Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | July 2, 2008

Just How Much Exercise Do We Need?

     Everyone knows we are supposed to exercise, but how much is enough?  What types of exercise should we be doing?  Does this change as we get older?  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) collaborated in an attempt to answer these questions with the release of their 2007 Physical Activity Recommendations.  Their goal is to specify the types and amount of physical activity needed to improve and maintain health.  ACSM & AHA recommend the following for healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65:

1.  A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity (e.g., a brisk walk) on 5 days each week OR at least 20 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (e.g., a hard run) on 3 days each week.

2.  Resistance training 2 days each week that consists of 8-10 exercises of 8-12 repetitions each (e.g., weightlifting).

     As you consider these recommendations, keep a few points in mind.  First, you can meet the aerobic activity recommendations with shorter bouts of moderate physical activity (e.g., two, 15-minute walks each day).  Second, you can meet the aerobic activity recommendations by combining moderate and vigorous intensity exercise (e.g., two 30-minute walks and two 20-minute runs each week).  Third and most importantly, a formal exercise program is not necessary to meet these recommendations.  There are many daily activities that will provide you with moderate physical activity.  I call this exercise without exercising.  You can start by identifying opportunities to walk each day.  Walking is an excellent aerobic activity, especially if you haven’t been exercising for awhile.  You don’t have to go for a 30-minute walk.  Three, 10-minute walks during the course of the day will work just as well.  For example, instead of taking the elevator, walk up the stairs.  Instead of driving somewhere for lunch, walk to a nearby restaurant.  Instead of going to the movies (or sitting at home on the couch), visit the zoo or a local museum of interest.  Each of these activities will provide you with moderate physical activity during the course of a typical day.   

     Stay tuned for my next post where I will provide you with additional ways to ‘exercise without exercising’.

NEXT POST: Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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Responses

  1. […] How many days a week will you exercise?  In an earlier post, I described the 2007 Physical Activity Recommendations released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.  They call […]

  2. […] moving more frequently will help.  For some convenient exercise ideas, visit three earlier posts: Just How Much Exercise Do We Need, 3 Ways to Exercise without Exercising and 3 More Ways to Exercise without Exercising.  […]


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