skip to Cookie NoticeSkip to contents

Your health and safety remain our top priority: Learn about our Safe Care Commitment | Use our Prescreen app before arrival for faster entry | Read the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Header Skipped.

Physical Activity - What's Right for You?

Our bodies need regular activity. Satisfying this need requires a definite plan -- and a commitment.

A combination of regular aerobic and anaerobic activity is best for health. In fact, the United States Department of health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity 5x a week plus strengthening exercises twice a week.

Aerobic activities include jogging, walking, swimming and biking. These activities are associated with cardiovascular health. Essentially, our heart is a muscle and aerobic exercise strengthens it. Regular aerobic activity also helps with weight loss and maintenance of that loss by burning calories and increasing muscle mass.

Do different types of aerobic activities. Mix it up! Try walking one day, riding a bike the next. Make sure you choose an activity that can be done regularly, and is enjoyable for you.

Anaerobic activities include strength training. These activities help build muscle mass and prevent injury. Increasing muscle mass will increase metabolism, or your body's ability to burn calories. And, injury prevention will allow you to do more aerobic activity. The gym is the one place many people do strength training. Other ways to do these exercises is through a certified personal trainer, doing programs like Crossfit and doing free weights at home or body weight exercises.

If there are physical limitations on what you can do, it doesn't mean you can't exercise. You don't need two legs to ski. You don't need vision to do yoga. And a wheelchair doesn't prohibit you from playing basketball. But there are some precautions to keep in mind whether your limitations are permanent or temporary.

Tips to get you started

  1. Get your doctor's "OK" before starting an exercise program.
  2. Choose activities that you enjoy.
  3. Set aside a regular exercise time -- make time for this addition to your routine and don't let anything get in your way.
  4. Be realistic -- set short term goals. Don't expect to lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
  5. Keep a record of your progress and tell your friends and family about your achievements.
  6. Vary your exercise program to include aerobic and anaerobic activities.

Tips to keep you going

  • Create a plan and write it down.
  • Keep a log to record your progress.
  • Upgrade your fitness program as you build strength.
  • Avoid injuries by pacing yourself and including a warmup and cooldown in every workout.
  • Try new sports, equipment, classes, to stay motivated.
  • Reward yourself for a job well done!


For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH