You may know that regular physical activity can help you control
your weight. But do you know why? Physical activity burns calories. When you
burn more calories than you eat each day, you will take off pounds. You can also
avoid gaining weight by balancing the number of calories you burn with the
number of calories you eat.
Regular physical activity may also help prevent or delay the onset of chronic
diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and
colon cancer. If you have one of these health problems, physical activity may
improve your condition.* Regular physical activity may also increase your energy
and boost your mood.
Would you like to do more physical activity but do not know how to make it a
part of your life? This booklet describes some common barriers to physical
activity and ways to overcome them. After you read them, try writing down the
top two or three barriers that you face. Then write down solutions that you
think will work for you. You can make regular physical activity a part of your
Can you use any of these ideas to become more physically active?
Between work, family, and other demands, I am too busy
Make physical activity a priority. Carve out some time each week to be active
and put it on your calendar. Try waking up a half-hour earlier to walk,
scheduling lunchtime workouts, or taking an evening fitness class.
Build physical activity into your routine chores. Rake the yard, wash the
car, or do energetic housework. That way you do what needs to get done and move
Make family time physically active. Plan a weekend hike through a park,
family softball game, or an evening walk around the block.
By the end of a long day, I am just too tired to work
Break your workout into three 10-minute segments each day. Taking three short
walks during the day may seem easier and less tiring than one 30-minute workout,
and is just as good for you.
Find another time during the day to work out. If evening workouts are not for
you, then try a bike ride before breakfast or a walk at lunchtime.
Sneak physical activity into your days. Take stairs instead of elevators,
park further away in parking lots, and walk in place while watching TV.
I think my weight is fine, so I am not motivated to
Think about the other health benefits of physical activity. Regular physical
activity may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and lower your odds of
having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer. Research shows that people who
are overweight, active, and fit live longer than people who are not overweight
but are inactive, and unfit. Also, physical activity may lift your mood and
increase your energy level.
Do it just for fun. Play a team sport, work in a garden, or learn a new dance
and make getting fit something fun.
Train for a charity event. You can work to help others while you work out.
Getting on a treadmill or stationary bike is boring.
Meet a friend for workouts. If your buddy is on the next bike or treadmill,
your workout will be less boring.
Watch TV or listen to music or a book on tape while you walk or pedal
indoors. Check out music or books on tape from your local library.
Get outside. A change in scenery can relieve your boredom. If you are riding
a bike outside, be sure to wear a helmet and learn safe rules of the road.