How Do I Get Started?

Getting ActiveTry to be active for 30 minutes, five times a week. You can do 10 minutes at a time. Build physical activity into your daily routine. Try to be active on most days of the week.

Healthy physical activity can be as simple as going for a brisk walk with your pet, raking leaves, or doing housework. It can mean making small, routine choices. For instance, choose to take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. Get off the bus one stop early and enjoy the walk home. In bad weather, many people go for walks in the local mall.

Start with slow walking. When you are ready, increase your pace.

Other ways to stay active include dancing, yoga, jogging, swimming and ‘aqua fitness’.

Get your heart rate up

The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that your 30 minutes a day of exercise be moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. Moderate aerobic activity makes you breathe harder and your heart beats faster. You should be able to talk, but not sing. Examples include walking quickly, skating, and riding a bike.

Vigorous aerobic activity makes your heart rate increase quite a bit. You won’t be able to say more than a few words without needing to catch your breath. Examples include brisk walking uphill, running, fast swimming, fast dancing, basketball, soccer, and cross-country skiing.

Challenge your muscles

In addition to doing moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, do some resistance exercises three times a week to build muscle strength. Examples of resistance exercise are:

  • push-ups
  • sit-ups
  • exercises using a giant band called a resistance band
  • weight lifting
  • exercises with weight machines

If you do not have free weights, such as dumbbells, at home, it doesn’t matter. You can lift household items, such as soup cans, water bottles, or emptied milk jugs filled with water.

Before you start any resistance exercises, talk to a healthcare provider or an exercise specialist. They will tell you to start slowly.

Keep going!

Habits can be hard to change. Have a plan in case your motivation starts to fade. Here are some tips:

  • Do something you like! It is hard to stick to an activity that is not fun. It may take you a few tries before you find an activity that is right for you
  • Have a support network. Ask your family, friends, and co-workers to help you stay motivated by joining you for a walk after a meal or at the gym. Discuss your goals with them and tell them how they can help
  • Set small, realistic goals. Celebrate in a healthy way when you reach them
  • Challenge yourself by trying something you have never done before
  • If you feel discouraged or not ready to change, ask your healthcare provider for help in making a plan.