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Physical Activity and Exercise: How Much is Enough?

Does your exercise regimen meet current recommended guidelines?

You may have a job that requires you to walk long hallways, climb steps, or stand on your feet for long periods of time. So you may be thinking: “Yes, I exercise! My job has got me on the move!” But while these parts of your work day are definitely good for you, they are typically not a valid substitution for actual exercise.

In addition to your activities of daily living, the recommended exercise guidelines for healthy adults, unless otherwise indicated by your physician, are as follows:

150 minutes of moderately intense, aerobic exercise (walking at a quicker pace than is natural, using a push lawn mower, participating in a water aerobics class) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, cycling, boxing, playing basketball) per week. Aerobic activities will increase your heart rate and cause you to breathe a bit more heavily.

At least two thorough sessions of muscle strengthening activities (such as lifting free weights, or bodyweight exercise such as pushups, yoga and pilates) are recommended per week.

Carving time out of your busy schedule may be a challenge, and for many individuals, exercise seems like a forced chore. If this is you, try to think about the rewards that exercise can bring instead. The health benefits of an effective exercise regimen are plentiful: improved digestion and eating habits, a better night’s sleep, healthier blood pressure readings, improved mood and cognition, a healthier weight, reduced cardiovascular risk, stronger joints, and osteoporosis prevention, to name a few.

The countless forms of exercise are not one-size-fits-all, and generally speaking, there is something out there for every person. But do keep in mind that you don’t have to be a bodybuilding competitor to try out lifting free weights, and expertise is not a requirement for most activities, especially at the beginner’s level. While yoga may not interest you, you might find that swimming laps is your perfect fit. Do some research and find what you think might work for your body, then give it a try.

If you have questions or concerns about starting an exercise regimen, be sure to discuss these with your doctor. This is why we’re here.