The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. You know exercise is good for you. But have you ever considered why it matters?“Physical activity can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease,” said Elaine Auld, CEO of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).Even better, physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Regular activity can improve your quality of life. Physical activity strengthens your heart, lungs, bones, and muscles. It also gives you more energy and strength. Exercise helps control your weight and blood pressure while assisting you with handling stress. It can also improve your sleep quality and help you feel better about how you look.While scheduling gym time and workouts can make a huge difference in your activity level, it also helps if you can integrate your physical activity into your lifestyle. Here are some tips to help:Try standing while at your desk. Get a standing desk. If you have a conference call or long phone call, stand.Get up and move around regularly. For every hour you sit, move for 5 minutes. If you cannot do this every hour, do it every two hours and increase the time to 10 minutes.Walk more. Several studies agree walking more often is one of the best forms of exercise for the entire body. You can around your office, home, the shopping mall if you have no time for early morning or evening walks in the park, or around your neighborhood.Add steps to your day. Park at the back end of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of elevators/escalators. When you get to a store, do a few laps around the outer edge of the aisles before starting your shopping. Exercise with a partner. Having a friend to walk or exercise with will encourage you to stay active.Use technology to get active. Try a smartwatch, Fitbit, or pedometer, to measure your steps daily. Many smartphones now have pedometers and nutrition apps installed. Websites offer charts, activity ideas and more.Auld points out that earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General has called on Americans to walk more, and for communities to be more walkable too.To help promote healthier communities, SOPHE partnered in a three-year national initiative, Partnering4Health, which has projects in 97 communities across the country. The Plan4Health project is part of the initiative’s work and led by the American Planning Association (APA). The project encourages city planners to consider public health when making decisions about how cities are structured and developed.