Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans two types of physical activity are recommended in order to improve your health – aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities.
Aerobic activities include:
- Walking briskly
- Riding a bike
- Pushing a lawn mower
- Playing baseball, softball, or volleyball
- Doing water aerobics
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Swimming laps
Muscle-strengthening activities include:
- Lifting weights
- Working with resistance bands
- Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e. push-ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, etc.)
- Heavy gardening (i.e. digging, shoveling)
All adults should avoid inactivity. Some activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. For substantial health benefits adults should do at least:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) every week,
- Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Aerobic activities ahould be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and spread throughout the week. The Physical Activity Guidelines also note that flexibility is an important part of physical fitness. Stretching is effective in keeping muscles strong and healthy and helps people maintain a range of motion in the joints. For this reason, flexibility activities, like stretching, yoga, Pilates, dancing, etc., are an appropriate part of a physical activity program.
Benefits of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help:
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Control your weight
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Increase your chances of living longer
- Start slow and gradually build up your regimen.
- Dress appropriately for the weather and the activity
- Try to make physical activity a habit, but be flexible. Don’t get discouraged if you stop for a while. Get started again and gradually work up to your old pace.
- Choose activities that are fun! Add variety to keep you from getting bored.
- The more active you are, the greater the health benefits and the better you’ll feel!
- Some activity is better than none. Taking 10 minute walks throughout the day adds up!
*It is recommended to consult a medical provider before beginning an exercise plan. Call the Student Health Center at (209) 667-3396 to schedule an appointment.
- Use the Stan State walking map to increase your daily steps.
- Use this physical activity tracker tool to write down your goals and track activities each week.
- How to incorporate physical activity and muscle-strengthening activities into your week.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)