March 9, 2015

Physical Activity: How much is enough?

I know I should be active, but how much is enough?

First, let's get into the basic definitions of physical activity and exercise.

Physical activity is anything that causes you to burn extra calories over resting energy expenditure. Shoveling snow or washing the car counts!

Exercise is planned, structured and repetitive body movements to improve or maintain physical fitness.

For health benefits, the CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like a brisk walk) on a weekly basis as well as activities that promote muscle strength two or more days per week. All major muscle groups should be worked at least twice per week.

If intense workouts are more your speed, aim for 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as running or kickboxing, weekly.

If you are only able to do shorter workouts, make sure your exercise sessions are at least ten minutes at a time. This is a great option for people who only have smaller chunks of free time throughout their day.

Going beyond 300 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity activity or beyond 150 minutes of vigorous activity yields more health benefits. Any amount of physical activity is beneficial. Determine your own goals for physical activity whether they be weight loss, weight maintenance or increased energy levels.
If you don't already know, I am one of the writers for the Top 5 Student Health Concerns at Western Michigan University. 
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