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Take Heart—Say Yes to Physical Activity

Download Take Heart—Say Yes to Physical Activity pdf document (91k, 2 pages) handout.

Regular physical activity can help your heart and lungs work better; lower your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose (blood sugar); and help you control your weight. It can also help you relax, feel less tense, sleep better, have more energy, and feel better about yourself. Physical activity can also reduce your risk for diabetes and some types of cancer. Make staying active a lifelong habit.

Doña Fela has learned that the more physical activity you do, the easier it gets:

“I do not wait until the end of the day when I am too tired to do any physical activity. I am active throughout the day. I take the stairs instead of the elevators and walk everywhere I can. Now I am up to walking 60 minutes a day with Leticia, my neighbor. It helps to like what you do and to do it with a friend. We are so busy talking, we walk even longer.”

Keep moving. Start slowly, and work your way up!

Strive to do at least 30 minutes of activity every day. If you’re short on time, try three or more 10-minute periods.

Start with light activities

  • Slow walking
  • Watering the lawn or garden
  • Vacuuming

Move to moderate activities

  • Walking at a brisk pace
  • Gardening (mowing, raking)
  • Dancing
  • Doing home repairs
  • Washing and waxing a car
  • Washing windows and scrubbing floors
  • Playing softball
  • Weightlifting

Increase to vigorous activities

  • Playing soccer
  • Playing basketball
  • Playing baseball
  • Running or jogging
  • Bicycling fast or uphill
  • Doing aerobics
  • Swimming laps
  • Jumping rope
  • Skating
  • Doing heavy construction work

Other things to do to help you and your family get started:

  • Leave a pair of walking shoes in your car.
  • Set a date and time with a coworker to begin walking.

Carmencita, Virginia, and Néstor Ramírez have all increased their physical activity. They now dance and use their stationary bike almost every day. And Mariano Ramírez jogs in place each day.

Make your personal pledge to exercise like the Ramírez family does!

Look at these examples:

  • Morning: Park the car a few blocks away and walk for 10 minutes.
  • Noon: During lunch, take a walk with a coworker.
  • Evening: After dinner, take a walk with your family.

Write the changes you will make this week:

Your health and your family’s health are priceless. Make an investment in it!

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Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Your Heart, Your Life, A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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