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Health Information for the Public

Say "Yes" to Physical Activity

Your Choice for Change - Honoring the Gift of Heart Health for American Indians

Section Five - Maintain a Healthy Weight! Stay Active and Feel Better!

Make physical activity your answer to feeling tired, bored, and out of shape. Physical activity helps you improve your heart health, reduce stress, and feel better. Follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Set your goal. Start slowly, and work your way up.
  2. Do your favorite moderate physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes on most days. If you are short on time, divide it up. For example, walk for 20 minutes three times a day.
  3. Write down the activities you plan to do.

Mary: "I do not wait until the end of the day. I am active throughout the day. I take the stairs and walk everywhere I can. Now I am up to walking 40 minutes a day with my neighbor. It helps to like what you do and to enjoy it with someone. We are so busy talking, we walk even longer."

Examples of moderate and vigorous activities

Moderate Activities

You may breathe harder, or your heart may beat faster. You should still be able to talk with a friend.

  • Brisk walking
  • Dancing
  • Playing traditional games
  • Lifting weights
  • Riding a stationary bike

Vigorous Activities

You may breathe harder, or your heart may beat very fast. It will be hard to talk with a friend at the same time.

  • Running
  • Aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Chopping wood
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing basketball or other sports

Are You Ready To Begin?

  • You can start physical activity slowly if you do not have a health problem.
  • If you have a health problem, check with your doctor before starting physical activity.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6340
June 2008

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