I always encounter begining exercisers that have many questions about how to get started on a new exercise program, so I decided that I would refer them to my blog! This article reflects the official position of the American College of Sports Medicine. The following is intended to give you a basic framework to work under as it pertains to how much exercise you should do when starting and maintaining an exercise program.
Cardiovascular Exercise Guidelines
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
So what does all of this add up to?
ACSM recommends that adults participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity (PA) to prevent significant weight gain and reduce associated chronic disease risk factors. It is recommended that overweight and obese individuals participate in this level of PA to elicit modest reductions in body weight but should participate in approximately 250 to 300 minutes of PA per week for greater weight loss and enhanced prevention of weight regain.
And For Strength Training
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
Tips for meeting the guidelines (from ACSM)
With busy work schedules, family obligations, and packed weekends, it can often be difficult to get the recommended amount of physical activity. Try these tips for incorporating exercise into your life:
- Do it in short bouts. Research shows that moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day in 10-minute bouts, which can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes straight. This can be useful when trying to fit physical activity into a busy schedule.
- Mix it up. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity can be used to meet the guidelines. For example, you can walk briskly for 30 minutes twice per week and jog at a higher intensity on two other days.
- Set your schedule. Maybe it’s easier for you to walk during your lunch hour, or perhaps hitting the pavement right after dinner is best for you. The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise, making it just as much a regular part of your schedule as everything else.
- Make it a family affair. Take your spouse, your children, or a friend with you during exercise to add some fun to your routine. This is also a good way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a lifetime of health.
Well, there you have it my friends! These are basic guidelines that apply to just about everybody accept competitive athletes. I hope this helps clarify things. Take care, be well and stay healthy because life truly is good!