Less than a quarter of American adults get enough exercise. Often, this happens because we are busy with all the other things in life and forget how important it really is.
Regular exercise supports overall health and wellbeing. It keeps your muscles strong so they can support your bones and joints and stave off common aches and pains. Exercising regularly also promotes a healthy body weight, which in turn prevents many diseases, such as
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
Most people do realize they need to get regular exercise, but how much do you need and what actually counts?
How Much Should I Exercise?
150 minutes per week, or about 30 minutes five days per week, of moderate aerobic exercise is what is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services as well as other major organizations that promote healthy living such as the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association.
While this is a pretty popular recommendation, many people do not realize that beyond this 150 minutes, it is also recommended that you participate in strength training for each of the major muscle groups at least twice per week.
What Counts as Exercise?
Aerobic exercise is all about getting your heart rate up. Moderate exercise includes things like taking a bike ride, a brisk walk or going swimming.
While the aerobic exercise recommendation is for 150 minutes per week, you could opt for 75 minutes of strenuous exercise per week instead. Strenuous exercise includes things like aerobic dancing, going for a run or heavy yard work.
Strength training is doing weight bearing exercises such as lifting weights, resistance tubing or rock climbing where you are lifting the weight of your own body.
How to Get More Exercise
The above recommendations do not mean that you must go out and continuously exercise for 150 minutes all at one time. In fact, it is recommended that you spread your routine throughout the week. Scheduling it this way will also make it far easier to fit into your schedule. Exercising for 30 minutes five days per week, or 20 minutes everyday is much easier to fit into your schedule.
It is also important to make small changes. Every bit adds up and it can still deliver powerful benefits. Little things like parking further from the door while shopping, taking the stairs and biking to work can make a major positive impact on your overall health.
Tips & Tricks
We have all made excuses at one time or another for not exercising as much as we should. If you are having trouble maintaining a routine, try some of these helpful tips and tricks to get more exercise into your lifestyle.
- Drink lots of water: Being well hydrated will help you not to feel wiped-out at the end of your exercise. It also helps to prevent muscle cramps and muscle aches.
- Change it up: Doing the same thing all the time can become boring. Vary your routine and try new things to curb boredom.
- Make it fun: You don’t have to do calisthenics. Many people find it much easier to exercise by going for a nice walk or picking up a recreational sport. If it’s fun, you are much more likely to do it.
- Take a friend along: Exercising with a friend is great because not only does it make the activity more fun, but it also gives you a built-in accountability partner.
Get Started Today
Get out there and get moving today! Exercise is a free and easy way to protect and support your health. Some doctors say it is just as important as sleep!