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 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
How hard to
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
- 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 .