Physical Activity

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How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?

Your body was designed for movement. Too many Americans, though, aren’t getting the right amount of physical activity they need to be healthy. Below are the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines for fitness.

Cardiorespiratory

  • Moderate intensity: Five days per week for 30–60 minutes.
  • Vigorous intensity: Three days per week for 20–60 minutes.
  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes are acceptable.

Resistance

  • Very light or light intensity: Two to three days per week for 8–20 repetitions.
  • Train each major muscle group. Very light or light intensity is best for older individuals or previously sedentary adults just starting to exercise.

Flexibility

  • Two to three days per week for 10–30 seconds per stretch. Perform each stretch two to four times.
  • Each stretch should be held to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Accumulate 60 seconds per stretch.

Neuromotor

  • Two to three days per week for 20–30 minutes.
  • “Functional fitness training” involves motor skills: balance, agility, coordination, and gait.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for adults age 18 to 64:

  • 150 minutes of moderate activity (brisk walking) every week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.

That might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re not used to physical activity. The CDC recommends starting slowly, breaking those minutes into smaller chunks throughout the week. Maybe you can do a 10-minute walk, three times a day, five days a week. You could try taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator or walking to get lunch, instead of driving.

Resources

Note: Please be sure to consult your primary care provider before starting any physical activity program or if you have existing health concerns.