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Tips to get physically active

More ideas to boost your physical activity.

Year round fun

Hopefully, you’ve decided that it's time to make physical activity a regular part of your life. And now, you want to get more ideas to boost your physical activity.

Try to make physical activity a part of every day. Walk to work, take a physical activity break at lunch time, or go for an after-dinner stroll. That way it's easy and fun, not a time crunch.

  • If you're just starting out, go slow and work up gradually. Make sure you have an action plan for each season, so that the weather doesn't get in the way. Work physical activity into your daily life. Take a walk around the block, play with your kids, or dance to your favourite music.
  • List the activities you like (swimming, bowling, biking) and the rewards you hope to gain (better heart health, reduced stress). Then plan how to make them part of your daily routine. At work, carve out 10 minutes to walk during lunch. If you have children, ask your family, friends or neighbours to pitch in to watch the kids while you take that dance class you've always wanted to sign up for.
  • Involve family and friends in your physical activity program. You'll gain support and companionship. You don't need to go it alone!
  • Keep at it, and within three months or less, you'll notice a big difference in your fitness level. You'll feel better, have more energy, sleep more soundly and reduce your stress.

Here are some physical activities to try throughout the year:

SPRING AND SUMMER

  • biking
  • gardening
  • golfing
  • hiking
  • inline skating
  • baseball, basketball, Frisbee, kickball, soccer, tag, volleyball
  • skipping rope
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • walking
  • water aerobics (aqua fitness)water aerobics (aqua fitness)

FALL AND WINTER

  • bowling
  • dancing
  • hiking
  • ice skating
  • weight lifting
  • mall walking
  • hockey
  • skiing
  • sledding
  • snow shoeing
  • snowboarding
  • stretching
  • tobagganing
  • yoga

OTHER IDEAS

  • cycle or walk to work
  • climb the stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator
  • get off the bus or subway a stop earlier and walk to work and home
  • make appointments for walking meetings with co-workers
  • walk the kids to school
  • park the car further away from your destination
  • walk to the corner store, bank and post office
  • wash and wax the car by hand

Have a look at Your Plan to Get Active Every Day! for ideas to put the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines into action. The 32-page booklet includes all eight of the guidelines and sample log books with plenty of ways you can incorporate physical activity into your schedule.

Click here for easy stretching and strengthening exercises that you can do at home.

Here are some helpful online videos that can show you how to get started:

Start Walking

Walking is easy, fun and provides instant benefits. More than half the body’s muscles are designed for walking; it’s the body’s natural movement that is virtually injury-free.

From feeling great to supporting the environment, there are many rewards to walking. Walking lets you connect with family and friends, helps clear your mind and problem-solve, allows you to explore and enjoy your surroundings, and helps relieves stress and tension. Walking is the most popular physical activity in Canada – no special skill or equipment is required and it is easy to fit into 10 minute intervals throughout the day. And it’s good for your health too!

The Heart and Stroke Foundation in Nova Scotia gets Nova Scotians moving with a program called Heart&Stroke Walkabout TM. Even if you live outside the province, you can still access on-line information, inspiration and interactive eTools from anywhere in Canada. Check it out at Heart&Stroke WalkaboutTM.

If you have a heart problem, check out our HeartWalk Workout. This special exercise program developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation helps people with cardiovascular problems get regular healthy exercise.

And a pedometer can motivate you to walk more too. Visit Using a Pedometer and the Pedometer Information Sheet for Adults for more information about how a pedometer can help you to get walking.

NOTE: Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity program.

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Last reviewed: June 2013
Last modified: December 2013

Regardless of age, it's never too late to add activity to your life

Choose activities you enjoy. That way you're more likely to stick with it. If the gym isn't your style, head for a walking trail, do some gardening, work on your golf game or join a yoga class. If weather is a barrier:

  • climb stairs in your home
  • join a mall-walking group
  • stroll the halls of your apartment building or retirement residence.

Get active your way - at home, in your community, with friends – going to and from activities such as:

  • walking to meetings
  • church events
  • dinner parties in your neighbourhood

Click here for easy stretching and strengthening exercises that you can do at home.

Have a look at Your Plan to Get Active Every Day! for ideas to put the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines into action. The 32-page booklet includes all eight of the guidelines and sample log books with plenty of ways you can incorporate physical activity into your schedule.

Start Walking

Walking is easy, fun and provides instant benefits. More than half the body’s muscles are designed for walking; it’s the body’s natural movement that is virtually injury-free.

From feeling great to supporting the environment, there are many rewards to walking. Walking lets you connect with family and friends, helps clear your mind and problem-solve, allows you to explore and enjoy your surroundings, and helps relieves stress and tension. Walking is the most popular physical activity in Canada – no special skill or equipment is required and it is easy to fit into 10 minute intervals throughout the day. And it’s good for your health too!

The Heart and Stroke Foundation in Nova Scotia gets Nova Scotians moving with a program called Heart&Stroke Walkabout TM. Even if you live outside the province, you can still access on-line information, inspiration and interactive eTools from anywhere in Canada. Check it out at Heart&Stroke WalkaboutTM.

If you have a heart problem, check out our Heart Walk Workout. This special exercise program developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation helps people with heart disease problems get regular healthy exercise.

And a pedometer can motivate you to walk more too. Visit Using a Pedometer and the Pedometer Information Sheet for Adults for more information about how a pedometer can help you to get walking.

NOTE: Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity program.

Top

Last reviewed: June 2013
Last modified: December 2013

    Physical activity needs of children and youth

    Children are naturally energetic, but without encouragement, they can become inactive.

    Many children spend more and more time sitting – in class, on a school bus, using the computer, playing video games, or watching TV. As a result, more than half of Canadian children aren’t active enough for optimal health and development.

    Be a good role model

    It’s up to you as a parent to keep your kids active. So try being a good role model. If your children see you make physical activity a priority, they will take note. Research shows that active parents have active children. Here are some ways you can get them moving:

    • Encourage your kids to walk, bike, rollerblade or skateboard to school.
    • Enroll them in fitness activities at your local community centre such as badminton, basketball or swimming.
    • Get the neighbours together for a game of pick-up hockey or baseball on the weekends.

    One day at a time

    Your kids don’t have to make the change all at once. They may start by being active 10 minutes a day, increasing the time each week until daily activity becomes part of their healthy lifestyle. Children are naturally active so they may be doing some light or moderate activity already. Try increasing active periods by 10 minutes and reducing screen time by 10 minutes every few days to make being active a part of their daily routine.

    For fun ideas on how to keep kids active, visit the Fun and Fitness page in the Healthy Kids section of our website. Or have a look at Your Plan to Get Active Every Day! for ideas to put the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines into action for all ages. The 32-page booklet includes all eight of the guidelines and sample log books with plenty of ways you can incorporate physical activity into your schedule.

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    Last reviewed: June 2013
    Last modified: December 2013
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