Everyone can benefit from some type of physical activity, and it’s never too late to start. But sometimes getting started is the hardest part. It’s important to be realistic about what you can do. If you have not been active for a while, start out slow; don’t overdo it the first few days or weeks. Add a few more minutes to your activity each day until you reach your goal.

Deciding on the right type of activity for you is an important step in becoming more active. Choose activities you like to do – you’ll be more likely to stick with them – or try something new you’ve always wanted to do. Ask a friend to join you. Many people find that being active with a friend or family member makes the activity more enjoyable.

People with certain health conditions should talk to their doctor before increasing their physical activity level. You should check with your health care provider if you:

  • Are a man over the age of 40 or a woman over the age of 50
  • Have had a heart attack, have heart disease or a family history of heart disease
  • Have lung, liver or kidney disease
  • Have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis or asthma
  • Feel pain in your chest, joints or muscles during physical activity
  • Have had joint replacement therapy
  • Smoke
  • Are obese
  • Take medication to manage a chronic condition
  • Are pregnant
  • Are unsure about your health status

Working with your doctor may be the best way to plan an exercise program that’s right for you.

Some people find it difficult to be physically active for a variety of reasons. They don’t think they have the time or energy. They have family and work obligations. They are afraid of being injured. But with some planning, most people can find a way to be more physically active and improve their health. More information about finding ways to make physical activity a part of your life can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/life/overcome.htm.