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How to start being active

Being physically active is an important part of your health and it doesn’t have to be difficult. The trick is finding activities you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle. There are many ways to be active and its easy to get started. Here are a few simple steps on how to start being active.

1. Start slow

If you have not been active in a while, add activities gradually, not all at once. It is a good idea to start with 5 to 10-minute sessions at first and slowly increase the length of time and difficulty of activities. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any activity plan to make sure it is appropriate for you. 

family walking

2. Make a plan

Setting goals will help you feel more motivated to be active. Think about your main goal and then set smaller goals that will help you reach it. For example, if your ultimate goal is to walk a 5k (3.1 miles) in a few months, start with walking a half-mile or 10 minutes for 3 days a week and then slowly add time or distance to your walks until you reach your goal. 

Write down your plan to meet your goal in a journal or calendar and check off the steps you have completed. If you notice you are not meeting some of your smaller goals, think about what is preventing you. It is OK to change your goals and your plan to make it realistic for your life. Adjusting your plan will help you stay active. And once you reach your big goal for being active, set a new goal!

woman writing goals in journal

3. Aim for 30 minutes

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity each day for adults. Your 30 minutes of being active do not have to be all at once or all the same activity! Several activity sessions that are 5 or 10 minutes at a time are just as good. Try 10 minutes of morning yoga, 10 minutes of using the stairs at work, and 10 minutes of walking the dog after dinner or whichever activities you enjoy! 

Mother and daughter playing basketball

4. Mix up the activities and setting

It is important to choose activities that you enjoy and work for you so you’ll be more likely to stick with it. But don’t be afraid to try new activities! Ask your kids, family, or friends what activities they like to do and ask them to teach you. Find activities that you can do at home when the weather is poor like dancing, squats, or resistance band exercises. Try to incorporate different activities and different places to be active to keep things interesting!

It is also important to include aerobic, and muscle and bone-strengthening activities in your routine. Aerobic activities are activities that raise your heart rate, like walking quickly. Activities like squats, weight lifting or resistance training strengthen your muscles and bones. Vary your activities for a healthy body all around. 

5. Stretch

Incorporate stretching into your active lifestyle. Stretching after being active improves your flexibility and can reduce your risk of cramping or injury. Stretching also improves your circulation. To get your muscle ready, warm up for several minutes before stretching. Be sure to only stretch as far as you feel comfortable. 

More Info

Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Find activities that work for you and don’t be afraid to try new things! Always be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new activity program. For more information and ideas on being active check here: 

Active at All Ages

10 Activities to Keep Your Family Active

Physical Activity for Seniors

Top 5 Ways to Stay Active When it’s Cold Out

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