Part 1 - Getting Started
Start slowly . . . "The employee wellness program at
my work just started a new lunchtime walking program. Some
of us walk at a good clip, while others move at a slower pace.
I get to be outdoors, and I feel more alert on the days I
Thinking about adding physical activity to your life, but
not sure how to get started? Sometimes taking the first step
is the hardest part.
If you have not been active in some time, start at a comfortable
level and add a little more activity as you go along. Some
people find that getting active with a friend makes it easier
to get started.
Is something holding you back? Think about reasons why you
have not been physically active. Then try to come up with
some ways to get past what is keeping you from getting active.
Have you said to yourself . . . ?
I haven't been active in a very long time.
Solution: Choose something you like to do. Many people find
walking helps them get started. Before you know it, you will
be doing more each day.
I don't have the time.
Solution: Start with 10-minute chunks of time a couple of
days a week. Walk during a break. Dance in the living room
to your favorite music. It all adds up.
It costs too much.
Solution: You don't have to join a health club or buy fancy
equipment to be active. Play tag with your kids. Walk briskly
with your dog for 10 minutes or more.
Write down some things you could do to get past what may
be holding you back.
Feeling good . . . "I recently bought an exercise bike
at a yard sale. I get up early in the morning and ride. It
feels good. Sometimes I can squeeze in only 10 minutes before
I take off for my job. Even 10 minutes is better than not
What can physical activity do for you?
You may have heard the good things you can gain from regular
Check off which of these benefits you hope to get from active
- Be healthier
- Increase my chances of living longer
- Feel better about myself
- Have less chance of becoming depressed
- Sleep better at night
- Help me look good
- Be in shape
- Get around better
- Have stronger muscles and bones
- Help me stay at or get to a healthy weight
- Be with friends or meet new people
- Enjoy myself and have fun
Did you know . . . When you are not physically active, you
are more likely to:
- Get heart disease
- Get type 2 diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high blood cholesterol
- Have a stroke
Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do
more. If you have not been active for a while, start out slowly.
After several weeks or months, build up your activities—do
them longer and more often.
Walking is one way to add physical activity to your life.
When you first start, walk 10 minutes a day on a few days
during the first couple of weeks.
Add more time and days. Walk a little longer. Try 15 minutes
instead of 10 minutes. Then walk on more days a week.
Pick up the pace. Once this is easy to do, try walking faster.
Keep up your brisk walking for a couple of months. You might
want to add biking on the weekends for variety.
How much physical activity do you need each week? Advice
- Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each
week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate
- You need to do this type of activity for at least 10
minutes at a time.
- Adults should also do strengthening activities at least
2 days a week.
- Strengthening activities include push-ups, sit-ups and
Do it your way . . .
- Pick an activity you like and one that fits into your
- Find the time that works best for you.
- Be active with friends and family. Having a support network
can help you keep up with your program.
- There are many ways to build the right amount of activity
into your life. Every little bit adds up and doing something
is better than doing nothing.
Tip: Learn how to avoid injury.
- Biking slowly
- General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
- Tennis (doubles)
- Using your manual wheelchair
- Using hand cyclers—also called arm ergometers
- Walking briskly
- Water aerobics