How much physical activity should we get?

Lori Maggioni
Nutrition & Dietetics

The research shows that engaging in regular exercise can have a significant impact on your physical, emotional, and mental health. It can also help with weight control. The current recommendation for physical activity is at least 30 minutes per day to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. At least 60 minutes of physical activity per day is recommended to maintain your current weight and 90 minutes per day is recommended to lose weight.

Health professionals recommend walking about 10,000 steps per day but research shows that most inactive people take only 3,000-5,000 steps per day. You may be wondering ‘How far are 10,000 steps anyway?’ The average person's stride length is about 2.5 feet long, meaning it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile. Therefore, 10,000 steps are close to 5 miles per day for most people. A pedometer is an inexpensive, lightweight device that attaches to your waistband and records the number of steps you walk in a day. They are a great way to keep track of your aerobic activity level.

 

Your goal should be to get at least 30-minutes of moderate to intense physical activity most days of the week.  Beyond this recommendation will depend on your goals.  If you are seeking to stay active then the recommendation of 30-minutes of exercise will help you achieve this goal.  If your goals are to increase your cardiovascular endurance then striving to make those 30-minutes into 45-minutes would be a little more beneficial.  Ideally any exercise is better than no exercise but you must decide what your goal is and build from there.

Piedmont Heart Institute
Administration
The HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and teens be physically active for at least 60 minutes on most, if not all, days.
The Guidelines also recommend that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, on most days of the week in order to reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood. And 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity on most days of the week will help adults avoid gradual weight gain.
Combined with eating right, this level of physical activity can help you and your children stay at a healthy weight and prevent gradual weight gain over time.
This answer is based on source information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Continue Learning about Fitness

Fitness

Fitness

Exercising for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week makes you look and feel better while reducing your risks for many chronic conditions. Physical activity boosts your immune system and mental sharpness, and helps you avoid obesity, ...

diabetes, cancer and heart problems.
More

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.