Physical activity is important to help keep you healthy. Moving your body often can prevent or delay chronic diseases. It can also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, get better sleep, keep your mind sharp, and make life feel better overall. It’s one of the best things you can do for your well-being!
There are many types of physical activity:
Spontaneous Activity (NEAT)
You don’t just burn calories with planned exercise. Walking to your car, taking the stairs at work, sweeping your floors—they all burn calories! This kind of lifestyle activity is what fitness experts call Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT for short).
This is when you exercise for a good length of time and get your heart rate up. It’s also known as aerobic activity. A jog, a brisk walk, jumping jacks—they all count as cardio. Get 30-60 minutes per day, or at least 150 minutes per week of medium-intensity cardio activity. It’s best if you spread out this activity through the week.
This kind of activity is what builds muscle and makes you stronger. This could include bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and squats. It could also include exercises with weights or bands, like bicep curls or bench presses. Squeeze in some medium- to high-intensity resistance activity at least 2-3 times a week.
Flexibility and Balance
Include stretching, yoga or Tai Chi exercises at least 2-3 times a week.
Sedentary time is time you spend sitting or lying down when you’re awake. With desk jobs and TV marathons, it’s easy to spend too much time being sedentary. Get up and move throughout the day. Any activity is better than none! Even light-intensity activity can offset the serious health risks of sitting for long periods of time.
A full activity plan should strive to include as many of these activities as possible. It is important to start wherever you are and build up from there. Something is always better than nothing! Research has shown that just 10 minutes of activity at a time will start bringing you health benefits.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you try any new form of physical activity.