Mass in Motion: Move more

Being active for 30 minutes a day can help you stay in shape, maintain your weight, and feel great.
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Tips to move more everyday

Moving more everyday helps lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with your heart, and some types of cancer. It can also help with stress, weight loss, and building strong muscles and bones. So park further away, go for a walk, take the stairs – just move more!

To take care of your health, you need either:

  • A total of 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate activity each week, or
  • A total of 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous activity each week

To lose weight, combine a healthy diet with at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day. In addition to being active, include muscle-strengthening activities 2 times a week.

Sound like a lot? The good news is that you can spread that activity out during the week so you don't have to do it all at once. You can even break it into smaller, 10-minute chunks of time!

How do I know if my activity is moderate or vigorous?

Try the "talk test."

A person who is doing moderate activity should be able to talk, but shouldn't be able to sing. These usually include activities like biking or walking.

If a person is too out of breath to carry on a conversation, the activity is vigorous. Vigorous activities include running, jogging, or playing a sport like basketball or tennis.

You don’t need a gym membership.

There are simple activities you and your family can fit into your busy schedules.

Indoors

  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Limit the time you spend in front of the TV, video games or computer to 2 hours each day.
  • Be active while watching TV. Use a stationary bike, treadmill, stair climber, or small weights.
  • No equipment? Pilates, yoga, and tai chi are great for toning, balance and flexibility.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch!

Outdoors

  • Play with your kids: shoot some hoops, jump rope, or play tag
  • Walk your kids to school or volunteer to chaperone a Walking School Bus
  • Take family walks after dinner
  • Go for a run or ride your bike
  • Walk to the grocery store and to other errands whenever you can
  • Plant a garden or mow the lawn
  • Try a new sport like tennis, hiking, or rollerblading
  • Massachusetts has a ton of state parks, forests and other open lands. Explore them all. Find them here.

Get past your barriers

Most people know that physical activity is good for their bodies and their health. So why are 2 out of 3 Americans still less active than they should be?

There are all kinds of reasons that keep people from being active. Maybe you feel you don't have the extra time, have no one to be active with, or lack the skills you think you need.

If you feel you don't have the time:

  • Think of any free time you have during your day. Keep track of your daily activities for one week and notice when you have 20 or 30 minute time slots you could use to be more active.
  • Add physical activity into your daily routine:
    • Walk or bike to work or errands
    • Walk the dog
    • Be active while you watch TV
    • Park far away from the place you're driving to
    • Take stairs instead of the elevator

If you need more support from family and friends:

  • Tell them that want to be more active: ask them to support and encourage you
  • Invite friends or family members to work out with you, or plan events that involve being more active
  • Develop friendships with people who are already active. Join a group, such as the YMCA.
  • Find a hiking or walking club

If you don't have the energy:

  • Schedule physical activity for times during the day or week when you know you'll have the most energy
  • Remind yourself that being active gives you an energy boost — try to push yourself, you'll be happy you did

If you think you don't have the skills:

  • Choose activities that are easy, and require no new skills: walking, climbing stairs, or using a stationery bike
  • Take a class to develop new skills or learn a new sport

If you don't feel motivated:

  • Plan ahead and write it into your schedule
  • Invite a friend to work out with you on a regular basis
  • Join an exercise group or class — sometimes it's easier to attend a class than to work out by yourself

If you're afraid of getting hurt:

  • Learn how to warm up and cool down the right way so you don't hurt yourself, with tips from the Mayo Clinic and the American College of Sports Medicine
  • Choose activities that involve very little risk: walking, swimming or biking
  • Learn how to work out the correct way for your age, fitness level, skill level and health status

If you don't have the resources you think you need:

  • Choose activities that don't require going to a gym or using a lot of equipment: swimming, hiking, biking, yoga, Pilates, or tai chi.
  • Look for cheap, easy resources available in your community: the city or town parks and recreation program in your city or town may have team sports and classes for kids and adults. Some YMCA's have sliding scale fees.

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