Something as simple as a brisk half-hour walk every day can pay off with big benefits -- more energy, better weight control, increased circulation and lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
You don't need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment to realize these benefits. The key is to make physical activity a part of your everyday life. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week will improve your health and quality of life. Walking, bicycling, dancing, yard work, raking leaves, vacuuming and washing and waxing the car are a few of the ways to get moderate activity into your day.
Here's more good news -- you don't have do it all at once.
Small amounts of activity throughout the day can improve your health. Even a two-minute walk counts toward boosting your activity level.
In their book Active Living Every Day, physicians and researchers at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, describe some ways to build activity into your day without disrupting your schedule:
- Park the car at the far end of the lot and take a fast walk to the door.
- Walk a few blocks on your way to and from lunch.
- Get off the bus a block or two before your stop and walk the rest of the way.
- Rake leaves or catch up on your gardening.
- Put on some dance music while you are vacuuming and keep up with the beat.
- Walk around for two minutes during a coffee break or while you're on the phone.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Start off a shopping trip at the mall with a fast-paced walk around the mall, glancing in the windows to check out what's available.
- Take a two-minute walk during TV commercials.
The OASIS classes Active Living Every Day and Active Start will help you find realistic ways to make activity part of your daily routine. During this 20-week course participants will learn individualized strategies to increase their activity every day and to support their new, active lifestyles.
Back to Health Topics >