Physical Activity and Fitness

When time is crunched, physical activity may not get as much attention. Even a few minutes a day of added movement can produce notable benefits. Exercise can reduce stress, improve your mood, enhance your confidence, sharpen your memory, and connect you to others.

Quick Hits

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our physical, mental, and emotional wellness, and is associated with:

  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Improved functionality and mobility
  • Increased longevity
  • Increased energy and focus
  • Reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression
  • Sharpened memory and increased productivity
  • Reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers

The key to consistent physical activity is figuring out what activities get you the most excited and keep you motivated.

Dig Deeper

So how much physical activity should you be doing? If you’re inactive now, starting with 10 minutes a day is great! For more guidance, explore the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:

  • Aerobic activity that totals 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, weekly.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, arms, back, abdomen, chest, and shoulders

For even greater health benefits, adults should incorporate 300 minutes (five hours) of moderate aerobic activity or 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of vigorous aerobic activity with their muscle-stretching activities.

Aerobic activity: Any activity that uses large muscle groups and that overloads the heart and lungs and causes them to work harder than at rest. Aerobic literally means "living in air," and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.

Moderate Aerobic Activity: You’re working hard enough to raise your heart beat and break a sweat but you can still hold a conversation. Activities may include walking fast, riding a bike, playing tennis, or pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous Aerobic Activity: You’re breathing hard and fast, your heart rate has increased substantially, and you aren’t able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath. Activities may include running, swimming laps, cycling, or playing basketball.

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