Add exercise to your schedule most days
If you're like many people, this is a promise you've made before. Regular exercise reduces the risk of many health problems. Specifically, you'll get the most health benefits from at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week—brisk walking, ballroom dancing, or gardening, for example—or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, such as jogging, aerobic dancing, or jumping rope. But any burst of physical activity lasting at least 10 minutes counts toward the goal. And both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are acceptable, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which apply to all Americans ages 6 and older. On at least two days per week, aim to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups of your body, including the abdomen, arms, back, chest, hips, legs, and shoulders.
The guidelines suggest that 6- to 17-year-olds get one hour or more of exercise daily, mostly aerobic activity but also incorporating muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities. And older adults and those with disabilities should make an effort to meet the guidelines. In situations where it's simply not possible, they should still try to be as active as possible and work with a healthcare provider to develop a workout plan that is manageable.