How much exercise do you really need to be healthy?
With the New Year right around the corner, soon you’ll be making resolutions to get healthier, work out more and eat better. While it would be nice to drop a couple pant sizes… what’s more important is how that exercise is actually affecting your health.
Regular exercise is essential for preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Not to mention, it helps to improve your overall mood and physical ability.
However, it can be hard to know how much exercise you really need to be healthy. Extensive research has been done on the subject and is growing everyday – but when it comes to meeting the bare minimum, most experts tend to agree.
Recommended Amounts of Exercise
- 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity OR 1.25 hours (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic activity weekly.
- Moderate intensity workouts include: walking, hiking, stationary, bike, water aerobics, dancing, yoga, Pilates, and golf.
- Vigorous intensity workouts include: jogging, running, backpacking, rock climbing, biking (long distance), step aerobics, jump rope, boxing, gymnastics, tennis, soccer, and basketball.
- 2+ days a week (of that 150 minutes) you need to do strength training for all major muscle groups which include: chest, arms, shoulders, abs, hips, legs and back.
Two and half hours can sound like a lot of exercise, so break it down into small chunks of time. Only 22 minutes of exercise every day will do it. Researchers have found that you can achieve the same health benefits by breakup this time in to even smaller chunks – such as four 5-minute session a day.
If you are trying to lose weight or increase strength and performance, you’ll need to bump up your exercise time by at least an hour a week.
Helpful Exercise Tips
Can’t find an activity you enjoy? Try something new:
Can’t find the time? Try some of these tricks to fit your exercise in without ever going to a gym:
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs – every time.
- Go for a walk during your lunch break, just ten minutes will do.
- Park farther away from the entrance.
- Take your dog for a walk.
- Play at the park with your children/grandchildren.
- Take power breaks at work: 5 minutes of physical activity such as pushups, squats, sit ups or yoga.