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Best Exercises to Lose Weight for All Ages


Overweight mom and dad jogging with mildly overweight son

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time in your busy schedule, but everyone needs physical activity to stay healthy. Small changes can add up to significant health benefits! The guidelines below will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Physical Activity for Adults

Adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of physical exercise and at least two days each week of muscle-strengthening activities. A simple way to break down 150 minutes is to do 30 minutes, 5 days per week.

Some moderate-intensity physical activities you can do include:

  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Walking your dog
  • Playing a sport
  • Dancing

Some muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Weightlifting
  • Pushups
  • Stair climbing

You can receive the same benefits in half the time if you do vigorous-intensity aerobic training. Try to reach at least 75 minutes a week. This could be 25 minutes, 3 days per week.

Some vigorous-intensity physical activities you can do include:

  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
  • Jogging or running
  • Heavy yard work (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Cycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope

Physical activity helps to:

  • Boost your mood
  • Sharpen your focus
  • Reduce your stress
  • Improve your sleep
  • Lower your chance of getting diseases like type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Dad and daughters dancing together

Physical Activity for Children

It’s encouraged that children get at least 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least three days each week of high-intensity aerobic exercise. They also need at least three days a week of muscle-strengthening training and at least three days a week of bone-strengthening activity.

Some moderate-intensity physical activities they can do include:

  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Sports
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming

Some muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Climbing on monkey bars
  • Pushups

Some bone-strengthening activities include:

  • Running
  • Jump roping
  • Sports

Family exercising together

Have children younger than 6? Here’s what to do.

Younger kids tend to be naturally active!

  • Aim to get them moving at least 3 hours a day — any more than that is a plus
  • Try to limit the time when they’re just sitting around (like screen time)

You can also get active together by making morning walks a race, dancing while dinner is in the oven, or showing them your favorite ways to move!

Learn how your kids can get 60 minutes of daily activity by visiting https://health.gov/moveyourway/get-kids-active .

Physical Activity During and After Pregnancy

It’s recommended that after pregnancy, you need at least 150 minutes a week doing a moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least two days each week doing a muscle-strengthening activity.

Being physically active can make your labor shorter and recovery faster. It can also help make it less likely that you will have complications like:

  • Gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy)
  • Preeclampsia (a condition that causes high blood pressure and other problems)
  • Postpartum depression

Some moderate-intensity physical activities you can do include:

  • Walking with your baby
  • Walking your dog
  • Vacuuming
  • Grocery Shopping

Some muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Playing outside with your baby
  • Pushing your baby in a stroller
  • Lifting your baby

What is safe during pregnancy?

Many activities are safe! However, try to avoid:

  • Contact sports and anything where you could fall or get hit in the stomach
  • During your first trimester, lying flat on your back during activity (causes problems with blood flow)

Find different ways to adapt to your favorite physical activities, like propping yourself up with a pillow when you’d typically be on your back.

How do I start?

A great way to start your physical activity journey is to use an activity planner to organize goals, choose activities you are interested in, and get tips to help you stay motivated. Start your activity planner today at https://health.gov/moveyourway/activity-planner.


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