Physical Activity Guidelines

Staying active with regular exercise can help keep your heart strong and help you look and feel your best. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and increase your strength and energy. Also, if you get pregnant, staying active now can help ensure the health of any future pregnancies. Women who are at an unhealthy weight before pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a birth defect. Here are some tips for how to stay active:

Adults need at least:

  • 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day and
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week

What is aerobic activity?

  • Aerobic activity gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. This means you're working hard enough to break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song.
  • Although 30 minutes every day sounds like a lot of time, you don't have to do it all at once. Just be active for at least 10 minutes at a time. For example, you can go for a 10-minute brisk walk 3 times a day. Or you can go for a 30-minute brisk walk once a day.
  • Some examples of aerobic activity include: 
    • Walking fast or jogging
    • Doing water aerobics or swimming
    • Riding a bike
    • Playing tennis
    • Pushing a lawn mower
    • Dancing
  • What if you’re too tired after work? Plan to do something active before work or during the day
  • What if it’s not safe to walk outside? Find an indoor activity, such as dancing, exercise class at a community center, or walking at the shopping center. 

 What is muscle-strengthening activity?

  • Muscle-strengthening activities work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms).
  • There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or the gym. You may want to try the following:
    • Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (such as push ups or sit ups)
    • Lifting weights- remember you can use cans of food at home as weights too
    • Working with resistance bands
    • Heavy gardening (such as digging, shoveling)
    • Yoga

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