How Much Exercise Is Enough?

If you have been trying to decide just how much exercise you really should be doing you first need to think about your exercise goal. Are you trying to become physically fit, lower your stress levels or to control your weight?

Exercise: How Much You Need

According to David Bassett, Jr., Ph.D., who is a Professor in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Exercise, Sport and Leisure Studies, the question is really how much exercise is enough for what purpose.

If your goal is to generally be healthier then walking daily may be enough states Susan Joy, MD who is the Director of the Cleveland Clinics Women’s Sports Health Program.

If you have a more specific goal, maybe to have lower blood pressure, weight loss or improvement of cardiovascular fitness, you will either need to exercise more often or with more intensity. So it is important to first set your goals and then decide what kind of exercise and how much of you will need to meet those goals.

Current Exercise Guidelines for Americans

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that we all need two different kinds of exercise every week, muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise includes temporarily increasing heart rate and breathing by doing repetitive large muscle exercises. If done on a regular basis, aerobic exercises will improve cardio-respiratory fitness. These exercises include swimming, cycling and brisk walking.

Exercises that are designed to strengthen muscles will work for the muscle groups one at a time. It is important to work each of the large muscle groups such as the hips, legs, abdomen, back, arms, shoulders and chest two or more days every week. These exercises might be weight lifting, push-ups and using resistance bands.

For adults, in addition to the exercises to strengthen the large muscles, there should be a minimum of 150 minutes of exercises that are of moderate intensity. If you are doing extremely vigorous exercises, 75 minutes every week is probably enough. But for even better health, more activity is usually better. For example, you can do 150 minutes of heavy exercise and 300 minutes of moderate exercise or a mixture of the two.

It is usually best to spread activity out over the week instead of doing it all in one day. It is best to do about 30 to 60 minutes of good exercise for five days out of the week. You can even break it up into smaller periods, such as three short exercise activities every day. To be effective and improve your fitness and health, you must keep up the exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Exercise: What You Need to Lose or Maintain Weight

If you are dieting to lose weight, it is very helpful to combine it with exercise because you will experience better weight loss if you do so. Usually, about 60 minutes of exercise that is of moderate to strenuous intensity every day is the recommendation. It is important to have this physical activity to maintain your weight loss. That is, 60 to 90 minutes of moderate physical activity every day will maintain the weight you have lost. A low-calorie, a healthy diet is also necessary if you are trying to maintain your weight or lose more. Of course, the exercise you require will depend on what you are eating and on the kind of exercise you are doing.

So define why you are exercising and then you will be able to answer the question: How much exercise should I do?