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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 days or more a week. Another option is to do 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity a week. Following these guidelines will give you important health benefits and help you maintain your weight. Exercising more—a total of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week—will help you lose weight and give you even more health benefits.

Do I have to do the weekly recommended amount of physical activity all at once?

No—you can divide the recommended amount of minutes into shorter workout sessions throughout the week. For example, you can do a 30-minute workout 5 days per week. You even can split each of those 30-minute workouts into smaller 10-minute periods throughout each day. Set up a routine that works best for you.

Can daily tasks count as physical activity?
Yes—choices you make in your daily life can help you meet the guidelines for physical activity. For example, walking or biking to work or gardening can count toward your weekly aerobic activity. Just remember that the activity has to be at least moderately intense and sustained for at least 10 minutes in order to count as exercise. For example, taking a short stroll around the parking lot is not enough. Make physical activity a priority and plan it with purpose.

Do I need to see a doctor before I start a physical activity program?
If you are in good health, you do not have to see your doctor before you begin a moderate physical activity program. However, you should talk with your doctor before starting a physical activity program if

  • you have a chronic medical condition or are at increased risk of a medical condition
  • you are pregnant
  • you have a disability that makes it hard to meet physical activity guidelines

What are some good ways to start being physically active?
Working out in a group can help keep you motivated. Check with your local fitness clubs or community centers for exercise classes that interest you, such as yoga, Pilates, spinning, and dance. You also can consult a personal trainer or fitness instructor who will set a routine for you to follow. There also are many videos, apps, websites, books, and magazines available on exercise and fitness.

If it has been some time since you exercised regularly, or if you are overweight or obese, you should start gradually. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day. Add 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for longer periods. Trying to do too much too soon can increase the risk of injury.


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