How much exercise is enough?
The answer might be encouraging or disheartening depending on where you stand. The all-around good news is that the exercise guidelines are achievable with the right attitude and preparation.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends
• ≥30 minutes a day, ≥5 days a week of moderate intensity exercise, OR
• ≥20 minutes a day, ≥3 days a week of vigorous intensity exercise
What is aerobic exercise?
Aerobic, or cardiovascular exercise is “regular, purposeful exercise that involves major muscle groups and is continuous and rhythmic in nature.” This means it is physical activity for the sake of physical activity (not as part of your work or daily duties) and involves a lot of limbs doing the same movement over and over again. Think running, cycling, swimming, or a derivative of these sports.
How do you know if you have the right intensity?
There is always the technology route – heart rate, power, VO2, METs – but the easiest way is to monitor your breathing. Moderate exercise makes you huff and puff, but you are still able to hold a conversation. Vigorous exercise makes you huff and puff more so you can only get out short sentences.
Can I mix and match?
Sure! You can maintain or change the mode, duration, or intensity of any exercise you do. This is important if you’re returning from injury, illness or are learning a new skill, so it’s alright to have easy days and hard days. You can also accrue time in blocks of 10 minutes; a 10 minute walk before work, at lunchtime and after work has your 30 minutes covered for that day.