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Fitness: Getting and Staying Active - Topic Overview

What types of physical activity improve fitness?

The activities you choose depend on which kind of fitness you want to improve. There are three different kinds of fitness:

  • Aerobic fitness makes your heart work harder for a while. Aerobic activities include walking, running, cycling, and swimming. Aerobic fitness is also called cardio or cardiovascular training.
  • Muscle fitness (strength) means building stronger muscles and increasing how long you can use them. Activities like weight lifting and push-ups can improve your muscular fitness.
  • Flexibility is the ability to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Stretching slideshow.gif is an exercise that helps you to be more flexible.

How can you be more physically active?

Moderate physical activity is safe for most people. But it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before becoming more active, especially if you haven't been very active or have health problems.

If you're ready to add more physical activity to your life, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make physical activity part of your regular day. Make a regular habit of using stairs, not elevators, and walking to do errands near your home.
  • Start walking. Walking is a great fitness activity that most people can start doing. Make it a habit to take a daily walk with family members, friends, coworkers, or pets.
  • Find an activity partner. This can make exercising more fun.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy, and stay with it. Vary it with other activities so you don't get bored.
  • Use the Interactive Tool: How Many Calories Did You Burn? calculator.gif to find out how many calories you burn during exercise and daily activities.

kris.jpg

One Woman's Story:

Kris, 56

"I knew I needed to do something. I felt like all my muscles were starting to atrophy. Now I feel like I'm so much more toned. I'm not buff, but I'm toned. I can definitely feel the difference."—Kris

Read more about Kris and how she has worked physical activity into her life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about fitness:

Getting fit:

Staying fit:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 25, 2011
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.
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