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The importance of exercise for every body

GEHA | March 7, 2024

Daily exercise is quite accessible and tremendously beneficial for everyone, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity or size.

Knowing how much and what type of exercise is best for you can be difficult. The good news is you don’t have to commit to hours of vigorous weightlifting, train for a marathon or shell out for an expensive Pilates class. Daily exercise is quite accessible and tremendously beneficial for everyone, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity or size.

Why is physical activity important?

We know that exercise benefits the heart, mind and body, but have you heard of its immediate benefits? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate to vigorous activity can help you think more clearly and feel less anxious.

Long-term benefits of physical activity, according to the CDC, include:

  • Weight management
  • Improved mental health and thinking, learning and judgement skills
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • Reduced risk of illness, such as the flu and pneumonia
  • Lowered risk of certain cancers
  • Better management of existing chronic conditions like arthritis and hypertension
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Improved ability to complete daily activities
  • Increased longevity

How much exercise do you need?

The amount of exercise a person needs depends on their age and general health. Here’s a breakdown of recommended exercise amounts by age and ability, according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Adults aged 18 and older:
    • Should get at least 150–300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75–150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or a combination of the two throughout the week
    • Should also get at least two or more days per week of strength and resistance training
    • Should ideally aim to exceed the recommended 300 minutes of exercise per week
  • Adults aged 65 and older or who have chronic conditions:
    • Should aim for the same amount of activity as adults aged 18 and older
    • Should also do exercises that focus on balance and strength training at least three days per week to help improve functional capabilities and prevent falls
  • Adults who are pregnant or postpartum:
    • Should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week
    • May incorporate strength training
    • Should avoid sitting or being sedentary for too long

You should always consult your physician or other health care provider before changing your diet or starting a new exercise program.

How can GEHA help?

To help keep you motivated, GEHA’s Active&Fit Direct™ program provides our medical plan members with access to thousands of gyms, on-demand videos and one-on-one lifestyle coaching, all for just $28 per month. With the Active&Fit Connected!™ tool, you can even track your workouts at a fitness center through wearable devices, apps or exercise equipment.

To enroll in the program, sign into your GEHA account and click the Active&Fit Direct image on your member dashboard. You'll be taken to the Active&Fit Direct site, where you can learn more about the program and search for a gym near you. Check out the Active&Fit FAQs to learn more.

These benefits are neither offered nor guaranteed under contract with the FEHB Program but are made available to all Enrollees who become members of a GEHA medical plan and their eligible family members.

Have you attended a webinar?

Every month, GEHA hosts a free webinar designed to offer ways to live a healthier life. Check out our upcoming offerings on aging gracefully, mindfulness and financial well-being. You can view past webinars, too.

View 2024 webinars

“Benefits of Physical Activity.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 August, 2023.
“Physical activity.”, World Health Organization, 5 October, 2022.

The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.'s medical plans. Before making a final decision, please read the GEHA Federal brochures. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.