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Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Learn more about why exercise is important, how much to do and how to do it with the following resources.

Benefits of Exercise

Why are professionals strongly encouraging every American to add exercise to their daily routine? Here are just some of the benefits of moderate physical activity:

  • improves immune system function
  • improves psychological functioning
  • improves self-image
  • helps you lose weight
  • improves circulation
  • helps manage stress
  • increases energy level
  • helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly

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How Much Exercise Do I Need?

Adults are encouraged to participate in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes five times a week. A moderate amount of physical activity is roughly equivalent to physical activity that uses approximately 150 calories of energy per day. Examples of moderate amounts of physical activity include:

Common Chores

  • Washing and waxing a car for 45-60 minutes
  • Washing windows or floors for 45-60 minutes
  • Gardening for 30-45 minutes
  • Pushing a stroller one and 1/2 miles in 30 minutes
  • Raking leaves for 30 minutes
  • Walking two miles in 30 minutes (15 minutes/mile)
  • Walking stairs for 15 minutes

Sporting Activities

  • Playing volleyball for 45-60 minutes
  • Playing touch football for 45 minutes
  • Walking one and 3/4 miles in 35 minutes (20 minutes/mile)
  • Shooting baskets for 30 minutes
  • Bicycling five miles in 30 minutes
  • Fast social dancing for 30 minutes
  • Water aerobics for 30 minutes
  • Swimming for 20 minutes
  • Playing basketball for 15-20 minutes
  • Bicycling four miles in 15 minutes
  • Jumping rope for 15 minutes
  • Running one and 1/2 miles in 15 minutes (10 minutes/mile)
  • Tennis for 20 minutes (playing singles)
  • You may exercise all at once or engage in physical activity in shorter periods over the course of the day that add up to a total of 30 minutes.

    For more information on how much exercise is right for kids, check out Move It! Choose Your Fun! The Activity Pyramid for Kids.

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    Tips to Get Yourself Moving

    Chances for physical activity are available everywhere you go! Try some of these tips to get yourself moving at various places around the home and town.

    • Zoo - Walk from exhibit to exhibit. Don't wait for the train! Avoid the crowds by starting at the back of the zoo and working toward the front.
    • Rain - Put on the rain gear, grab an umbrella, and take a walk in the rain.
    • Park - Take a frisbee and play fetch with your dog. Play catch with your child/parent. Fly a kite. Run. Jog. Skate. Bike.
    • Driveway - Ride down the driveway on your bicycle instead of in your car. Wash your car by hand instead of going to a car wash. Put up a basketball hoop and challenge the kids in your neighborhood to a game. Run in place.
    • Office - Take a brisk walk for 10 minutes before lunch. Replace coffee breaks with walking breaks. Take the stairs. Pretend the elevator is out of service. Have a "walking meeting" - grab your colleague and discuss business while taking a walk. Walk to lunch instead of driving. Burn off some of those calories on your way back to the office.
    • Mall - Take a lap around the mall each time you go to do some shopping. Park at least 10 cars away from the store or mall entrance, even if the lot is empty. Meet friends for a walk around the mall a few times each week.
    • Neighborhood - Organize a "walking pool" and have parents in the neighborhood rotate walking the kids to school. Walk your dog. Shoot hoops. Turn off the television and take an evening stroll.
    • Garden/Yard - Trade in your power lawnmower for a push mower. Use a rake to collect leaves in the fall instead of a leaf blower. Plant a garden. Trim the hedges. Uproot weeds.
    • Sidewalk - Put on your inline skates and go for a trip around the block. Instead of having neighbors over for coffee, get together for an evening stroll. Play hopscotch. Jump rope. Stroll with the baby or dog.

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