What Individuals Can Do
- Make activity a daily part of your life.
Find activities that you enjoy that can become a regular part of your routine,
and find others to join you. Partners can make it more fun, can provide
encouragement, and help overcome problems of transportation or safety.
- Consult your clinician about what level of
activity is safe and appropriate for you. Discuss any medical issues
that might be interfering with more regular activity and review any symptoms
and problems that might affect what activities are safe for you.
- Set specific activity goals. Start
slowly and build up to increasing levels of activity. Try to be active
for 30 minutes a day on a regular basis.
What Clinicians Can Do
- Assess how much physical activity your
patients are getting and explore reasons that they aren't more active. A
recent study found that only half of all adults were asked about their
exercise habits by their healthcare provider. Older patients were asked
less often than younger patients. Patients who had been asked reported
being more active than those who were never asked.
- The most promising interventions in primary
care practices include patient goal setting, written exercise prescriptions,
individually tailored physical activity regimens, and mailed or telephone
- Refer patients to community resources where
they can join group activities to promote and reinforce physical activity.
What Communities Can Do
- Conduct community-wide campaigns that combine
highly visible messages to the public, community events, support groups for
active persons, and creation of walking trails.
- Establish community-based programs, such as
those that take place at community centers and senior centers, that can
provide individually tailored programs for seniors to become more active.
Such groups help members set individual goals; teach participants how to
incorporate physical activity into daily routines; provide encouragement,
reinforcement, and problem solving; and help sustain progress.
- Establish community programs that help build
social support (at work or in the community) for physical activity.
- Improve access to places that people can be
active, such as walking or bike trails, classes at gyms or senior centers,
athletic fields, etc. A review of 12 studies that created or enhanced
access to places for physical activity found, on average, a 25 percent
increase in the number of persons exercising at least 3 days per week.