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How much exercise should I get each week?

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend:

  1. Adults get 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) and two days of muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
  2. Older adults should also add exercises to improve balance on three days each week.
  3. Adults can also meet the aerobic activity recommendation by getting 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity each week, or by getting an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

Most adults don’t get enough physical activity. While 150 minutes may sound like a lot of time, you don’t have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out over the week. Pick activities you like so that it is easier to stick with it. Break it up into smaller chunks of at least 10 minutes during the day.

The Surgeon General’s Office recommends that you engage in a minimum of 75 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity, or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Moderate activity is defined as activity during which you can still talk and answer questions. Vigorous activity is defined as an exercise in which you can no longer talk and answer questions due to the intensity of the exercise. Engaging in more than the minimum will allow you to gain increased health benefits, but at the minimum you should engage in 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of intense exercise. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.