When you move more every day, you will burn more calories. This will help you reach your weight loss goal. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. If you have not been active, start off slowly, building up to your goal. Try brisk walking, dancing, swimming, biking, jogging, or any physical activity that helps get your heart rate up. You don’t have to get all your physical activity at one time. Try getting some physical activity throughout the day in 10 minute sessions.
Use these tips to get started, keep you moving, and make your physical activity time more fun.
Dress to move.
Wear supportive shoes with thick, flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. Your clothes should allow you to move, and keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
Start off slowly.
Start off by taking a 5-minute walk (or doing another physical activity that you like) on most days of the week. Slowly, add more time until you reach at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.
Build physical activity into your day.
Start or end your day by taking your dog—or a friend’s dog—for a brisk walk. When shopping, park a little further away from the store’s entrance. If it’s safe, get off the bus a stop or two before your work place and walk the rest of the way. While watching TV, walk or dance around the room, march in place, or do some sit-ups and leg lifts. Double bonus: cut out a TV show and get moving instead!
Move more at work.
Try to get a “movement break” during the day. Take a walk during lunchtime. Deliver a message in person to a coworker instead of sending an email. Walk around your office while talking on the telephone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office.
Count your steps.
You may be surprised to learn how much walking you already do every day. Try using a pedometer to keep track of every step in your Game Plan Food and Activity Tracker. A pedometer is a gadget that counts the number of steps you take. The number of steps in one mile depends on the length of your stride, but one mile equals roughly 2,000 steps. Each week, try to increase the number of steps you take by 1,000 (about 250 steps per day), aiming for a goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you decide to count steps as a part of your GAME PLAN, use this information to help you meet your 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Also, be sure to read the instructions for your pedometer.
Stretch it out.
Avoid stiff or sore muscles or joints by stretching after doing physical activity. Try not to bounce when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable.
Make it social.
Try to schedule walking “dates” with friends or family members throughout the week. For family fun, play soccer, basketball, or tag with your children. Take a class at a local gym or recreation center. Organize a walking group with your neighbors or at work. When you involve others in your activities, you are more likely to stick to your program.
Getting more physical activity doesn’t have to be boring. Turn up the music and boogey while cleaning the house. Go dancing with friends and family members. Play sports with your kids. Try swimming, biking, hiking, jogging, or any activity that you enjoy and gets you moving. Vary your physical activities so you won’t get bored.
Keep at it.
Pay attention to small successes. The longer you keep at it, the better you’ll feel. Making changes is never easy, but getting more physical activity is one small step toward a big reward—a healthier life.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.
This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.