Step by Step: Small Ways to Start Getting More Active

Some physical activity is better than none – and if you find that you are mostly sedentary but want to be more active, you might be wondering, “Where do I begin?”

The first step is to recognize that physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. You might feel pressured to jump into a workout regimen or dramatically change your lifestyle, but for a beginner exerciser, those strategies might not be sustainable.

You can start pursuing a more active lifestyle by taking it step by step. If you struggle with mobility, joint or muscle issues, or your fitness level needs a lot of improvement, it’s okay to start small. Here are some small and simple ways to start getting more active.

How Can I Start to Be Active?

Take Breaks from Sitting Still. Long periods of inactivity can affect your heart, circulatory system, muscles, joints, and more. If you work at a desk or spend a lot of time in front of a screen, take short activity breaks to squeeze movement in. You can stretch, go to the bathroom, or even do housework (vacuuming, sweeping) just to get your body moving.

Find Activities, Locations, and Times You Enjoy. For example, you might like going on morning nature walks in local parks or doing easy yoga in your living room before bed.

Make Activity Part of Your Daily Routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from the grocery store. Instead of driving somewhere, see if you can walk or bike there instead. If your car needs a wash, try hand-washing it!

Take Walking Phone Calls. If you do a lot of conference calls or feel like picking up the phone to call a loved one, try taking the conversation outside and walk around.

Spread Out Your Physical Activity. You can meet daily activity guidelines by breaking up your exercise. For instance, if a 30-minute activity sounds like too much or you don’t have the time, do smaller 10-minute activities throughout the day.

Get Active with Your Family. You can spend time with each other while enjoying engaging activities such as swimming, outdoor sports, visiting the park, or walking through a garden.

Use an Activity Tracker. Many phone apps have activity trackers and built-in pedometers that let you track your physical activity. Logging your daily activity can help you find room for improvement and notice any patterns.

Take Fido on More Walks! If you have a dog, they probably want to get outside more! Taking your dog on a walk can get both you and your pup moving while also strengthening your bond.

For more information about how being sedentary can affect your health, as well as tips for getting more active, click here.

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