What is the Minimum Amount of Exercise I Need?

We all know that along with good nutrition, and good mental well-being, being active are vital components of being healthy throughout your lifetime. But if you’re too time pressed or too lazy, what is the minimum amount of exercise you can get away with? The below article by Alexandra Duron from The Greatist summarizes some research findings:

“The rule of thumb—suggestions supported by the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and other health organizations—is this: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of more intense aerobic exercise (or a combo of both), plus two sessions of total-body strength training per week.

Aerobic (or cardio) exercise is anything that gets your heart pumping harder for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you take the moderate route, that means breaking a sweat with activities like power walking or a relatively chill bike ride, while hard running and swimming laps count as more vigorous exercise. Unlike the aerobic guidelines, there’s no set time target for the weekly strength workouts, which can include bodyweight exercises and weight-lifting sets, but these sessions don’t count toward the 150- or 75-minute goals. What matters here is actually putting in the work and recruiting major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) through a variety of exercises when you do, says Lara Carlson, DPE, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

These recommendations, which are associated with a lower rate of heart disease and death, are a general concept for strength, flexibility, and cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) health that are important for everyone, according to Jordan Metzl, M.D., a leading sports medicine physician and author of Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Workout Prescription. They’re thought of as the “minimum required dose” that you need to score some exercise-related health benefits.

“Exercise is the most readily available, powerful, and effective medicine across the spectrum of human condition,” Metzl says. And when it comes to living your best life, this medicine is a must—research associates it with a lower risk of 13 types of cancer, plus it keeps your weight in check and can even ramp up creativity.

One thing to keep in mind: “The ACSM position is for adults looking to promote a general overall fitness level, which also affords many health benefits,” Carlson says. So while the minimum recommendations certainly boost overall health, they’re specific to the medical benefits of exercise versus the more aesthetic aspects. Translation? A shredded core, belfie-worthy butt, and other targeted goals may require going above and beyond the broad suggestions. And if you’re trying to see changes on the scale, you’ll have to make good food choices, even if you’re racking up enough workout time. “Exercise combined with a reduction in dietary intake is the best way to promote weight loss,” says Carlson.”

The full article can be read here.

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