30 minutes a day… 15 minutes of all-out activity… less is more… an hour and a half of cardio… what is the right answer?! There is so much information out there recommending and prescribing various forms and durations of exercise. It can be hard to figure out just how much movement is enough!
The answer will vary depending on your fitness goals, but we’ve got you covered whatever those may be.
Take a few minutes for yourself to think about why you exercise. Think about your goals, what motivates you to make time to exercise, and why daily movement is important to you.
- Would you like to lose some weight?
- Has your doctor recommended exercise to lower your blood pressure?
- Do you need some post-work stress relief? * Are you going to train for a race or competition?
- Maybe you want to maintain your already healthy lifestyle?
Whatever your goal is, write it down and read on!
The well-known recommendation…
30 minutes of exercise, 5 days per week may not cut it anymore. One of the most reliable resources for your health and fitness answers, the American College of Sports Medicine, now recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 weekly minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity. On top of that, you should also do some type of strength building activity twice a week.
While this number may seem large, your 150 or 75 minutes can be accumulated throughout the day!
So, walking or jogging for a short time before work, taking a walk during your lunch break, and doing some body weight strength exercises in the evening adds up to one great workout without seeming too time consuming. In fact, incorporating more physical activity at multiple points in your day may help rev up metabolism more than a single half hour session. However, these recommendations may only benefit those trying to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Trying to lose some weight or reverse your high blood pressure or cholesterol?
These goals require some extra time and effort, but it sure is worth it! To make this change in your health, make it a goal to accumulate 250-300 minutes of moderate physical activity and two strength training sessions each week. You can also swap those 300 minutes for 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity.
If you’re new to exercise or beginning a new regimen, err on the side of caution and engage in more moderate activity than vigorous. This will help prevent injury and burn out.
Over the course of a few weeks, you can make your activity gradually more intense. As the unwanted extra weight comes off, your blood pressure moves down towards normal range, or your cholesterol levels even out, you can gradually move towards the earlier recommendation of 150 or 75 minutes of weekly moderate or vigorous activity, respectively.
Training for a long distance run, triathlon, or obstacle race? Wow, you rock!
Most organized races offer examples of training plans that will prepare you for your adventure. Our best advice: use them! Incorporate a mix of strength and cardio training to keep your body injury free and ready for anything.
As with anything new, slowly increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Doing so will help prevent injuries and overuse and keep you moving towards the finish line!
What’s most important, rather than the duration or intensity of your workout, is how much you enjoy it. Finding something you look forward to doing will keep you moving and having fun, to the point that it doesn’t even feel like exercise!
Fun and entertainment is key to sticking with your fitness goals.
So, get out there and try a Zumba class, go to yoga, hold your own in a Cross Fit class, or get in the ring and try boxing! You’ll make great strides towards whatever your fitness goals may be if you enjoy what you do and continuously mix up your workouts. Bottom line: move, have fun, and get out of your comfort zone!