Are you getting enough exercise?
Are you exercising enough? Chances are, the answer is no. It's no secret that exercise is good for your health, but only 1 in 5 adults and teens is getting enough activity to stay healthy.
What is "enough"? For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, or a combination of both. They also recommend adding at least 2 strength training sessions each week and to spend less time sitting. Want even more benefits? Aim for at least 300 minutes of activity each week.
This might sound impossible, but the goal is to just start somewhere and increase the amount slowly over time. Also, if you break it down over the week, it doesn't sound quite as bad. Here are a few ways you can make this work with the moderate-intensity recommendation:
Have some hour-long blocks of time? Try three 50-minute sessions each week.
How about 30 minutes? You could do five 30-minute sessions each week.
Even that sound impossible? Try two 15-minute sessions for five days each week -- maybe one in the morning and one on your lunch break or in the evening.
As you can see, there are many ways to break this down and you can get even more creative by mixing in some vigorous activity.
Now, you might be wondering what they mean by moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity. Moderate-intensity activity will elevate your heart rate and make your breathing feel more difficult, but you're still able to carry on a conversation. This could include things like a fast-paced walk, dancing (for fun), biking at a slower pace, or maybe even some gardening.
Vigorous-intensity activity is going to feel more challenging. You won't be able to talk much -- maybe a word here or there. Some examples are hiking uphill, running, swimming, aerobic dancing, biking at a faster pace, and kettlebell swinging (of course I had to throw that in here).
(yes, this counts!)
My clients often ask me which is the "best" form of cardio. My answer is always: The type of cardio you enjoy. I find that many people struggle with getting in enough movement and if they can find something fun, they'll be more likely to do it. There is no "best" cardio. What's amazing is you can turn almost anything into a cardio session! Play tag with your kids, get outside for a walk or a hike, dance around your house...the options are endless.
If you need more convincing to get moving, here are some of the benefits listed by the American Heart Association:
Better health: lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, some cancers, and more
Better brain function
Better bone health
Improved symptoms of anxiety and depression
Whether you're starting from 0 minutes or you've already got a fitness routine going, having some extra support can help you make these changes. Reach out to a friend or family member to keep each other accountable. Tell someone about your goal and ask them to check in on you from time to time to see how it's going.
If you want an experienced Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach who can cheer you on, help keep you accountable, and help you make lasting changes, online coaching is your answer. Click here for more info and start taking care of your health.
Source: American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids, American Heart Association (reviewed April 18, 2018). https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults