Physical Activity from the Inside Out

Updated:Apr 14,2014

Know your body

It’s easy to see the physical changes that can occur on the outside, but don’t overlook what’s happening on the inside! You have the power to improve your body with simple lifestyle changes.

Click on this image to see what exercise can do for your insides.

What are you waiting for?

Getting started seems to be the hardest hurdle, but once you begin to feel the results, you might not want to stop! Your first step is to visit your healthcare provider and find out if you have any restrictions or special guidelines — then get moving!

Boost your cardiovascular health by following The American Heart Association’s guidelines for physical activity.

We recommend for adults at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). At least 30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember, however you will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 -15 minutes per day. Read the full guidelines.

Tips for meeting the guidelines

With busy work schedules, family obligations and packed weekends, it can be difficult to get the physical activity you need. Try these tips for fitting in fitness: 

  • Do it in short bursts. Being physically active for 10 minutes at a time throughout the day can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes straight.
  • Mix it up. Combine moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity. For example, you can walk briskly for 30 minutes twice a week and jog at a higher intensity on two other days.
  • Set your schedule. Walk during your lunch hour or hit the pavement right after dinner. The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise and make it part of your routine.
  • The gym isn’t a necessity. A pair of athletic shoes and a little motivation are all you need to live a more active, healthier life. It doesn’t take an expensive gym membership to get the physical activity you need.
  • Make it a family affair. Bring your spouse, your children or a friend with you to add some fun to your exercise routine. It’s also a good way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a lifetime of health.
Exercise. The word is frequently used interchangeably with physical activity and makes some people want to run …. away! Physical activity does not have to be a structured, exercise program, but here’s why you should make being more physically active a top priority:
  • Heart disease. Physical activity can prevent many risk factors for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of all Americans. They include high blood pressure, increased triglyceride levels and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Stroke is a very serious condition most commonly caused by decreased blood supply to the brain. Regular exercise can reduce your chance of stroke. It helps lower your blood pressure, increases your HDL level (good cholesterol) and improves overall heart and blood vessel health.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if diabetes runs in your family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease. And if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, the same healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent more serious complications.
  • Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. Obesity is a serious health epidemic that affects the health of many Americans. Physical activity increases the body’s ability to use fat as an energy source.

Now get up off the couch and join the fight for your body — inside and out!!

This content was last reviewed on 01/10/2013.

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