Activity and exercise pyramid

Think of your weekly activity/exercise as a pyramid much like the food pyramid:

  • every day: Sneak in bits of exercise wherever you can.
    • Take your pet for a walk.
    • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
    • Park your car at the end of the parking lot and walk to the store.
    • Get up to change the TV channel instead of using a remote control.
  • three to five times a week: Do aerobic exercises such as biking, dancing, skiing, swimming, walking, or playing basketball, racquetball, tennis or volleyball.
  • two to three times a week: Do pleasurable activities such as golfing, bowling or working in the garden. Do strength training such as abdominal crunches and push ups or lifting weights.
  • sparingly: Decrease the amount of time you sit watching TV, surfing the Internet and playing computer or other board games.

Keep track of your exercise and activities in a food and exercise diary.

Use the weekly activity pyramid below to improve your physical fitness. Begin at the bottom of the pyramid and choose activities you will do every day.

Gradually increase the amount of activities and decrease your sitting activities.

physical activity pyramid

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Prediabetes: Reducing Type 2 Diabetes Risk Through a Lifestyle of Good Nutrition and Activity, first edition, dia-ah-94403
Reviewed By: Allina Health Patient Education
First Published: 04/02/2009
Last Reviewed: 01/28/2019