When you're active, life can be better.
helps you look and feel your best and lowers your risk for a heart attack,
type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. It gives you the energy to do
the things that make you happy.
But it can be hard to get into the
habit of daily activity. It's important to find activities that fit your
lifestyle and your personality.
People who want to be as healthy as possible need to
make physical activity a regular part of their lives. That's not always easy
these days. Most of us never seem to have enough time for everything we need or
want to do.
The key is to figure out what your likes and dislikes
are as they apply to being active. Then you can find the right activities for
you and turn them into a lifelong habit that leads to better health.
Many people make the mistake of choosing a particular activity just
because it's popular at the time or because someone else they know is doing it.
Sometimes that works. But if the activity doesn't fit you, you're much less
likely to enjoy it and keep doing it.
You are more likely to make physical activity a habit
if the activity fits your lifestyle and personality.
It's important to think about your likes and
dislikes when you are trying to make physical activity a habit.
Continue to Why?
The activities you choose are important because you will be doing them almost
every day. Your goal is to make physical activity a daily habit. And you're
much more likely to build new habits if you enjoy what you're doing.
To feel your best, you need at least 2½ hours of
moderate activity a week. Brisk walking is an example.
But any activities—including daily chores—that raise your heart rate can be
included. It's fine to be active in spurts of 10 minutes or more throughout
your day and week.
Another important part of choosing an activity
is having your own reason for wanting to be active. It's not always easy to
make activity a regular part of your life. Taking the time now to really think
about what motivates or inspires you will help you stay with it.
It's easy to make physical activity a habit, whether
you like what you're doing or not.
Changing habits can be hard, but finding
something you enjoy doing will make the change easier.
Continue to How?
for activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle. Answering the
questions below may help you figure out what activities would be best for you.
After you've thought about your answers, read this list of
ideas for getting active.
try a sport or activity one time, buy expensive equipment or clothes for that
activity, and then never use them again. It's usually a mistake to think that
you will keep up with a particular sport or activity just because you've
invested money in it. Wait until you know that you really enjoy the activity,
and then spend the money. In some cases, you can rent the equipment to find out
if you like the sport.
On the other hand, spending a little money
can be a wise investment in your health. For example, joining a fitness center
or gym can help you succeed at becoming more active. A fitness professional can help you plan a routine and learn proper form and technique.
To be successful at becoming or staying active, you
should choose an activity that involves some sort of competition or mental
It all depends on your personality and your
lifestyle. Some people do better when they don't have to compete or think about
what they're doing. Others need the pressure of competition or mental
stimulation to stay active.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you may feel more prepared to find an activity that will fit your
personality and your lifestyle.
If you're interested in learning more about becoming more
active or staying active, see:
Return to topic:
Fitness: Getting and Staying Active
July 17, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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