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Fitness basics

Drawing of person with arms circled above head

You need to exercise for about 60 minutes every day. Setting aside 60 minutes all at once each day is one way to get in enough exercise. If you wait until the end of the day to squeeze it in, you probably won’t exercise enough or at all. If you’re not active for 60 minutes straight, it’s okay to exercise for 10 or 20 minutes at a time throughout the day.

Different exercises

No matter what your shape — apple, pear, ruler, or hourglass — there's an exercise for you!

  • Pick exercises you like to do and choose a few different options so you don’t get bored. Get some great exercise ideas.
  • Aim to exercise most days of the week. If you’re not very active right now, start slowly and work your way up to being active every day.

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily. You should combine the different kinds of exercise below to total 60 minutes each day. For example, you could do 35 minutes of swimming, 10 minutes of push-ups, and 15 minutes of jumping rope to reach 60 minutes.

Even if you have a disability, you should also exercise at least 60 minutes each day. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are right for you. Read more about staying active with a disability.

Exercise Type
How often?
What is it?
Why do it?
Aerobic exerciseMost of your 60 minutes of daily exercise, at least 3 days a week.Aerobic activities are those in which young people regularly move their muscles. Running, hopping, skipping, jumping rope, swimming, dancing, and biking are all examples of aerobic activity.It makes your heart and lungs strong.
Muscle-strengthening exercise
(3 or more days each week)
As part of your 60 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 days a week.Muscle-strengthening activities make muscles do more work than usual. This is called “overload” and it makes your muscles stronger. Climbing trees, yoga, rock climbing, lifting weights, or working with resistance bands are all muscle-strengthening exercisesIt increases your strength and builds muscle.
Bone-strengthening exercise
(3 or more days each week)
As part of your 60 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 days a week.

Bone-strengthening activities push on your bones and help them grow and be strong. This push usually comes from impact with the ground. Running, jumping rope, basketball, tennis, and hopscotch are all bone-strengthening exercises. (These exercises can also be aerobic and muscle-strengthening.)

 

It will make your bones stronger. Your bones get strongest in the years just before and during puberty.


 

If you’re working out with weights, be sure to read this article on strength training! It will help you train safely.

 

Content last reviewed October 09, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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