Physical activity isn’t just exercise – it is any way you move your body using energy. Dancing, walking, and gardening are all fun examples of physical activity.
The most important intensities of physical activity for health are moderate and vigorous – both of these make your heart and breathing faster. Moderate physical activity includes activities like brisk walking, gardening, dancing, casual biking, golfing, and casual swimming. Vigorous activity includes: very fast walking, jogging, biking quickly, intense yard work, swimming laps, and competitive sports. Vigorous activity can be done in less time that moderate physical activity with similar health benefits.
Another important thing to consider is the type of exercise you are doing. Aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone strengthening, balance, and stretching activities all benefit your health in different ways.
As you can see, there are a lot of types of physical activity – but many activities fall into more than one of these categories.
Check with your doctor.
Check with your doctor before changing your current physical activity routine! It is important to make sure any changes are safe and will benefit your health.
Guidelines for Physical Activity From MyPlate
Sometimes it can feel like there is no time in the day to fit in physical activity, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate physical activity into your busy schedule.
Too tired to do physical activity?
Often, we either don’t get enough sleep, or are busy, and we feel that we are too tired to do physical activity. However, physical activity increases energy during the day and increases sleep quality at night, so getting more physical activity will make you less tired. Here are some tips if you still feel too tired to get moving:
Physical activity isn’t always fun.
Certain types of physical activity aren’t right for everyone. For example, you might enjoy walking briskly, but not jogging. Or you might enjoy riding your bike, but not swimming. It is important to find a type of physical activity you enjoy, so you will be more likely to actually do it! You might also find that as your body gets in better shape, you start to enjoy types of physical activity that you found uncomfortable before. Here are some fun ideas:
Don’t have any equipment? No problem.
Often, we think of gyms, equipment, and workout gear when we think of physical activity. But none of these things are really needed. Activities like push-ups, yoga, and dancing don’t require any equipment or gear! We are lucky in Georgia to have great weather (most of the time), and the outdoors is often more comfortable than a gym. Many parks have workout equipment built in… (Not sure if there is a resource to find it in your area).
Want to learn to do new types of physical activities – but don’t where to start?
The internet has a lot of free guides and videos to teach you how to get into new activities. There are also free apps like couch to 5k that guide your physical activity so that you can get into better shape slowly and comfortably. Trying new types of physical activity, like yoga, can be a fun family activity.
If you don’t think you are “athletic.”
Don’t worry about setting intense goals or competing with anyone. Physical activity is about keeping your own body healthy. Non-competitive activities like dancing, walking, and gardening are all good forms of physical activity.
Worried you will become injured?
Talk to your doctor about what kinds of physical activity are appropriate for your condition. You might be able to do more than you think.
One great benefit of physical activity is that it helps with weight management. Regular physical activity helps you maintain rather than gain weight, and can aid in weight loss by burning calories.
Physical activity is a great stress reliever, so it is healthy for your body and mind… (need more here)
Physical activity is a great way to socialize. By participating in a physical activity group, you can grow closer with your friends and meet new people. It is also a great way to bond with your family. Going for walks, playing games, or doing other activities together can be a fun way to spend time together.
Wellness and Longevity
Physical activity keeps you well by decreasing the risk for many diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Physical activity also keeps your muscles and bones strong, which is important as you get older.
Improved Mood and Energy
Participating in physical activity causes a release of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins in the body. These can make you feel happier and more relaxed. And by getting your body into better shape, you will feel more energized throughout the day. Tasks that before were winding (like walking quickly) can become much easier. Another way exercise gives you more energy is by helping you sleep better at night. The same amount of sleep can be much more satisfying after a day with plenty of physical activity.
Ideas for kids
Walk Georgia is a free online community and resource made to help Georgians become more active. The site allows you to track activity and become more active.
Walk Georgia also has a blog with an optional newsletter to keep you informed.