By: Samantha Wilford, MS, RDN, CD
As the weather improves and the days get longer, now is the perfect time to add physical activity to your routine! Physical activity is a key part of a healthy lifestyle with many physical and mental health benefits. The current guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, plus two days of strengthening each week. However, getting even more exercise than this can have added benefits!
When it comes to exercise, it is always better to start low and go slow, gradually increasing over time. Here are some tips for getting started:
Change your mindset and language – For many people, the word “exercise” has a negative association. Instead, try thinking of it as movement or active time, and find an activity that you enjoy.
Break it up – While some people prefer to do all their exercise at once, others find it easier to do smaller amounts throughout the day. For example, walking for 15 minutes on your lunch break and 15 minutes after work adds up to the recommended 150 minutes per week!
Sit less – Research shows that even among people who meet exercise recommendations, sitting for long periods poses health risks. If you are someone who spends all day at a desk, try standing as often as possible, like during phone calls and video meetings, or setting an alarm to take a “standing break” at least once an hour.
Plan a few intentional activities – While informal movement is great for getting started, planning structured activities can help you stay consistent. For example, walk as a family after dinner, hike with a friend on the weekend, or join a fitness class. Avoid going more than two consecutive days without physical activity for added benefit.