How Much Exercise Do You Need to Maintain Your Health?

Planning and adhering to an exercise schedule while simultaneously being pressed by daily work and family commitments is a difficult task. It begs the question of how much exercise is required for a person to stay healthy.

Answering the question is difficult for the uninitiated, as there are different kinds of exercise (e.g. aerobics, stretching and weightlifting) and a person’s particular needs have to be taken into account as well. For example an overweight person may require more exercise to attain the desirable amount of fitness, while a fit one will obviously need less.

General Guidelines

Experts are able to offer general guidelines in order to help determine the minimum amount needed to keep the body fit and healthy.

The center for disease control and other reputable organizations, suggest two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (e.g. brisk walking) weekly and muscle-strengthening of all major muscle groups (chest, arms, back, legs and abdomen at least twice a week for adults. Alternatively, moderate aerobic exercise can be substituted for a more intense aerobic program that involves running or jogging for less amount of time (75 minutes per week).

Older adults that want greater health benefits, can power walk for 500 minutes per week or train more vigorously for 150 minutes weekly. There is also the possibility of mixed intensity aerobic exercise. Again, muscle training is suggested to be performed at least two times a week.

Healthy pregnant women can exercise without danger. They should perform moderate intensity aerobics for 150 minutes weekly, but it’s preferable to spread these activities throughout the week. If more demanding training is desired, they should consult an expert first.

Obese adults require a more intensive workout schedule to keep healthy, since the above guidelines are tailored for people with average weight. It is preferable for them to adopt healthier eating habits, and exercise often in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Types of Aerobic and Muscle Training Exercise

Aerobic exercise does not have to be solely about jogging or running. Any activity performed for at least ten minutes that causes the heart rate to increase is considered aerobic exercise. Individuals may prefer cycling, swimming or playing sports. When these activities are performed at a slower pace they count as moderate exercise. Conversely, adopting a more energetic rhythm counts as intense exercise.

Muscle training is beneficial only when the body cannot perform another repetition of the same exercise. Examples of muscle training activities are weightlifting, sit-ups and push-ups, using resistance bands, manual labor (e.g. digging) and yoga.

There is no rule that governs the daily amount of exercise needed, so it falls to each person to schedule their fitness regimen according to their weekly obligations, as long as they adhere to the 10 minutes minimum duration for aerobic exercise.

The Benefits of Work-Out

Adhering to the above guidelines is a sure-fire way to health improvement. Studies have shown that a proper workout plan will benefit adults the following ways:

  • Strengthen the body and bones. The muscles and bones will become more resistant to injury, fractures and related afflictions (e.g. arthritis).
  • Improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of heart disorders.
  • Weight Control.
  • Aid in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
  • Boost metabolism, which contributes to weight loss.
  • Improve mood and mental health.
  • Reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Prevent an early death.

The Challenges

People usually find difficulty in deciding on a workout schedule and adhering to it. Developing the right mindset is the first step for exercising regularly. Disciplined and goal-oriented people are more likely to be successful. A good way to start is by doing less intensive activities, then gradually get more involved. The harder, but necessary, part is doing away with unhealthy habits, like smoking and unhealthy eating which will nullify the benefits of exercise.

Taking into account the immense benefits of physical activity and the little time investment it requires to be effective, people should endeavor to make exercise a part of their daily routine and part of their permanent lifestyle.

Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advise. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.

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