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Types of physical activity

There are different types of physical activities you can choose from. These are described below.

Aerobic activity

  • Aerobic activity involves moving the large muscles in your arms, legs, and hips over and over again. During aerobic activity, you breathe faster and more deeply, and your heart beats faster. If your breathing and heart rate increase to a moderate degree, your activity is considered moderate intensity. An example would be walking on a level surface at a brisk pace (about 3 to 4 miles per hour). If your breathing increases so much that it is difficult to carry on a conversation, your activity is considered vigorous intensity. An example would be jogging.
  • Do at least 10 minutes of aerobic activity at a time. It is best to spread it throughout the week. This physical activity should be in addition to your routine activities of daily living, such as cooking or walking a short distance such as from the parking lot to your office.
  • If you have not been physically active for a long time, you need to start slowly and then work your way up as you become more fit. For example, if you do not feel up to walking for 30 minutes, try walking for 10 minutes. Then increase your walking time by 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes.

Here are examples of moderate and vigorous exercises you can do:

MODERATE:

  • Leisure activities include walking at a brisk pace, ballroom dancing, leisurely bicycling, roller skating, canoeing
  • Sports activities include golfing, softball, badminton, downhill skiing, Frisbee playing
  • Home activities include pushing a power lawn mower, gardening, raking leaves, shoveling light snow, moderate housework, hand washing/waxing a car, actively playing with children, riding a stationary bike
  • Occupational activities include maid service, waiting tables, feeding or grooming farm animals, manually milking cows, picking fruits or vegetables, walking while carrying a mailbag

VIGOROUS:

  • Leisure activities include jogging, running, bicycling fast or uphill, jumping rope, swimming continuous laps
  • Sports activities include singles tennis, beach volleyball on sand, basketball game, soccer, cross-country skiing
  • Home activities include pushing a hand mower, heavy or rapid shoveling (more than 10 pounds per minute), carrying items weighing 25 pounds or more up a flight of stairs
  • Occupational activities include teaching an aerobic dance class, heavy farm work

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Muscle-strengthening activities

  • Another type of physical activity that you should do on a regular basis is strength training. Muscle-strengthening activities increase the strength and endurance of your muscles. Examples of these activities include working out with weight machines and free weights.
  • You do not need to invest in a gym membership or buy expensive home gym equipment to do muscle-strengthening activities. Hand, wrist, and ankle weights are less costly options. Also, homemade weights, such as plastic soft drink bottles filled with sand or water, may work just as well. You can also use your own body weight, doing activities such as push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups. You could also buy a resistance band at a sporting-goods store. It looks like a giant rubber band, and stretching it helps build muscle.
  • You should try to do muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days each week. Allow one day in between sessions to avoid excess strain on your muscles and joints. During each session, repeat each activity 8-12 times.