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A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
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Empowering women to live healthier lives!

Fitness and Nutrition
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How to be active for health

You have probably heard by now that physical activity is good for you. Well, the news in favor of regular physical activity keeps coming in! The new 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that an active lifestyle can lower your risk of early death from a variety of causes. There is strong evidence that regular physical activity can also lower your risk of:

Regular activity can help prevent unhealthy weight gain and also help with weight loss, when combined with lower calorie intake. It can also improve your cardiorespiratory (heart, lungs, and blood vessels) and muscular fitness. For older adults, activity can improve mental function. Physical activity may also help:
  • Improve functional health for older adults
  • Reduce waistline size
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Lower risk of lung cancer
  • Lower risk of endometrial cancer
  • Maintain weight after weight loss
  • Increase bone density
  • Improve sleep quality

Yet with all the benefits of being physically active, maybe you haven't quite gotten around to setting up a regular routine. If you are having trouble getting started, this section is for you. Here you will find information about the types of activity you need to do, as well as how much you need to do. You will also find tips for all types of women. Activity is important for everyone!

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More information on how to be active for health

Read more from womenshealth.gov

  • Physical Activity Fact Sheet — This fact sheet explains the benefits of exercise for people of all ages, how much exercise you should get each day, and when you should talk to your doctor.

Explore other publications and websites

  • 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans — This publication is the government’s official guide for Americans to use to get healthy. It discusses the recommended amount of physical activity that adults and children should do weekly and how this will benefit their health.
  • Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults — This physical activity guidebook helps you get moving, commit to physical activity, and make it a lifelong habit.
  • Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide From the National Institute on Aging — This illustrated booklet can help older adults get physically active. The booklet explains how physical activity can benefit older adults, provides sample activities to get people started, tips to stay motivated, and ways to measure progress.
  • Exercise for Your Bone Health — This publication explains the importance of exercise for preventing and treating bone loss.
  • The Exercise Habit (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) — This publication provides information on how you can start an exercise program and how to make it a habit. It also provides information about the different types of exercise and the benefits of physical activity.
  • Girlfriends' Health and Safety Tips — You and your girlfriends can help each other keep both mentally and physically fit. This fact sheet has information about how you can support and inform the women that are close to you.
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Across Your Lifespan: Young at Heart: Tips for Older Adults — This booklet gives tips for older adults on eating healthy, getting active, and losing weight.

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Content last updated June 17, 2008.

Resources last updated June 17, 2008.

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A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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