How much aerobic exercise do I need?
To gain health benefits, it is recommended that a healthy adult engages in either:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week
- 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, 3 or more days a week.
- The good news is that you can: Combine moderate-and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise in a week for more variety.
- Do the aerobic exercise in segments of at least 10 minutes. You don’t have to do the 20 or 30 minutes at once.
Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic exercise. Let’s take a look at the difference between moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activities.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercising
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity causes a slight increase in breathing and heart rate. However, you are still able to talk but not sing during the exercise. You should also be sweating. Examples include:
- Brisk walking (3 miles/hr)
- Leisure cycling (10 miles/hr)
- Leisure swimming
- Playing doubles tennis
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity causes your heart rate to increase significantly. You are breathing hard and fast, and you will find it difficult to hold a conversation with someone. These activities may vary in intensity between individuals depending on the effort put in and their fitness levels.
Examples of a vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise include:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming continuous laps
- Playing singles tennis
- Rollerblading at fast pace
- Playing basketball or football
- Using a jump rope
Some people become a member of a fitness gym so that they will benefit from both aerobic and strengthening exercises. Many people are becoming interested in home exercise equipment as well. It’s so convenient to have at home that I exercise much more now than when I used to have to go to the gym, and I save the gym membership fees too!
How much muscle-strengthening activity do I need?
Besides aerobic exercise, you should also engage in activities that strengthen your muscles on 2 or more days a week. Muscle-strengthening exercise (also known as strength training) should work all the major muscle groups of your body, that is, the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms. Home exercise gyms are gaining in popularity.
Muscle-strengthening activity helps to:
- Develop stronger muscles and bones. It increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body’s metabolism rate increases, thus enabling it to burn calories more efficiently.
- Reduce the risk of injury. Stronger muscles can support your joints better, and prevent them from damage. Also, strength training increases neural functioning, improving reaction time, thus avoiding injurious falls.
Muscle-strengthening exercise can be done either at home or in a gym. Examples include:
- Exercises that use your body weight as resistance, such as push-ups, sit-ups, abdominal crunches, pull-ups and leg squats.
- Working with resistance bands. Resistance bands (or resistance tubing) is inexpensive, lightweight and can be bought at stores selling sports equipment.
- Lifting weights. You can use either free weights such as dumbbells, or workout on the weight machines in a gym or fitness center.
- Muscle-strengthening exercising should be performed to the point of which it ‘s hard to do another repetition. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting weights or doing sit-ups.
- You can perform the muscle-strengthening activities on the same or different days that you do aerobic exercise.
- Start once a week with lighter weights, completing at least 8-12 repetitions. Over time, start increasing the weight while performing the same number of repetitions.
- Muscle-strengthening activities should include 8-10 different exercises that work for the various large muscle groups.
Let’s get active!
Now that you know the types of physical activity to improve your fitness, it’s time to get active. In conclusion, use the recommendations as a guide to help you in your journey of health and fitness.
Therefore, everyone can enjoy physical exercise. However, if you have not been active and have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, do consult your doctor on the type and amount of physical exercise that’s suitable for you.
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