U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Help a Loved One Get More Active: Quick tips

Lots of people struggle to fit physical activity into their busy lives. If someone you care about is having a hard time getting active, you can help. Here are some tips to get you started.

Suggest activities you can do together.

  • Start small. Try taking a walk after dinner twice a week, or do crunches (sit-ups) while you watch TV.
  • Mix it up. Learn new stretches and warm-up exercises.
  • Join a fitness class. Choose an activity that’s new for both of you.

Make it part of your regular routine.

  • Meet up at the local gym or recreation center on your way home from work.
  • Wake up a bit earlier so you can go for a brisk walk together before breakfast.
  • Pick a certain time for physical activity, like right after your favorite TV show.
  • Ride your bikes or walk to the store or coffee shop.

Be understanding.

What are your loved one’s reasons for not being more active? Maybe she feels overwhelmed or embarrassed. Ask what you can do to be supportive.

Recognize small efforts.

  • Be patient. Change takes time.
  • Remember, some physical activity is better than none!
  • Offer encouragement and praise. (“Great job doing your crunches today!”)
  • Point out positive choices. (“I’m glad we’re walking to the park instead of driving.”)

Choose healthy gifts.

For birthdays or special rewards, choose gifts that encourage your loved one to be more active. Some ideas include:

  • New sneakers or workout clothes
  • A basketball or balance ball
  • Hand weights
  • A pedometer (a tool that counts the number of steps you take)
  • Gift certificate to a gym or exercise class
Help a Loved One Get More Active: Quick tips

Content last updated on:
February 27, 2015

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