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Community Diet and Nutrition Services

Find your balance: tips for increasing physical activity

Make physical activity a regular part of the day

Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy—such as taking a brisk 10-minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop or subway station. Or, join an exercise class.

Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days. What’s important is to be active most days of the week and make it part of daily routine. For example, to reach a 30-minute goal for the day, walk the dog for 10 minutes before and after work, and add a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Or, swim three times a week and take a yoga class on the other days.

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of the activity at a time. Shorter bursts of activity will not have the same health benefits. To be ready any time, keep some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office.

Ways to increase physical activity

At home

  • Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement. Push the baby in a stroller.
  • Get the whole family involved—enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids.
  • Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.
  • Walk the dog—don’t just watch the dog walk.
  • Clean the house or wash the car.
  • Walk, skate or cycle more, and drive less.
  • Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower.
  • Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.
  • Play with the kids—tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle or dance to favorite music.
  • Exercise to a workout video.

At work

  • Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk or skate the rest of the way.
  • Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.
  • Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.
  • Join the office softball or bowling team.

At play

  • Walk, jog, skate or cycle.
  • Swim or do water aerobics.
  • Take a class in martial arts, dance or yoga.
  • Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).
  • Canoe, row or kayak.
  • Play racket ball, tennis or squash.
  • Ski cross-country or downhill.
  • Play basketball, softball or soccer.
  • Hand cycle or play wheelchair sports.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Most important – have fun while being active!

Courtesy ChooseMyPlate.gov

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