One of the most important recommendations to live a healthy lifestyle is to exercise! I have to confess that I really can’t bring myself to go to the gym. I do not like it! I have signed up numerous times and I go for about 4 weeks and then I find all sorts of excuses not to go anymore… Fortunately a lot of activities that we may not usually count as exercise, do count! The main way to stay motivated is to find a type of exercise that you truly enjoy!
There are currently 3 options as far as exercise recommendations for adults:
1) 2 ½ hours (150 min) of moderate intensity aerobic activity + muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,shoulders and arms).
2) 1 ¼ hours (75 min) of vigorous intensity aerobic activity + muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.
3) An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity + muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.
Now, what does this mean? How do I know if the exercise is moderate or vigorous?
Moderate intensity aerobic activities will make you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. You will also notice that you can talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song. I will list a few examples of moderate intensity aerobic activities that count as long as you do it for at least 10 minutes at a time:
– Brisk walking: at a 15-20 minute mile pace
– Doing water aerobics
– Bicycling at 5-9 mph on level terrain or few hills; or stationary bicycling using moderate effort
– Playing doubles tennis
– Golf, wheeling or carrying clubs
– Playing frisbee
– Ballroom dancing
– Pushing a lawn mower
– General gardening (i.e., raking the lawn, bagging grass, digging, hoeing, or weeding while standing or bending)
– Shoveling light snow
– Actively playing with children
The good news is that you can accumulate your recommended moderate activity by doing things that you actually may enjoy!
Vigorous intensity aerobic activities will increase your heart rate quite a bit and you will be breathing hard enough so that you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath. Examples of vigorous intensity aerobic activities are:
– Jogging or running
– Swimming laps
– Riding a bike fast or on hills
– Playing singles tennis
– Playing basketball
What are muscle strengthening activities?
There are different options that you can do either at the gym or at home:
– Lifting weights
– Working with resistance bands
– Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., push ups, sit ups)
– Heavy gardening (i.e., digging, shoveling)
To gain health benefits, muscle-strengthening activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. Try to do 8—12 repetitions per activity that count as 1 set. Try to do at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days that you do aerobic activity, whatever works best. Just keep in mind that muscle-strengthening activities don’t count toward your aerobic activity total.
At prevention Foods we are concerned about your health and we want to bring to you different measures that can help prevent disease. The benefits of physical activity are amazing! It can help to control your weight; reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers; strengthen your bones and muscles, and it can improve your mental health and mood!