Physical activity may seem hard if you’re overweight. You may get short of breath or tired quickly. Finding or affording the right clothes and equipment may be frustrating. Or, perhaps you may not feel comfortable working out in front of others.
The good news is you can overcome these challenges. Not only can you be active at any size, you can have fun and feel good at the same time.
Research strongly shows that physical activity is safe for almost everyone. The health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks.1
If you have problems moving or staying steady on your feet, or if you get out of breath easily, talk with a health care professional before you start. You also should talk with a health care professional if you are unsure of your health, have any concerns that physical activity may be unsafe for you, or have:
- a chronic disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
- a bone or joint problem—for example, in your back, knee, or hip—that could get worse if you change your physical activity level
Being active may help you live longer and protect you from developing serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Regular physical activity is linked to many health benefits, such as:
• healthy bones, muscles, and joints
• lower blood pressure and blood glucose, or blood sugar
• a strong heart and lungs
• better sleep at night and improved mood
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition defines regular physical activity as a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking. Brisk walking is a pace of three miles per hour or faster. A moderate-intensity activity makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you. You should also do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
You may reach this goal by starting with five minutes of physical activity several times a day, five to six days a week. You could then gradually work up to 10 minutes per session, three times a day. If you do even more activity, you may gain even more health benefits.1
When combined with healthy eating, regular physical activity may also help you control your weight. However, research shows that even if you can’t lose weight or maintain your weight loss, you still can enjoy important health benefits from regular physical activity.
Physical activity also can be a lot of fun if you do activities you enjoy and are active with other people. Being active with others may give you a chance to meet new people or spend more time with family and friends. You also may inspire and motivate one another to get and stay active.