Did you know most health benefits of exercise come from at least 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderately intensive physical activity?
While this may seem like a time commitment, you actually do not have to do longer sessions to get the same benefit! In fact, shorter ‘fun-sized’ sessions provide as many benefits as a full session! (But also feel free to do vigorous exercise if you wish!)
Whether entirely new to exercise or needing to ease back into a routine, follow these exercise steps to gain maximum benefits while ensuring the best safety and health practices.
Step 1: Increase Movement
If you are mostly sedentary, take a short break every hour and walk around for a few minutes. Also, try these other ways to increase daily movement:
- Park further away from the store to walk a bit further.
- Take a stroll with your pets.
- Cleaning the house and yard work are not considered structured exercises, but can help increase movement when done with purpose. (Also double bonus for getting things tidy!)
Step 2: Structured Exercise
Gradually increase your daily amount of structured exercise. Aim for 30 minutes, 5 days per week (total of 150 minutes) of moderate-intensity per week, including these ideas:
- Bike 5 miles in 30 minutes.
- Brisk walk 2 miles in 30 minutes.
- Water aerobics for 30 minutes.
- Jump rope for 15 minutes.
- Dance for 30 minutes.
- Wheel self in wheelchair for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Strength Training
Add muscle-strengthening/resistance training to maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance. Look for activities that target the major muscle groups and perform about 8-12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week on non-consecutive days.
Examples of strength training include:
Step 4: Flexibility
Flexibility exercises - such as yoga, pilates, and dynamic stretching - are beneficial activities to incorporate 2-3 days per week to promote flexibility and range of motion. Flexibility exercises and stretches include:
- Child’s pose
- Lunge stretch
- Quad stretch
- Hamstring curl
- Spinal twist stretch