What is Physical Activity?
The term “physical activity” encompasses more than just “exercise” or “working out.” It means choosing to be active throughout the day and is not limited to a particular time or place in your life. It's about taking advantage of the opportunities to move that you encounter each day.
What Are Some Easy Ways to Become More Physically Active?
Being physically active is all about opportunities. To become more physically active throughout your day, take advantage of any opportunity to get up and move around.
Use the stairs up and down instead of the elevator. Start with one flight of stairs and gradually build up to more.
Park a few blocks from the office or store and walk the rest of the way. Or if you ride on public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk a few blocks.
Instead of eating that extra snack, take a brisk stroll around the neighborhood.
Mow your own lawn.
Take an exercise break–get up and stretch, walk around. Give your muscles and mind chance to relax.
(Source: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute on Intelihealth.com)
What are the Benefits of Regular Physical Activity?
- Boost energy and mood
- Improve sleep quality
- Help maintain a healthy weight and muscle-tone
- Manage high blood pressure and diabetes
- Lower risk for stroke, some cancers, and heart disease
- Improve self-image
(Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports)
How Active Do I Have to Be To Improve My Health?
People who are usually inactive can improve their health and well being by becoming even moderately active on a regular basis. Physical activity need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits, although greater health benefits will be derived by increasing the amount (duration, frequency and intensity) of physical activity.
(Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)
What Health Burdens Could Be Reduced Through Physical Activity?
Million of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity, for example:
- 13.5 million people have coronary heart disease
- 1.5 million people suffer from a heart attack in a given year
- 8 million people have adult-onset (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes
- 50 million people have high blood pressure