What are the 5 Physical Activities?
Physical activity is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing disease. Experts recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. There are many types of physical activity to choose from, but some of the top options include:
- Strength Training
- How to Get Started With a New Exercise Routine
- Frequently Asked Questions About Physical Activity
- Final Thoughts on Increasing Physical Activity
- How can I add more activity to my daily routine?
- How can I exercise if I have an injury or disability?
- What exercise can I do if I’m overweight?
- What should I wear when working out?
- What home equipment is worth buying?
- How do I exercise outdoors in bad weather?
- How do I stay safe when working out alone?
Walking is one of the simplest yet most beneficial forms of exercise. It requires no equipment, just a good pair of shoes. You can walk anywhere at your own pace. Going for brisk walks regularly provides these benefits:
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Promotes weight loss
- Reduces stress and anxiety
How much walking should you aim for? Experts recommend getting in at least 10,000 steps per day for good health. Break it up into shorter walks if needed. Getting outside for walks also provides the added benefit of getting fresh air and sunshine.
Running is a heart-pumping cardio workout that torchs calories and builds endurance. It allows you to challenge yourself by going longer distances or picking up the pace. Running offers these advantages:
- Burns more calories than walking in less time
- Strengthens bones, ligaments and tendons
- Improves cardiovascular capacity
- Releases endorphins to boost mood
Running is simple to do anywhere and only requires a good pair of athletic shoes. Start slow if you’re new to it and gradually increase distance or speed. Aim for 20-30 minutes of running at least 3 days per week. Race training programs are also great motivation.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that works all the major muscle groups in your legs, core and arms. The benefits of regular cycling include:
- Increases cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthens muscles without excessive strain
- Burns calories to aid weight loss
- Reduces stress and improves mental health
You can cycle outdoors on roads or trails or indoors on a stationary bike. Outdoor cycling allows you to enjoy fresh air and scenery. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and work up to 30-60 minutes of cycling at least 3 days weekly. Cycle at a pace that raises your heart rate but allows you to go the distance.
4. Strength Training
In addition to aerobic exercise, it’s vital to incorporate strength training into your routine. Using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises builds muscle and bone strength. Strength training offers these benefits:
- Builds muscle mass to boost metabolism
- Maintains bone density as you age
- Supports joint health and prevents injury
- Improves mobility and balance
Aim to do strength training 2-3 days per week, allowing rest days in between. Work all the major muscle groups, including legs, back, chest, core, shoulders and arms. Use weights or resistance that feels challenging by the last rep of each set. Get guidance on proper form to prevent injury.
Yoga should also be part of a balanced fitness routine along with cardio and strength training. The benefits of yoga include:
- Improves flexibility, balance and posture
- Builds core strength
- Relieves stress and tension
- Promotes mindfulness and well-being
Any style of yoga will get you moving and work up a light sweat. Beginner classes teach proper alignment and foundational poses. Aim to take yoga 1-2 times per week. Focus on breath and moving through poses at your own pace. Yoga is gentle activity that complements high-intensity training.
Getting in 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days provides tremendous benefits for your body and mind. But where to start if you haven’t exercised in a while? Don’t be overwhelmed. Start slowly and focus on consistency. Even 10-15 minutes a day of walking provides great benefits over being sedentary.
The key is choosing activities you enjoy so you stick with it long-term. Mixing up different types of exercise prevents boredom and works your body in different ways. Have you tried any of the top 5 activities? If so, how did you get started and keep up the routine? Share your best tips and tricks!
How to Get Started With a New Exercise Routine
You now know that walking, running, cycling, strength training and yoga make up the top physical activities for a healthy lifestyle. But getting started with exercise can be daunting, especially if you’ve been inactive for a long time. Follow these tips to ease into a sustainable routine:
Consult Your Doctor First
Talk to your physician before significantly increasing physical activity if you have chronic health conditions or concerns. Get any necessary medical clearances and ask for advice on types of exercise appropriate for your fitness level. Your doctor can refer you to physical therapy or training resources as needed.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s easy to get overambitious when starting a new routine. Avoid injury or burnout by setting conservative goals at first. If new to exercise, start with just 5-10 minutes of walking per day and increase from there. Focus on consistency rather than speed or distance. Ramp up goals gradually over time.
Find Accountability Partners
Sharing your goals and progress with others helps you stay motivated. Enlist friends, family or colleagues to be accountability partners. Join a class at the gym or use social media groups to connect with supportive people. Having a planned workout with someone makes it harder to skip.
Track Activity and Progress
Monitoring your workouts helps you see progress over time. Use a journal, training log app or fitness tracker to record activities, sets, reps, distance, pace and duration. Note how you feel after workouts too. Reviewing your activity history boosts motivation and allows you to see trends.
Schedule Exercise Time
Treat exercise time slots like appointments that can’t be changed or skipped. Block off time on your calendar and make it a priority. Schedule workouts for when you have the most energy. Wake up earlier, use a lunch break or wind down before bed with stretching. Planning prevents exercise from falling lower on the to-do list.
The most challenging part of starting a new workout routine is just getting started. But taking it slowly, tracking progress and enlisting support ensures you stick with it. Within a few weeks, regular exercise will start to feel like a habit. Soon you’ll be ready to take on more challenge and reap even more benefits. What tips do you have for beginners just starting to exercise? Please share your best advice in the comments to motivate others!
Frequently Asked Questions About Physical Activity
If you’re looking to get more active, you probably have quite a few questions about where to start and how to stay motivated. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about getting in shape:
How much exercise do I really need each week?
Most guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week for good health. Mix up different types of exercise too for variation.
What’s the best time of day to exercise?
The best time is when you have the most energy and it fits your schedule. Some people prefer mornings, while others have more energy at night. Try different times to see what works for your body’s circadian rhythms. Consistency matters most.
How hard should my workouts be?
Challenging yourself is good, but don’t overdo it as a beginner. Build up endurance and strength gradually. Aim to exercise at a moderate intensity where you can still carry on a conversation. If you can’t talk, you’re pushing too hard.
What should I eat before and after a workout?
Eat a light, carb-rich snack 30-60 minutes pre-workout. Good options include oatmeal, whole grain toast, fruit or yogurt. Refuel within 30 minutes post-workout with protein plus carbohydrates to aid muscle recovery. Think yogurt, chocolate milk or peanut butter toast.
How can I stay motivated to keep exercising regularly?
Pick activities you enjoy, exercise with others when possible, mix up your routine, set goals, use apps to track progress and reward consistency. Remind yourself regularly of the mental and physical benefits to stay motivated through a rough patch.
Starting an exercise habit takes determination and patience with yourself, but the benefits for your body and mind make it so rewarding. Arm yourself with the right knowledge so you stick with it this time. What other questions do you have about getting more active? Ask below!
Final Thoughts on Increasing Physical Activity
Adding more physical activity to your daily life is one of the best things you can do for your health. The top 5 exercise types - walking, running, cycling, strength training and yoga - provide immense benefits for your cardiovascular fitness, muscle and bone strength, mentality, and more.
Getting started is the hardest part, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle. But taking it slowly, setting realistic goals, tracking progress, and finding accountability partners will help you form life-long exercise habits. Becoming more active quickly becomes second nature when you focus on enjoyment and consistency.
Getting active comes with a lot of questions if you're new to exercise. Here are answers to some other common FAQs:
How can I add more activity to my daily routine?
Look for ways to incorporate more movement into your normal daily activities: take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk during lunch or phone calls, do housework vigorously, park farther from entrances, stand when you can, fidget, pace when thinking. It all adds up.
How can I exercise if I have an injury or disability?
Talk to your doctor about safe activities or modify exercises to work around limitations. Water aerobics, chair yoga, walking, and strength exercises done seated or lying down are great low-impact options. Focus on moving any part of your body that you comfortably can.
What exercise can I do if I’m overweight?
Walking is a great start, along with low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, elliptical machines, chair-based strength training, and stretching. Avoid high-impact exercises until you build joint resilience. Focus on improving fitness and mobility first before worrying about weight loss.
What should I wear when working out?
Wear breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that move with your body. Proper athletic shoes are essential—get fitted at a specialty store. Compression tops and leggings provide muscle support. Dress in layers you can remove as you get warmer. Don’t worry about looks—prioritize comfort.
What home equipment is worth buying?
Investing in a yoga mat, good pair of shoes, exercise bands, foam roller, and weighted balls can allow many effective home workouts. Treadmills or stationary bikes are pricier but great for cardio. Buy just 1-2 versatile items to start until you stick with a routine. Then add equipment.
How do I exercise outdoors in bad weather?
Embrace the elements! Cooler weather makes outdoor exercise more comfortable. Walk or jog using proper layered athleisure wear for warmth. Consider waterproof shoes, high visibility gear, and traction devices for snow and ice. Maintain good hygiene to prevent illness when running in rain, heat, or humidity.
How do I stay safe when working out alone?
Stick to well-lit, populated areas if exercising outside at night. Tell someone your route and when to expect you back. Bring your phone and ID. Make yourself visible with reflective gear. Consider a personal safety alarm on your keychain. Stay alert with headphones at low volume. Trust your instincts if a situation feels unsafe.
Regular physical activity provides immense health benefits, from improving cardiovascular fitness to building muscle and bone strength. Experts recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Walking, running, cycling, strength training, and yoga make up five of the best types of exercise. Walking is simple, accessible anywhere, and improves endurance. Running burns more calories, builds stronger bones, and boosts mood through endorphins. Cycling strengthens the lower body without straining joints. Strength training maintains muscle mass and bone density. Yoga improves flexibility, core strength, and mental wellbeing. Getting started with exercise can be challenging, especially if you’ve been inactive. It’s important to consult your doctor first if you have health conditions. Begin slowly and set realistic goals like 5-10 minutes per day then build up. Use apps to track progress and find accountability partners for motivation. Schedule exercise appointments in your calendar to make it a priority. Proper athletic shoes and clothing are important when working out. Eat a carb-rich pre-workout snack and refuel with protein after. With determination, exercise will soon become a lifelong healthy habit.