Take Action: Get Started
If you haven't been active before, start out slowly and add new physical activities little by little. After a few weeks or months, do them longer and more often. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out these examples of physical activity plans [PDF - 78 K].
For help getting motivated, sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) challenge.
Choose activities that you enjoy.
Team up with a friend or join a class. Ask your family and friends to be active with you. Play games like tennis or basketball, or take a class in dance or martial arts.
Everyday activities can add up to an active lifestyle. You can:
Have fun with your family.
If you have children, you can be a role model for making healthy choices. Encourage your whole family to get active outside. Go for a hike or organize a family soccer game.
If someone you know has trouble making time for physical activity, use these tips to help your loved one get more active.
Take Action: Build Muscles
Strengthen your muscles.
Try some of these activities a few days a week:
- Crunches (sit-ups)
- Heavy gardening, like digging or shoveling
- Doing push-ups on the floor or against the wall
- Lifting small weights – you can even use bottled water or cans of food as weights
Watch these videos for muscle strengthening exercises to do at home or at the gym.
If you do muscle-strengthening activities with weights, check out the do’s and don’ts of training with weights.
Take Action: Track Progress
Track your progress.
Use this score chart to measure your current fitness level [PDF - 80 KB]. Fill out the chart again after you get moving, and see your score go up over time.
Use a pedometer.
A pedometer clips onto your belt or waistband and counts the number of steps you take. Make it your goal to take at least 10,000 steps a day. Increase the number of steps you take each day until you reach your goal.
A pedometer counts the number of steps you take.
Remember, it’s not all or nothing. Even 10 minutes of activity is better than none! Try walking for 10 minutes a day a few days a week.
Find a time that works for you. See if you can fit in 10 minutes of activity before work or after dinner.
Take Action: Add More Activity
Get ready to get more active.
You may already be feeling the benefits of getting active, such as sleeping better or getting toned.
Here are 2 ways to add more activity to your life:
- Be active for longer each time. If you are walking 3 days a week for 30 minutes, try walking for an additional 10 minutes or more each day.
- Be active more often. If you are riding your bike to work 2 days a week, try riding your bike to work 4 days a week.
Find time in your schedule.
Look at your schedule for the week. Find a few 30-minute time periods you can use for more physical activity. Put them in your calendar. Try these ways to build more active time into your busy week.
You can also keep track of your activities with this activity log [PDF - 170 KB].
Take Action: Challenge Yourself
Once you've started, keep it up.
If you are already active for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week, you can get even more health benefits by stepping up your routine.
Getting more physical activity can further lower your risk for:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
Do more vigorous activities.
In general, 15 minutes of vigorous activity has the same benefits as 30 minutes of moderate activity. Try jogging for 15 minutes instead of walking for 30 minutes.
Mix it up.
Mix vigorous activities with moderate ones. Try joining a fitness group or gym class. Don’t forget to do muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week.
Check out the Presidential Champions program to get personalized activity logs, training tips, and more. See just how high you can raise your activity level!