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Published on December 27, 2011

Be Physically Active in the New Year

December 27, 2011

Following holiday celebrations, thoughts often turn to the New Year and getting in shape. Regular physical activity over months and years produces long-term health benefits and reduces the risk of many diseases.

Recommendations for Adults

Adults gain substantial health benefits from 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Adults should also do activities to strengthen muscles and bones at least 2 days a week.

For most people, light daily activities such as shopping, cooking, or doing the laundry don't count toward the guidelines. Why? Your body isn't working hard enough to get your heart rate up.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song.

TRY some of these moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • Walking fast
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • Playing doubles tennis

Besides aerobic activity, you need to do activities to strengthen your muscles at least 2 days a week. These activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms). There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or the gym.

TRY some of these muscle-strengthening activities:

  • Heavy yard work (lifting, carrying, and snow shoveling)
  • Push-ups on the floor or wall
  • Sit-ups
  • Working with resistance bands (long rubber strips that stretch)
  • Lifting hand-held weights

General Recommendations:

ADD more activity

  • Do more by being active longer each time.
  • Do more by being active more often.

SUCCEED

  • Team up with a friend to stay motivated and have more fun, like the LiveFit Team Challenge! [link to Community Wellness page]
  • Pick activities that you like to do.
  • Track your time and progress to help stay on course.

LEARN more about how to add physical activity to your life.

  • Talk to your health care provider about good activities to try.
  • Speak to the work site wellness coordinator at your job.

There is no need to think of strenuous exercise or boring workouts, instead do the fun activities you enjoy and watch the health benefits that follow!

Source:Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HealthyHolidays/(accessed November 11, 2011)

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