Active Living

Last Updated: November 27, 2023
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​If you could package physical activity into a pill, it would be the most effective drug on the market.

Dr. Ruth Petersen, Director, CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. A balanced diet and avoiding unhealthy habits like poor sleep and smoking are also key.
Increasing your activity level is recognized as a key component of successful weight loss programs.  It can also reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems.
Unfortunately, many adults don't get adequate amounts of physical activity.  If you exercise a few times a week but spend most days sitting behind a desk and then on a couch with the TV or computer, your physical activity level may still not be adequate. 
How much physical activity should you aim for?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Link and other medical experts External Link all recommend that healthy adults should aim for:

* At least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (or combination), and
* 2 to 3 sessions of strength building exercises each week. 

These are minimum activity goals, as evidence External Link has found further healthy benefits are achieved with 300 minutes of aerobic activity and 3 strength building sessions each week. Adults who have physically active jobs may be achieving some of these activity goals while they work.  Increasingly, however, more and more adults are working sedentary jobs and need to find creative ways to build in more activity. 
Can't find time for a 30 to 60 minutes work out?  Squeeze in shorter segments of activity when you can move more throughout your day and find opportunities to get your heart rate up even a few minutes at time.  
As the minutes will add up, your fitness and health will improve!    Some ideas to help:
  • Use a daily mantra like "Sit less and move more" to motivate you
  • Get your heart rate up and engage your muscles even if it's in 5 to 10 minute increments:
  • Take stairs whenever possible (no more escalators or elevators!)
  • Park your car far away and walk briskly, carrying items is a bonus if carried correctly
  • Walk your dog – don't stroll (your dog can benefit from an more challenging faster paced jaunt– don't push a dog too go to fast or too far if not used to it)
  • Use office or house furniture or counters to do counter press-ups, squats or other strength exercises
  • Use hands weights while watching TV
  • Rest days are okay - Remember that benefits are achieved by meeting weekly target goals that represent intensity, frequency and duration of different activity.
In all situations, you should ensure you have been medically cleared prior starting out a new physical activity program.  If you are overweight, or have any underlying health issues such as diabetes or hypertension, it is recommended your physical activity program should be planned with guidance from a medical provider.
See the CDC website External Link for additional information regarding physical activity guidelines including for children and persons with illnesses or conditions that require modified activities and goals.