Be physically active. Any activity’s better than none. Health benefits grow the more you do.
Exercise is one of those rare things where the hype actually meets reality. Next to not smoking, getting regular physical activity is arguably the best thing you can do for your health. It lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and certain cancers, and also can help control stress and boost mood. Plus, if moderate to vigorous, physical activity helps keep weight in check.
Best of all? It doesn’t take marathon training to see real health gains. A 30-minute brisk walk on five days of the week is all most people need. Or you can do 25 minutes of more vigorous activity—jogging, step aerobics, or singles tennis, for example—three days a week. Or, you can do a combination of both. Getting any amount of exercise is better than none. The more you get, though, the better. But don’t feel locked into running or walking. A lot of activities count as exercise: dancing, skating, gardening, cycling, scrubbing floors, washing the car by hand, playing with kids. Anything that gets you moving, really. Don’t have the free time to go to the gym? Weave activity into your day by bicycling or brisk walking to commute to work, to go to the store, or to bring your children to school.
Cutting back on “sit” time is just as important as increasing “fit” time. Some ways to get you off your seat: Turn off the television, and catch up on chores or play with the kids. Stroll down the hall to chat with a colleague, instead of sending an email or picking up the phone. Walk or bike for errands instead of driving.
Read the full article on staying active.
Read why Harvard’s new Healthy Eating Plate includes a reminder to stay active.
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.