How to Start an Exercise Program

Starting an exercise program can be intimidating. The best advice is to start slow, and add more activities as you go. Strive to double your weekly activity time. Work to be active 5 or more hours each week.


  • Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate effort.
  • You need to do this type of activity for at least 10 minutes at a time.


  • Adults should also do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.
  • Strengthening activities include push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights (see page 7 for more ideas on what activities to do, how much, and how often).

Do it your way.

  • Pick an activity you like and one that fits into your life.
  • Find the time that works best for you.
  • Be active with friends and family. Having a support network can help you keep up with your program.
  • There are many ways to build the right amount of activity into your life. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.

For best success

  • Team up with a friend. It will keep you motivated and be more fun.
  • Pick activities that you like to do.
  • Track your time and progress. It helps you stay on course
  • Add in more strength-building activities over time. For example, you can do sit-ups or push-ups.

Planning your activity for the week Physical activity experts say that spreading aerobic exercise out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, do each activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. There are many ways to fit in 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day, for 5 days. On the other 2 days, do activities to keep your muscles strong. Find ways that work well for you.

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