Lots of people struggle to get enough physical activity. If someone you care about is having a hard time getting active, you can help. Here are some tips to get you started.
Suggest activities you can do together.
- Start small. Try taking a walk after dinner twice a week, or doing push-ups during commercials while you watch TV.
- Mix it up. Learn new stretches and warm-up exercises.
- Join a fitness class. Choose an activity that’s new for both of you.
Make it part of your regular routine.
- Meet up at the local gym or recreation center on your way home from work.
- Wake up a bit earlier so you can go for a brisk walk together before breakfast.
- Pick a certain time for physical activity, like right after your favorite TV show.
- Ride your bikes or walk to the store or coffee shop.
What are your loved one’s reasons for not being more active? Maybe he or she feels overwhelmed or embarrassed. Ask what you can do to be supportive.
Recognize small efforts.
- Be patient. Change takes time.
- Remember, any amount of physical activity is better than none!
- Offer encouragement and praise. (“Great job getting a walk in today!”)
- Point out positive choices. (“I’m glad we’re walking to the park instead of driving.”)
Choose healthy gifts.
For birthdays or special occasions, choose gifts that encourage your loved one to be more active. Some ideas include:
- New sneakers or workout clothes
- A basketball or balance ball
- Hand weights
- A yoga mat
- A fitness tracker
- A gift certificate to a gym or fitness class
Content last updated October 15, 2020
This information on physical activity was adapted from materials from the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines Review Team