Moderate exercise at least three days a week can make a big difference in your health and well-being. Research has shown that physical activity reduces risk of colon cancer by about 50 percent, and it plays a role in lowering risk of other cancers. Small steps count — take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther from your destination or walk or ride your bike to work. No more excuses!
- Add physical activity to your daily routine. Walk or ride your bike to work, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog with your children, exercise while you watch television.
- Make time for physical activity. Walk, jog or swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks. Try doing something active after dinner with your family, especially on weekends. Choose activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging or stair climbing.
Bring a friend
- Ask friends and family to exercise with you, and plan social activities involving exercise. Plan a party with physically active games and activities for your family and your children’s friends.
- Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking or running club.
- Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you have the most energy.
- Pay attention to how you feel after physical activity. You’ll be surprised by how long a short exercise can sustain your energy levels.
- Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your family’s daily or weekly schedule and write it on a family activity calendar. Keep track of your progress with this exercise chart.
- Pick activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs or jogging.
- Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you, and create opportunities for your children to be active with friends.
Build new skills
- Find a friend who is willing to teach you some new skills.
- Take a class to develop new skills and enroll your children in classes, such as swimming, gymnastics or tennis.
Use available resources
- Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope or stretching and strengthening movements.
- Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community, such as education, park and recreation and work site programs.
Don’t let the weather stop you
- Pick activities that don’t depend on the weather — indoor cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, stretching and strengthening, stair climbing, jumping rope, walking in the mall or dancing.
- Prepare for changing seasons. Try cross-country skiing or skating during winter; outdoor swimming, tennis and cycling during summer. Invest in weather-appropriate attire to stay comfortable year-round.
We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. Research shows that parents and caregivers are the primary influence on this age group. The We Can! national education program provides parents and caregivers with tools, fun activities, and more to help them encourage healthy eating, increased physical activity, and reduced time sitting in front of the screen (TV or computer) in their entire family.
This program is administered and managed by the:
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
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