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Exercise: Getting the Most from Your 30 Minutes

Your exercise goal is 30 minutes on most days. Aim for a total of 150 or more minutes a week. Be sure you’re getting the most from your time spent being active.

Man and woman dressed in business attire and athletic shoes walking briskly on pavement in city, smiling.

Use Your Whole Body

You’re working your heart and lungs. Try adding a few activities for other muscles in your body, too.

Strengthen your:

  • Lower legs: Go up and down slowly on your toes, while you’re filing papers or washing dishes.

  • Upper legs: Lower yourself slowly into a chair without using your arms.

Stretch your:

  • Back: After you get up from a chair, place your palms on your low back and lean your upper body back.

  • Shoulders and chest: Lift your arms overhead and reach tall while waiting for your computer to warm up.

  • Lower legs: Raise your toes and press them against a wall (with your heel on the ground).

Find Extra Minutes

  • At work: Pick a lunch spot a few blocks away and stride there and back. Use your break for a brisk walk.

  • At home: Ride bikes with your kids. Use an exercise bike in the living room while you watch TV.

  • On errands: Park a few blocks away from where you need to go and walk there briskly. “Power-walk” in malls by doing a fast lap or two before shopping.

  • At play: Go hiking with friends instead of sitting on a bench. Stride through street fairs instead of sitting in a movie.

Tips for Sticking With It

  • Plan your activity by writing it on a calendar.

  • Find a buddy at work to walk with during a lunch break.

  • Take your kids with you on a short walk after dinner.

  • Post a reminder list of the benefits of activity where you can see it.

  • Set an alarm to tell you when it’s time for an activity break.

Online Medical Reviewer: Carman, Jody, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Pape, Joy, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN
Last Review Date: 2/27/2012
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