Regular physical activity is a key ingredient for health. Not only does exercise benefit your body, it also benefits your mind. Here are just a few of those benefits:
- Helps with weight loss and helps prevent weight gain
- Makes your heart and lungs stronger
- Helps strengthen bones, muscles and joints
- Enhances flexibility and improves posture
- Lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes
- Helps control blood pressure
- Improves self-esteem and sense of well-being
- Reduces stress, depression and anxiety
You may think of physical activity as needing special equipment or playing competitive sports. But exercise simply means moving your body. You may be surprised at what that includes, like working in the yard, washing your car or mopping the floor.
How much exercise do I need?
For maximum benefit, physical activity should be moderate to vigorous in intensity. For good health, get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, or 150 minutes per week. To lose weight or prevent weight gain, get 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, or 300 minutes or more per week.
Moderate vs. vigorous activity
Moderate activities get you moving at a comfortable pace. They speed up your heart-rate without causing heavy breathing. During moderate-intensity activities, you should still be able to talk easily. Examples include brisk walking, gardening, stretching, bicycling and swimming.
Vigorous activities are faster and more intense. They greatly increase your heart rate and breathing. Examples include speed walking, jogging, biking uphill or swimming steady laps.
Consider your preferences
It’s important to choose things you enjoy and that you can do often so you don’t get bored or burned out. Look for ways to mix physical activity into your day. As you’re creating a plan that works for you, consider these:
- Your schedule: When does your schedule allow you to work out? Is it best in the morning, during your lunch break, after work or after dinner?
- Your budget: Can you afford a gym membership or equipment to keep in your home? Or do you need to look for low- or no-cost ways to get moving?
- Your ideal environment: Do you prefer to exercise in your home, yard, at a gym, park, etc.?
No matter which options you choose, the most important thing is that you get up and get moving each and every day.
- Try parking farther from store entrances to get more steps.
- Take a 5- to 10-minute dance break each hour of your workday.
- Try different types of exercise to prevent boredom.
- Walk up and down the ball field while you watch your child play.
- Drive less. Walk, skate or cycle more.
- Do yardwork or housework.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Join a virtual exercise challenge.
Step up to the GET FIT* challenge in FOCUSfwd®
The annual GET FIT challenge rewards you for taking steps toward your exercise goals – an average of 5,500 steps per day to be exact. By participating, you’ll be working toward your daily exercise goals and earning rewards along the way. When you complete the GET FIT challenge, you’ll receive $20 in gift cards plus 25 entries into the FOCUSfwd Sweepstakes, increasing your chances of winning one of our $1,000 quarterly and $5,000 annual cash rewards!
To get started, you'll need to:
- Within FOCUSfwd, select GET FIT.
- Within the GET FIT registration, select I Want to GET FIT!
- Connect your smartphone or activity tracker (Fitbit®, Garmin® or Misfit). If your device is not listed, you can always download and use the Fitbit app. For full instructions on connecting your device, check out BlueChoiceSC.com/deviceintegration.
*GET FIT is a calendar-year program and will restart annually.