Have you heard that physical activity “gets your heart pumping”? Well, it’s true! But it also helps keep your heart strong and healthy for a lifetime.
Physical activity can sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. You can choose simple activities you really enjoy — or find ways to add more movement to things you have to do anyway. Anytime you’re moving your body, you’re protecting your heart. And it’s never too late to get started.
Move more, feel better
Physical activity is key to staying healthy in the long run: It strengthens your heart and lowers your blood pressure. It also lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many other health problems.
But physical activity isn’t just important for your future health — it can also improve your life right now. Being active can:
- Brighten your mood
- Help you sleep better
- Help you feel more energetic
- Lower your stress
So get more active today and see how much better you feel.
Want to lower your blood pressure right away?
You probably know that high blood pressure is bad news for your heart. But did you know that a single session of physical activity can lower your blood pressure right away? It’s true — and the effect can last for up to 24 hours. So get moving and watch your blood pressure fall! Learn more about controlling your blood pressure.
How can I start getting more active?
There are a million ways to get moving! And the best way is the way that works for you. Use these tips to get active.
Think beyond the gym
You don't need a gym membership or a personal trainer. You can get active without spending a dime. Try these tips:
- Follow along with online workout or yoga videos
- Walk, jog, or roll around your block or at the local community track
- Put on some music and dance around the house
I’m a busy person. How much time do I need for activity?
Experts recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity a week — that’s a little more than 20 minutes a day. But even a few minutes is good for you. The teensiest bit of activity is better than nothing. So do as much as you can today and add more over time — every minute counts!
Make it work with your schedule
Short on time? Plan short activity breaks during your day:
- Take walking meetings or walking lunch breaks at work
- Fit in a few squats while standing at your desk or the kitchen sink
- Do jumping jacks or planks during commercials while watching TV
You can also save time with chores that get you moving:
- Take your dog out for a stroll
- Do gardening or yardwork
- Sweep or vacuum
Is walking really “active” enough?
For sure! It may not feel like exercise, but a brisk walk can really get your heart pumping. And for many people, walking is the easiest way to boost activity. Try these tips to get more steps:
- Walk around the house while you’re talking on the phone
- Park farther away from work or stores
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Try walking or rolling at the mall when the weather’s bad*
Plan and track your progress
Planning ahead and tracking your activity can help you stay motivated. You can:
- Mark your activity plans on your calendar or set reminders on your phone
- Try tracking your movements with your phone or a fitness tracker to see how active you are each day
- Keep a record of completed activities — seeing progress can help you keep going
I have a disability. How can I stay active?
People with and without disabilities can find options that are safe and fun for you. Try these tips:
- Move more, using a wheelchair or walker if you need one
- Play adaptive sports, like wheelchair basketball
- Explore seated activities, like rowing machines
- Try classes that are gentle on your joints, like water aerobics
Find activities you actually enjoy
You may have more fun moving with other people. Try these active social options:
- Play catch or kick a soccer ball with your kids
- Invite friends or family for a walk around the neighborhood
- Join a fitness group, like a walking club
- Sign up for a free or low-cost fitness or dance class at your local rec center or YMCA*
Not into sports or group classes? No problem! Try a relaxing solo activity — like yoga, swimming, or gardening. Remember, this is your heart health, your way. You can find a rhythm that’s right for you — and helps keep your heart going strong for a lifetime.
*Refer to the CDC website for current recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination, distancing, and mask wearing.
Check out these resources to help you get moving:
Move Your Way® Activity Planner
Use this tool to build a personalized weekly activity plan.
Physical Activity Basics
Find lots of great resources to help you and your family get more active.
Fit in Walking Morning, Noon or Night
Get tips to fit a little more walking into your day.
Don't Work Out Alone — Fitness Peer Support
Learn how others can help you get more active.
Move Your Way® Video: Tips for Getting Motivated
Watch this video for tips to help you get motivated to get moving.
School of Strength Explore this site to find new ways to get active.