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Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas

Table of Contents


Aerobic exercises increase the flow of oxygen to your muscles. This allows your muscles to work longer, helping you do more activities for longer periods of time. These exercises include walking, using a treadmill, and swimming. Daily activities can also be aerobic. These activities include walking your dog, doing housework, and playing with children.

Finding the right activity

Experts say to do regular moderate activity and/or vigorous-intensity activity.

Here are some ideas for both types of activities. You can boost many of the moderate activities in the left column to a vigorous level by doing them faster or harder.

Types of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activities

Moderate intensity

Vigorous intensity

General exercise:

  • Brisk walking
  • Light to moderate calisthenics (for example, home exercises, back exercises, getting up and down from the floor)
  • Low-impact aerobic dancing
  • Jogging on a small trampoline
  • Weight lifting, body building, using a lot of effort
  • Light to moderate workouts on gym equipment like Nautilus or Universal machines or a rowing machine

General exercise:

  • Walking uphill, jogging, or running
  • Heavy calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.)
  • High-impact aerobic dancing
  • Jumping rope
  • Using a stair-climber or skiing machine
  • Stationary bicycling, with vigorous effort

Water exercises:

  • Treading water with moderate effort
  • Water aerobics or water calisthenics

Water exercises:

  • Swimming laps with fast, vigorous effort
  • Water jogging
  • Treading water with fast, vigorous effort

Outdoor activities:

  • Fishing and hunting
  • Tossing and catching a plastic disc
  • Children's games, like hopscotch, 4-square, and dodge ball
  • Playing on playground equipment
  • Shoveling snow

Outdoor activities:

  • Competitive sports like basketball and soccer
  • Hiking with a backpack
  • Mountain biking
  • Ice skating quickly (more than 9 mph)
  • Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

House and yard work:

  • Sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping floors
  • Washing the car with vigorous effort
  • Sweeping the garage, sidewalk, or patio
  • Washing the dog
  • Mowing or raking the lawn
  • Digging in the garden

Housework and yard work:

  • Carrying groceries upstairs
  • Carrying boxes or furniture

Staying motivated

There are many ways to motivate yourself to stay active. You can add variety to your activities and be active at work. You can also coach, compete, and cross-train. Here are some ideas:

Credits for Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas

Current as of: February 26, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff (
Clinical Review Board (
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