Introduction to Activity

LAST UPDATED: February 19, 2019

Activity—fitness and health

Physical activity is essential to your performance, your physical readiness, and your health. Your fitness level, your exercise and workout plan, and your movement throughout the day are all parts of activity. This section describes your activity targets and includes fitness and exercise information you need to perform at your best!

Let’s start with your three Activity Targets:

  1. Take at least 10,000 steps per day
  2. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate or higher intensity aerobic activity per week
  3. Do 2–3 sessions of total body strength training per week

Are those activity targets too easy?

Challenge yourself with Activity Plus Targets:
  1. Take 10,000 steps + 5,000 additional steps for a daily total of 15,000 per day
  2. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week + 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise
  3. Do 2–3 sessions of total body strength training per week + 1 day or more of agility training

How does physical activity improve health?

  • Lowers risk and helps manage some chronic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer (e.g., breast, colon)
  • Aids in weight loss and prevents weight gain
  • Strengthens bones, muscles, and joints
  • Can manage stress and may reduce depression

Try to avoid sitting for long periods. Prolonged sitting increases the risk of blood clots, obesity, and heart disease. Move at least 10 minutes every hour.

Don't let injuries or other conditions slow you down. You can still receive health benefits from physical activity. Being physically active can help you improve your mobility, coordination, and flexibility. Talk to your healthcare provider about what activities suit you best.

Lack of sleep reduces your desire and motivation to exercise regularly and to make healthy eating decisions. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having trouble sleeping (falling asleep or staying asleep) or if you are always feeling fatigued or tired.

How can I build activity into my day?

You can make small changes in your daily routine to increase your physical activity. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests the following:

  • Take the stairs whenever you can
  • Walk to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing or calling
  • Pick up a new active hobby like cycling
  • Stand or move around when talking on your cell phone

Divide it up your way. 150 minutes is:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes per week
  • 30 minutes a day for 5 days
  • 10 minutes of activity 3 times a day for 5 days

Pick activities you enjoy.

Moderate-intensity activities include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Doubles tennis
  • Golf
  • Leisure biking

Invite family and friends to join you.

  • Take a fitness class
  • Join a recreation league
  • Sign up for a 5K run/walk
  • Start a walking group in your neighborhood

Save time by bumping up the intensity.

Do 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities 2 times a week.

  • Running
  • Swimming laps
  • Basketball
  • Hiking uphill

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