Regular physical activity and healthful eating are the keys to good health.
Benefits of physical activity
Regular physical activity (PDF) helps you:
- You reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Lower your risk for chronic disease such as coronary hear disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer.
- Control blood pressure.
- Reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
- Improve muscle strength and flexibility.
- Build and maintain bones and joints.
- Prevent arthritis and relieves arthritis pain.
- Reduce the risk of falling among older adults.
Recommendations for all ages
The following guidelines are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re worried you won’t have enough time, break your activity up into smaller amounts of time. Remember, any amount of activity is better than none.
60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week.
Limit screen time
The amount of time children spend in front of a screen can affect their weight and their readiness to learn. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children younger than 2 have no daily screen time. Children older than 2 should have no more then 2 hours of screen time each day. Below are some things you can do to reduce screen time:
- Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours a day for children older than 2.
- Don’t put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom.
- Turn off the TV during family mealtime.
- Watch TV together as a family and talk about what children are watching.
- Play together as a family; walk, bike, or play ball.
- Set a good example by limiting your screen time.
Cardio or aerobic activities
Choose one of the following:
- 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day (such as brisk walking) most days of the week.
- 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (such as jogging or running) 3 days a week.
Resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities
2 days a week, incorporate strength training activities, such as weight lifting into your routine.
Adults 65 years and older
Cardio or aerobic activities. Choose one of the following:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week.
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week.
- An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities - 2 or more days a week work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Learn how to measure physical activity intensity.
Stay active as you age
Keeping active during your senior years is very important. Maintaining good strength and flexibility improves energy and mental alertness, reduces aches and pains and risks of falling. A healthy lifestyle allows seniors to stay independent, spend more time with family and friends and be active outside of their home.
Make exercise easy
Fitness doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be easy and fun and you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment. Walking is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to get fit. But there are plenty of other ways to be active. Here are some ideas:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Take a walk during your break or lunch.
- Have walking meetings.
- Park the car further away from your destination and walk.
- Take a family walk after dinner.
- Walk the dog.
- Play a sport.