Are You Getting Enough Daily Physical Activity?

You probably have an intuitive sense of how much physical activity you do each day, particularly if you routinely carve out time for exercise. If you already have a consistent exercise schedule, that’s great. If not, the amount of walking you do could still provide you with the physical activity your body needs. Either way, there are some guidelines.

Why Bother With Physical Activity?

While it might seem obvious, physical activity carries a number of important benefits. Your overall body health depends on a healthy cardiovascular system and a low percentage of body fat, and higher concentrations of muscle can help you burn more calories. Moderate physical activity also aids in stress relief and boosts your immune system, which is important in combating chronic health problems. Finally, physical activity gives you a sense of confidence, vitality, and energy.

Aerobic Activity

There are two main types of exercise: aerobic and strength training. The purpose of aerobic activity is to get your heart beating faster and get you out of breath. These help your body to improve heart and lung function. You can do this with moderate aerobics like walking briskly, swimming, and jumping rope. More vigorous aerobic exercises include running or playing an intense sport like tennis. Overall, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, or alternatively, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobics. Ideally, you should spread this exercise out across the 7 days.

Strength Training

The other main type of exercise is strength training. The general point of strength training is to shock the muscles through activities like weight lifting. When you work out your muscles, you actually tear them down temporarily, triggering the body to rebuild them stronger than they were before. The best way to do strength training is to alternate days or groups of muscles, which allows your muscles time to recover. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s advisable for you to do strength-training exercises at least twice each week. More than in the case of aerobic activity, it’s wise not to overdo strength training, or you can strain and harm your body.

Timing For Physical Activity

When it comes to your daily life, it can be hard to break down those hundreds of minutes into your busy schedule. If possible, a good goal to shoot for is 30 minutes of physical activity per day. You can include walking or jogging as part of your total if you already do them in the course of your day. It’s also important to note that it’s better to exercise in one session, but getting the exercise in is preferable to skipping it because you can never find a continuous 30-minute block of time. The rules change if you’re trying to meet higher-level fitness goals or lose weight. In those cases, you’d do better with 300 minutes each week of physical activity.

Daniel is a freelance writer interested in exercise.