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Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life

Table of Contents


If you have decided to get more active, congratulations! Making that decision is an important first step in becoming a healthier person.

Keep these key points in mind:

How do you start getting active?

As we said before, you're not as likely to succeed if you jump in too far too fast. In this section, you'll learn about the steps to follow in setting up an exercise plan.

Set your goals

When you are clear about your reasons for wanting to get active, it's time to set your goals.

What is your long-term goal? A long-term goal is something you want to reach in 6 to 12 months. For example, someone who isn't active at all right now may have a goal of entering an organized 5-kilometer walk in 6 months.

Whatever you choose for your goal, experts recommend doing either of these things to get and stay healthy:1

It's fine to be active in several blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. And you can choose to do one or both types of activity.

If you decide to aim for these recommendations, what are the short-term goals that will help you get there? Short-term goals are things you want to do tomorrow and the day after.

For example, if you want to build up to walking 30 minutes every day, you might start by walking just 10 minutes a day, a few days a week. After a week, you can set a new goal by adding just a few minutes every day or adding another day to your schedule.

Read more about setting goals.

Here are some quick tips about activity goals:

Pick an activity and prepare for it

For ideas on fitting more activity into your day, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.

Think about barriers

Take the time to think about what things could get in the way of your success. We call these things barriers. And by thinking about them now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen. Read more about common barriers and what you can do about them.

Here are some tips for dealing with barriers:

It might help you to write down your goals and your barriers

Get support—from others and from yourself

The more support you have, the easier it is to exercise.

If your family members tell you that they love how you're getting healthier, you'll probably be motivated to bound up the stairs at work or walk an extra 10 minutes.

And there's more support out there. You can even ask for encouragement. Here are a few things to look for:

You might find a fitness professional at a local health club or in phone listings. When deciding on fitness professionals, ask about how they were trained and what certifications they have. Check into experience and ask for a few references.

Support is everywhere. You just have to look for it.



  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available online:

Credits for Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life

Current as of: October 10, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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