Part 4 - Stay Active for Life
Finding out what kind and how much physical activity you
How do I do it? . . . It's your choice. Pick an activity
that's easy to fit into your life. Do at least 10 minutes
of physical activity at a time. Choose aerobic activities
that work for you. These make your heart beat faster and can
make your heart, lungs, and blood vessels stronger and more
fit. Also, do strengthening activities which make your muscles
do more work than usual.
Why should I be physically active? . . . Physical activity
can make you feel stronger and more alive. It is a fun way
to be with your family or friends. It also helps you improve
How many times a week should I be physically active? . .
. It is up to you, but it is better to spread your activity
throughout the week and to be active at least 3 days a week.
How do I build up more physical activity? . . . Do a little
more each time. Once you feel comfortable, do it more often.
Then you can trade activities at a moderate level for vigorous
ones that take more effort. You can do moderate and vigorous
activities in the same week.
How much physical activity do I need to do? . . . This chart
tells you about the activities that are important for you
to do. Do both aerobic activities and strengthening activities.
Each offers important health benefits. And remember, some
physical activity is better than none!
How can I tell an activity at a moderate level from a vigorous
one? . . . Vigorous activities take more effort than moderate
ones. Here are just a few moderate and vigorous aerobic physical
activities. Do these for 10 minutes or more at a time.
- Moderate Activities (I can talk while I do them, but I
- Ballroom and line dancing
- Biking on level ground or with few hills
- General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
- Sports where you catch and throw (baseball, softball,
- Tennis (doubles)
- Using your manual wheelchair
- Using hand cyclers—also called ergometers
- Walking briskly
- Water aerobics
- Vigorous Activities (I can only say a few words without
stopping to catch my breath.)
- Aerobic dance
- Biking faster than 10 miles per hour
- Fast dancing
- Heavy gardening (digging, hoeing)
- Hiking uphill
- Jumping rope
- Martial arts (such as karate)
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Sports with a lot of running (basketball, hockey, soccer)
- Swimming fast or swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
Keeping track of what you do each week . . . Make copies
of the forms that follow to write down your goals and track
your activities each week. There are examples first, and then
blank forms for your use.
The first form is for aerobic activities. The second form
is for strengthening activities. Be active your way by choosing
activities you enjoy!