What is physical activity?

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Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller, climbing the stairs, playing soccer, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being active. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous and add up to at least 30 minutes a day.

Moderate physical activities include:

    * Walking briskly (about 3 ½ miles per hour)
    * Hiking
    * Gardening/yard work
    * Dancing
    * Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
    * Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
    * Weight training (general light workout)

Vigorous physical activities include:

    * Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
    * Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
    * Swimming (freestyle laps)
    * Aerobics
    * Walking very fast (4 ½ miles per hour)
    * Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
    * Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
    * Basketball (competitive)

Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations. Although you are moving, these activities do not increase your heart rate, so you should not count these towards the 30 or more minutes a day that you should strive for. These include walking at a casual pace, such as while grocery shopping, and doing light household chores.

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