Let's Talk About Active Lifestyles

Leading an active lifestyle means more than just planned exercise or sports. Being physically active is a great way to take care of our body and mind.

If you are interested in leading a healthier lifestyle you can check out our Hi-5 For Health series to connect with other youth, get tips from experts, join the discussion, and participate in challenges!

This month let’s talk about healthy lifestyles. You can also download these materials in pdf to review them offline and share it with your friends:


Real Life, Real Talk


"Hey everyone, it’s me, Vinicius from Brazil! My friends and I are going to tell you how we stay active throughout our day!"

"It’s Sharon in Indonesia here! So, today I need to do my grocery shopping and the grocery store is quite near my place so we don’t have to use any transportation, we can just take a walk! I have to grab my shoes but let’s go check out the grocery store!"

"In Venezuela, we have many beautiful parks and mountains! My name is Luis, and things can get pretty busy for me during the day so I try to wake up a little earlier in the mornings and go for a short walk or jog in the park next to my home."

"Hi! I’m Ronali tuning in from a yoga studio in Nepal. Yoga is my favorite way to stay active as it helps me feel connected to my body and mind, making me mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. I love to do yoga every morning because it helps me kickstart my day and helps me stay calm when there are any challenges that come up during my day."

"Hey everyone, my name is Jerry and I’m from Senegal. For me, being active is actually an excuse to hang out with my friends! So a few times a week, I try to go to the football field. In Senegal and many other places in the world, football is the most popular sport so it’s always easy to find someone to play with!"

"Oh hey! I’m Chad from Jamaica and I’m a student like many of you! I know being active can be very hard and challenging because we’re so busy attending classes, doing school work, and studying. Something that helps me feel balanced is taking short breaks in between different sessions of classes or studying. I like to take a short 10-15 minute walk or do some yoga stretches. Doing this also helps me feel refreshed so that I can focus better!"

"Now that you’ve heard from my friends, I hope you’re able to hear how many different ways us young people stay active throughout our daily routine! Share this with your friends and talk about ways you can be active throughout your day together! Now it’s time for me to start my day here in Brazil!"

Know the Facts

Active Lifestyles

1. Leading an active lifestyle means more than just planned exercise or sports

It also includes active transportation like walking or cycling or active chores like sweeping. However, less than 20% of adolescents across the world lead active lifestyles today (ref). It is really important for us to be physically active in some way every day. It is even recommended for us to be active for 60 minutes every day!

So, why does this matter?

  • People who spend a lot of time sitting down may notice that they feel more tired and are more likely to have anxiety or depression. 
  • We are all also spending more time in front of screens, which can increase our risk of life-long diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. If we can't reduce our screen time, we should try to focus on how we can be active even during screen-time periods. This can mean taking breaks every hour to stand up, stretch, go for a walk etc.

2. Being physically active can help us take care of our body and mind!

  • It boosts our mood and helps us manage stress
    • Endorphins are chemicals in our brain that are released after certain activities such as exercise. Endorphins make us feel happy, more focused, and full of energy. Endorphins are also important because they reduce stress and improve our mood.
    • This is why leading an active lifestyle can help with our mental health, physical health, and school/work. 
  • It helps us sleep better
    • Did you know that there are different stages of sleep? Exercise helps us reach “slow-wave sleep” or “deep sleep.” Sleep is important for our memory and growth. If you find yourself struggling to sleep at night, try incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. Over time, you may notice that you are able to sleep better!
  • It has many benefits for our body
    • Exercise helps our heart and lungs work more efficiently, which allows us to have more energy.
    • Food provides us with calories, which give our body energy. However, if we eat more calories than we need, our body stores the extra calories as body fat. Physical activity helps us burn the extra calories so that we can maintain our body fat.
Active Lifestyles

3. Why can it be challenging to stay physically active?

There are many potential barriers to being more active. We can control some of them, but others can make it difficult to keep your body moving on a daily basis. It is important to identify barriers that impact your ability to have a dynamic routine and see how you can modify certain aspects of your life to work around them.

Active Lifestyles

Here is a list of some obstacles and ideas for how you can try to work around them!

  • Time: busy with school, work, child care, housework, social life
    • Outline your daily tasks and if there is space for any amount of physical activity, plan on it ahead of time. If not, you could plan creative ways to integrate activity into your tasks like taking stairs at school/work, walking/standing up frequently, or using active transport like walking
  • Environment: space for safe activity in your home or community
    • If there’s limited space at home, try bodyweight exercises such as yoga, squats, push-ups, planks, etc. If there are no designated exercise areas in your community, you can try walking on safe sidewalks, going up/down long staircases, or jumping on and off benches
  • Cost
    • There are plenty of free exercise techniques and apps - just search YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok, or look at the resources below. If you want to lift weights, you can try water jugs filled with water or full grocery bags. 
  • Safety 
    • Find a fitness buddy to be active with you and to find a safe, local place to exercise, such as a school, a community center, or even your home!
  • Feeling tired
    • Plan exercise either earlier in the day or right after school/work before you sit down to relax and unwind. 
Active Lifestyles
  • Lack of motivation
    • Everyone has different lifestyles. If you don’t like one activity, you can always try another!
  • Don’t know how to exercise
    • There are many great video tutorials explaining exercise techniques that you can find on YouTube, TikTok, or IG. Some are focused on stretching, flexibility, or core strength, while others are based on increasing your heart rate.
  • Fear
    • Being scared is normal and okay. Many people have these fears at first, but this feeling will go away as you get more comfortable with different activities or exercises. First, choose a simple and safe exercise, learn it well, and gradually move on to more complex exercises. Try this with a friend or trusted adult!
  • Physical disabilities 
    • There are many exercises tailored for people living with disabilities. Check out the Special Olympics School of Strength for some ideas to try and read this story about how Buxton from Kenya tried the Special Olympics exercises right at home!

4. No matter how “athletic” you are, everyone can have an active lifestyle.

Everyone’s lifestyle is different, so the key to success is to find activities that you enjoy and that work for you and your life. While being physically active daily for one hour is best, any amount of exercise is a WIN!

Here are some ideas to inspire you- try adding some of these to your routine, and see which ones work best for you! 

  • Walk or bike instead of taking a vehicle
  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator
  • Take a dance or walking break when doing work
  • Stand or use a standing desk while doing your work
  • Go for a swim in a safe body of water near you (lake, river, pond, pool)
  • Work out on your own or try a YouTube/TikTok/Instagram workout video
  • If you are taking public transport, try to get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way.

If you prefer group activities, here are some more ideas!

  • Exercise classes in your community (yoga, pilates, cycling)
  • Dance classes 
  • Joining a sports team or organizing sports with friends
  • Running club
  • Street or environment clean up
Active Lifestyles

5. Different types of activities benefit your brain and body in different ways! 

  • Activities that increase your heart rate and breathing rate
    • Help release endorphins!
    • Think about running, biking, swimming, skipping, dancing, jumping up and down
  • Activities that involve lifting any sort of weight (including gravity)
    • Strengthens bones
    • Think about lifting groceries, body-weight exercises, skipping rope, dancing

Think About It

Active Lifestyles
  1. What is one activity you could try adding to your routine today that will help your lifestyle be more active?

  2. Looking at your schedule this week, how could you integrate your favorite form of physical activity?

  3. What are the barriers you face that make it hard to be active?

  4. What do you need in order to help you be more active?

  5. What are some activities or exercises you think you would enjoy?

  6. Who are some people you could be active with together? Parents, grandparents, brother, sister, friend, pet?

Make A Difference

Active Lifestyles
  • Tik Tok Dance Challenge
    • There are new Tik Tok dances every week! Find one that you like or a song that you enjoy listening to and challenge yourself to dance. You don’t have to share a video, but if you do, challenge 3 friends to try the dance too!
  • 8-week Walking Challenge
    • The World Heart Federation challenges you to walk 150 minutes each week for 8 weeks to fight heart disease. Challenge a friend to do it with you and make your steps count!
  • Pass it on
    • Share something you’ve learned here with one other person and spark a conversation! These conversations can be digital through platforms such as Streamyard, Zoom, Facebook Live, or Youtube or in-person while keeping everyone safe.