physical activity, you can talk while you do them, but you can’t sing. Moderate exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming, and mowing the lawn.

During vigorous physical activity, you can only say a few words without stopping to catch your breath. Vigorous exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing.

Muscle-strengthening activities include things like push-ups, sit-ups, and lifting weights.

Bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, are especially important for children and adolescents. These activities produce a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength.

Balance and stretching activities reduce the risk of injuries. Examples are tai chi and yoga.

How much physical activity do I need?

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. It’s best to spread out the exercise over a week, so that works out to 30 minutes a day for 5 days of moderate activity.

Do I have to do it in one go?

No! Even shorter amounts of time add up. If you don’t have time for a 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. What’s most important is that you make moving a part of your life. Visit Adding Activity to Your Daily Life for ideas. You’ll find that those small ideas really add up!

What else should I know about moving?

It’s really important to try to reduce the amount of time you sit during the day. The more hours you sit, the higher your risk for health problems – even if you reach the physical activity goal. Try standing every hour and moving your arms or taking a short walk around your workplace.

How should I start?

Slowly! If you are just starting physical activity, begin slowly and build up. Doing so will help prevent injury. After a few weeks, you can try doing the activity for longer periods of time or more frequently. Be sure to check with your physician before you start a new program.

Do what feels good for you! There is no one right way of being physically active. Enjoy what you are doing and you will keep with it over time.

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