woman with a smile on her face with other women behind her during a fitness class


Get moving with the 31-day activity challenge

  • Physical activity is vital for promoting health.
  • Adults need at least 150 minutes of activity a week.
  • Being active benefits your mind and body.

Anyone can experience the health benefits of moving. Some doctors even say, “Movement is medicine.”

That’s because a single session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity offers immediate health benefits, and regular activity helps prevent many chronic diseases.

By the numbers

Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. That could be 22 minutes every day, 30 minutes per weekday, or any other combination that fits a lifestyle. Even five minutes of stair-climbing can count toward a weekly total.

Take the challenge

If you haven’t been physically active in a while, there are easy ways to get started before moving to more vigorous activities. Follow the list below or use it to personalize a plan for adding movement to your day. Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to find inspiration, mark progress and stay accountable.

Week One

  • March in place while brushing your teeth.
  • Take a 10-minute walk during your lunch break.
  • Use the bathroom farthest from your desk (even if that’s on another floor).
  • Walk around the block before getting your mail.
  • Wander through rooms while chatting on the phone.
  • Make an extra trip around the grocery store's perimeter before checking out.
  • Do squats and lunges while you clean your house.

Week Two

  • Use the water fountain or coffee pot farthest from your desk (even if that’s on another floor).
  • Take two 10-minute walks during the day.
  • Park your car as far as possible from your destinations.
  • Turn on some music and dance while you make dinner.
  • During TV time, march in place while your show is in commercial breaks.
  • When shopping, stroll around the store's perimeter before buying anything.
  • Attend a fitness class.

Week Three

  • Take three 10-minute walks during the day.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator for a whole day.
  • Walk around your house or office before each bathroom break.
  • Do body-weight exercises and stretching while binge-watching your favorite TV show.
  • Declutter your home by removing one item at a time instead of filling your arms with things.
  • Try a new outdoor activity.
  • Use full bags of groceries to do bicep curls during or after shopping.

Week Four

  • Walk to your colleagues' desks for an entire workday instead of calling or emailing them.
  • Turn a meeting into a walk-and-talk conversation.
  • Do squats and lunges during a phone call.
  • Take a walking tour of your neighborhood.
  • Exercise to a free fitness video from YouTube.
  • Meet a friend for a coffee, but sip on it during a walk.
  • Take a 20-minute walk to relax after your workday.

Week Five

  • Schedule five-minute breaks every two hours to walk around your workplace or home.
  • Go for a walk first thing in the morning.
  • Do calf raises, balance on one foot or march when waiting for something.


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Should I choose steps over stairs?

With all the emphasis on getting 10,000 steps a day as exercise, it’s an important reminder that not all steps are created equal. Even at a slow pace, you can get "more bang for your buck" taking the stairs than walking on a flat surface.

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