Welcome to preventive care  information source on staying healthy and fit!

Part 1 - Getting Started


Part 2 - Physical Activity


Part 3 - Keeping It Up


Part 4 - Stay Active


Part 4 - Stay Active for Life

Finding out what kind and how much physical activity you need

How do I do it? . . . It's your choice. Pick an activity that's easy to fit into your life. Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity at a time. Choose aerobic activities that work for you. These make your heart beat faster and can make your heart, lungs, and blood vessels stronger and more fit. Also, do strengthening activities which make your muscles do more work than usual.

Why should I be physically active? . . . Physical activity can make you feel stronger and more alive. It is a fun way to be with your family or friends. It also helps you improve your health.

How many times a week should I be physically active? . . . It is up to you, but it is better to spread your activity throughout the week and to be active at least 3 days a week.

How do I build up more physical activity? . . . Do a little more each time. Once you feel comfortable, do it more often. Then you can trade activities at a moderate level for vigorous ones that take more effort. You can do moderate and vigorous activities in the same week.

How much physical activity do I need to do? . . . This chart tells you about the activities that are important for you to do. Do both aerobic activities and strengthening activities. Each offers important health benefits. And remember, some physical activity is better than none!

How can I tell an activity at a moderate level from a vigorous one? . . . Vigorous activities take more effort than moderate ones. Here are just a few moderate and vigorous aerobic physical activities. Do these for 10 minutes or more at a time.
  • Moderate Activities (I can talk while I do them, but I can't sing.)
  • Ballroom and line dancing
  • Biking on level ground or with few hills
  • Canoeing
  • General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
  • Sports where you catch and throw (baseball, softball, volleyball)
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Using your manual wheelchair
  • Using hand cyclers—also called ergometers
  • Walking briskly
  • Water aerobics
  • Vigorous Activities (I can only say a few words without stopping to catch my breath.)
  • Aerobic dance
  • Biking faster than 10 miles per hour
  • Fast dancing
  • Heavy gardening (digging, hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts (such as karate)
  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Sports with a lot of running (basketball, hockey, soccer)
  • Swimming fast or swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)

Keeping track of what you do each week . . . Make copies of the forms that follow to write down your goals and track your activities each week. There are examples first, and then blank forms for your use.

The first form is for aerobic activities. The second form is for strengthening activities. Be active your way by choosing activities you enjoy!