Help a Loved One Get More Active: Quick Tips

Lots of people have trouble getting 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 together after dinner twice a week or doing push-ups during commercials while you watch TV
  • Mix it up — help each other learn new stretches and warm-up exercises
  • Join a fitness class together — 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

Take time to understand the situation.

What are your loved one’s reasons for not being more active? For example, maybe they feel overwhelmed or embarrassed. Talk to your loved one about what’s making it difficult to get physical activity — then 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 — you can say: “Great job getting a walk in today!”
  • Point out positive choices — you can say: “I’m glad we’re walking to the park instead of driving”

Content last updated November 4, 2021

Reviewer Information

This information on physical activity was adapted from materials from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reviewed by:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines Review Team

February 2017

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