How Much Exercise You REALLY Need
You don’t have to lift weights for hours on end or go running 12 miles every morning to maintain your health and weight. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says you can exercise in bouts as short as 10 minutes per session, provided you do enough of them, to keep your body happily humming along.
HHS issues the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that suggest a weekly combination of aerobic activity and strength training.
Aerobic activity can be any type of movement that boosts your heart rate and burns calories, ranging from dancing to vacuuming, walking on a treadmill to running in the rain.
Strength training consists of weight-lifting, weight-machine workouts, working with resistance bands and other activities designed to strengthen your muscles.
Maintaining Health and Weight
If you’re already in OK shape with a healthy weight, you can go with the minimum weekly suggestions. They are:
The amount of recommended aerobic activity depends on its intensity level. Moderate-intensity exercise is the level of a brisk walk, while vigorous activity would be a run or jog. The minimum goal is either:
- 150 minutes of moderate activity OR
- 75 minutes of vigorous activity
- Two sessions of strength training per week is the minimum suggestion, with a workout that targets all major muscle groups. Major muscle groups include your arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, legs and hips.
Enhancing Health and Losing Weight
If you’re looking to lose weight, you can double your weekly aerobic activity to 300 moderate minutes or 150 vigorous minutes to ensure you burn off more calories than you consume. The American Heart Association notes you’ll get the biggest benefits for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure with at least 40 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at a stretch.
Boost your fitness levels even further by increasing your strength training to more than twice per week. You can likewise add yoga and other exercises that focus on balance and flexibility.
Even if you have no lofty fitness goals in mind, the suggested minimum levels of exercise can help stop your weight from a steady increase and your health from a steady decline.