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Importance of physical activity
Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, including:
- Playing sports
It’s all the things you do indoors too, including:
- House chores
- Climbing stairs
- Hula hooping
The cold temperatures and the restrictions on many activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, can make it really challenging to stay physically active, putting us at risk of adopting a sedentary lifestyle. But at a time like this, it’s very important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible because getting your body moving will help improving your physical and mental health.
No matter what you are doing or where you are, you can add physical activity to your days! You can find the way that best works for you! Your mind and body will appreciate any way you decide to move.
Answers to common questions
Why is regular physical activity important?
Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and quality of life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people live, move, socialize and participate in everyday activities. Besides following precautions like wearing a mask, washing our hands and maintaining physical distance from others, our number one defense against illness is our immune system.
Physical activity helps boosting your immune system which it’s key to protect your body from illness and infections. Additional benefits of physical activity:
- Lowers blood pressure and improve heart health
- Reduces the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Supports your brain health and memory
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Builds emotional resilience
- Helps control body weight and decreases the risk of obesity
- Increases your energy levels and promotes creativity
- Improves sleep
- Makes you feel good and healthy
How much physical activity is recommended?
Any amount is better than none!
- Adults, with or without disabilities, should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week plus muscle-strengthening and cardiovascular exercises at least two days per week.
- Activities can be broken down into smaller amounts, such as about 25 minutes a day every day.
- When adults with disabilities are not able to meet the above guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity. Adults with disabilities should talk to their doctor about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for their abilities.
- Children and teens ages 6 to 17 should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, with muscle- and bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week.
How can I add physical activity to my day?
There is no "right" or better" way to move your body.
Sit less. Move more. Interrupt prolonged sitting/quiet time with short active breaks throughout the day.
- Regular physical activity will provide more health benefits than sporadic, high intensity workouts, so choose exercises you are likely to enjoy and that you can incorporate into your schedule and lifestyle.
- Find the type of activity that works best for you.
- Do your best to find time every day to move. Even a small amount of time each day is good for your health.
- Incorporate physical activity within the things you are doing anyway, such house chores, running errands, commuting to work, etc.
Let's Get Moving
During your free time
- Run in your local park
- When going shopping, count your steps and set a goal
- Bowling (if not restricted)
- Find your local swimming pool
- Play active games with your kids, indoors and outdoors.
- Add a walk or a bike ride on the family schedule.
- Engage the entire family
- Explore nature by hiking
- Watch a video with activity ideas
- Fitness videos from YouTube, Instagram and others Internet sites
- Add some movements while doing house chores: add intensity to your moves when vacuuming, do squads when doing laundry, add steps while cooking.
- Playing with kids in the backyard
- Walk around your neighborhood
- Dance in the living room
- If working from home, take 5-minute breaks every hour to stretch and move around and stand up during meetings
- Do stretching exercises or practice yoga
- Go up and down the stairs while talking on the phone
- Take the dog for a walk
- Get off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk
- Park your car further away from work and walk
- Consider cycling to work
- Walk more briskly on your commute or in between meetings
- Take a quick walk after lunch
- Choose stairs over elevators
- If you work sitting down, try taking breaks and stand to move and stretch
Resources for community groups and organizations
The Let's Get Moving physical activity campaign promotes the many benefits of staying active and provides guidance about the different ways of incorporating physical activity to our routines.
The campaign includes a communication package (in English and Spanish) that contains printable posters, images for social media and short videos. These materials are available to organizations that currently focus on promoting an active life within the communities they serve. If your group would like to request these materials and/or is interested in sharing efforts to help your community get more active, contact us.