Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Fitness: Getting and Staying Active - What Does "Being Active" Really Mean?

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 pulse slideshow.gif.

    1|2
    Next Article:

    Healthy Living Tools

    Ditch Those Inches

    Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

    Get Started

    Today on WebMD

    pilates instructor
    15 moves that get results.
    woman stretching before exercise
    How and when to do it.
     
    couple working out
    Moves you can do at home.
    woman exercising
    Strengthen your core with these moves.
     
    man exercising
    Article
    7 most effective exercises
    Interactive
     
    Man looking at watch before workout
    Slideshow
    Overweight man sitting on park bench
    Video
     

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    pilates instructor
    Slideshow
    jogger running among flowering plants
    Video
     
    woman walking
    Article
    Taylor Lautner
    Article