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In 2008, the first comprehensive guidelines on physical activity were issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides science-based guidance to help Americans aged 6 and older improve their health through appropriate physical activity ODPHP.

These guidelines suggest that most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity physical activity and that additional benefits occur with more physical activity.

What is my goal? Get Active!
How do I get there? “Adopt a Fun, New Activity!”
What do I do?

Rollerblading, Bicycling, Pool walking, Dancing, Mall walking, Trail hiking, Kickboxing, Brisk walking, Swimming, Jogging, Running, Rowing, Ice skating, Mountain biking, Stepping up & down

How do I make it work? Listen to music Involve the family Find something you like to do
How often? 2 days a week
How hard? Light or moderate
How long? 15 minutes

But for many people who are not currently exercising, achieving 150 minutes of activity each week may feel overwhelming. Individuals may not be prepared for the commitment that comes with the “practice“ of exercise.

So, it is necessary to start with something more attainable. This step, Get Active! will help you get started by adopting a fun, new activity. Focus your efforts on making your new activity stick, rather than trying to achieve maximum results all at once from a full-blown exercise routine.

How about walking in your neighborhood? A brisk walk at the mall before the stores open is a good idea if you prefer the indoors. If you walk during business hours, don’t stop to shop for at least 15 minutes. Just walk, then shop.

Adopting an activity doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Once you have incorporated simple activities into your daily routine, (refer to Get Moving! UNCE Fact Sheet 10-78) such as adding a 10-minute, brisk walk during lunch, you’re practically there. Keep a pair of walking shoes at work, make the walk a little more brisk and add 5 more minutes to make a full 15.

Scheduling in your activity everyday can be difficult at first. Start with just twice a week. Pick two weekdays or one weekday and one day on the weekend. Invite your friends or family members, or just go solo with your favorite music. It makes for a more upbeat experience.

Pick up some ice skates or rollerblades at a garage sale and go for a 15 minute skate. Try rowing in a canoe or inexpensive raft in a nearby lake. If you have a pool at your living complex or in your neighborhood, jump in! Go swimming or walk back and forth in the shallow end for 15 minutes.

Maybe you could put on your favorite song and dance. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, only fun! You may want to try lots of different things and vary them. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something you enjoy and do it for at least 15 minutes. Who knows? You may have so much fun you won’t want to stop!

Adapted from Factsheet 08-35 Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Go!


1. Thompson, Gordon, and Pescatello, (Eds.). (2009). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed.

2. U.S. DHHS. (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. ODPHP

For more information contact: Anne Lindsay, Exercise Physiologist (702) 940-5434 Lindsay's E-mail Nora Constantino, Exercise Physiologist Constantino's E-mail

Lindsay, A. and Constantino, N. 2010, Get Active!, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-81

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