How much physical activity do adults need?

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The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week for adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), target heart rate should be 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. For additional health benefits, do moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week.

Adults should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 7 days a week.  In order to stay young and fit, do the things you did when you were a kid.  Jump, climb, run, walk, play sports, swim, and bike ride to name a few. Find something you enjoy doing and do it daily. Your goal should be to break a sweat or get out of breath daily. You do not need an expensive gym membership to improve your physical fitness. Doing physical activity with friends will help keep it fun and committed. 

It's recommended that adults consume a minimum of 30 minutes a day of physical activity up to 3 times a week. In addition to these minimum recommendations, I would also recommend:

  • Static stretching and foam rolling for a minimum of 15 minutes five times a week 
  • Cardiovascular training for a minimum of 20 minutes three times a week
Health experts everyone recommends that adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity throughout the week. Moderate activity includes things like a brisk walk, doing chores around the yard or house, shopping at the store, a leisurely hike. Vigorous activity would include things like a strenuous weight lifting workout, a hard run, a strenuous hike. Remember 150 minutes and 75 minutes are the minimum, the more physical activity you accumulate over the course of a week the healthier you will be. Try to incorporate as much physical activity as you can into your daily life to maximize your health and fitness.

The amount of exercise recommended for adults is based on frequency, duration and intensity.

Frequency=How often you exercise   The minimum should be three times a week and no more than six for cardiovascular workouts and two to three for strength training workouts depending how you are training your muscle groups. Listen to your body and allow rest for the muscles to recover and repair.

Duration=How long you exercise each time    A minimum of 20 minutes at 65%-85% of your maximum heart rate each time. Starting at the lower end of the HR if you are a new exerciser. You want to increase your time as you progress, the longer you exercise...the more you'll get out it.

Intensity= This is how hard you are working during exercise, measuring by your heart rate or rate of perceived exertion.      With intensity you want to progress when you feel like it is not challenging your body.  Progress slow if you are a beginner. Again, listen to your body...if your muscles are real sore, let them rest a day to repair. As you get stronger, you can increase the intensity and decrease the duration. Then to “change it up” alternate between the longer less intensity workouts and the high intensity shorter duration workouts.                                              

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults "engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week," or "engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week".
This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

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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.