DIY Personal Exercise Plan

Are you determined to be more physically active in 2023 but hate to exercise? Rather than forcing yourself to follow a set routine, you can design a exercise plan that focuses on who you are, what activities you really like to do and how much time you have on a particular day.

That’s the idea behind the Move Your Way activity planner, produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To create a personal plan, the user takes an interactive questionnaire online.  It’s free and take less than 10 minutes to create.

When I answered the questionnaire, I was delighted to see the variety of activities that count toward the goal of being active 150 minutes a week (the minimum time required for good health.) Muscle strengthening activities are also suggested as part of the plan, and the questionnaire specifies which activities provide cardio and/or strengthening benefits.

Making a Personal Plan

First, the user answers a series of questions, some very detailed. Does the user want to exercise alone? If not, there are five options: with friends or family, with kids under 6, with kids age 6-12, with a teen or while taking care of a baby.

Then the user is given many choices for physical activity.  In addition to the usual  exercises, physical activities such as dancing, making home repairs, gardening  and playground games can count toward the weekly activity goal.

The plan is also inclusive for those who have physical disabilities; wheelchair walking or wheelchair running are included as activity choices. Those who have arthritis easily can create a low impact plan.

After the questionnaire is completed, the program analyzes the user’s choices to make sure they meet the required time goal for activity. If not, it’s easy to make adjustments, such as adding an activity or increasing its time.  Finally, the user  taps “Review Your Plan” and gets an easy to read, printable download.

Flexibility is Key

An important part of the plan is to create a time schedule for various activities. Again, the times and days are up to the individual, and can be changed week to week. This will be helpful for anyone who juggles major work projects, travels or is tending to an ill loved one.

Want to save paper? Laminate the plan and use wet erase markers (I got mine at Staples) to keep track of the week’s activities. At the end of the week, use a moist paper towel to clean the planner.

Have fun planning for health!

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