Skip to content

    Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Topic Overview

    Aerobic activity raises your heart rate and keeps it up for a while. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your heart and muscles. Over time, this kind of activity benefits your heart, your muscles, your mood and self-esteem, and your amount of energy. It can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body fat, anxiety and depression, and fatigue.

    Finding the right activity

    Experts say to do regular moderate activity and/or vigorous-intensity activity.

    Here are some ideas for both types of activities. You can boost many of the moderate activities in the left column to a vigorous level by doing them faster or harder.1

    Moderate intensity

    Vigorous intensity

    General exercise:

    • Brisk walking
    • Light to moderate calisthenics (for example, home exercises, back exercises, getting up and down from the floor)
    • Low-impact aerobic dancing
    • Jogging on a small trampoline
    • Weight lifting, body building, using a lot of effort
    • Light to moderate workouts on gym equipment like Nautilus or Universal machines or a rowing machine

    General exercise:

    • Walking uphill, jogging or running
    • Heavy calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.)
    • High impact aerobic dancing
    • Jumping rope
    • Using a stair-climber or skiing machine
    • Stationary bicycling, with vigorous effort

    Water exercises:

    • Treading water with moderate effort
    • Water aerobics or water calisthenics
    • Kayaking, canoeing, white-water rafting
    • Springboard or platform diving
    • Paddle boating

    Water exercises:

    • Swimming laps with fast, vigorous effort
    • Treading water with fast, vigorous effort
    • Water jogging
    • Rowing a canoe in competition
    • Skin diving and scuba diving

    Outdoor activities:

    • Fishing and hunting
    • Playing with a Frisbee
    • Children's games, like hopscotch, 4-square, and dodge ball
    • Playing on playground equipment
    • Downhill skiing
    • Shoveling snow

    Outdoor activities:

    • Horseback riding-trotting or galloping
    • Competitive sports like rugby, field hockey, and soccer
    • Hiking with a backpack
    • Mountain biking
    • Ice skating quickly (more than 9 mph)
    • Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

    House and yard work:

    • Sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping floors
    • Washing the car with vigorous effort
    • Sweeping the garage, sidewalk, or patio
    • Washing the dog
    • Mowing or raking the lawn
    • Digging in the garden

    House and yard work:

    • Carrying groceries upstairs
    • Carrying boxes or furniture
    • Baling hay or cleaning the barn with vigorous effort

    Adding variety to a fitness program is a good way to keep motivated.

    • Vary the activity. If you are getting bored with walking, try swimming or an aerobics class.
    • Vary the place. Try a new route for walking or biking or even a different room for your exercises or stretching. By having several options, you can pick one that suits your mood or schedule.
    • Vary the time. Do your exercises at different times and for different amounts of time. If you become bored with your noon walk, try exercising in the early morning or after work or school. Instead of doing one 45-minute session, do three 15-minute sessions.
    1 | 2

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas Topics

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    handful of vegetables and vitamins
    Diet tips and mistakes.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.