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You can be active by doing housework, mowing the lawn, walking, or joining a fitness class. It's important to be active in three areas: aerobic activity, muscle strength, and stretching.

Aerobic activity

Aerobic activity makes your heart and lungs work harder and builds up your endurance. It gets more oxygen to your muscles, which allows your muscles to work longer. Aerobic activities include walking, running, cycling, and swimming.

To get and stay healthy, experts say to do either of these:2

You can choose to do one or both types of activity. And it's fine to be active in several blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. Do what works best for you. For example, you could do moderate activity for 45 minutes every other day. Or you could do 10 minutes 3 times a day, 5 days a week.

How hard to work

Moderate activity causes your heart and lungs to work harder. Here's an easy way to know if you're working hard enough to get the health benefits of moderate-level activity:

  • If you can't talk and do your activity at the same time, you are exercising too hard.
  • If you can sing while you do your activity, you may not be working hard enough.
  • If you can talk but can't sing while you do your activity, you are doing fine.

Another way to see how hard you exercise is to find your target heart rate. As a guideline, use the Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate? and learn to take your pulseslideshow.gif.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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