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How Much Activity?

The human body was meant to move. The good news is it doesn’t require much movement to reap the benefits. Even better, when you think about physical activity, you can keep in mind that some is always better than none and any amount has health benefits.

In 2008, The US Department of Health and Human Services released the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008, which states that most health benefits occur when adults participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of both. Muscle strengthening should be done two or more days per week. The guidelines were updated in a 2015-2020 version to include guidelines for youth; however, the adult guidelines remained the same.
 
What days of the week you choose to be active doesn’t matter, nor does how you break down the minutes per day. For example, you could try doing activities for 30 minutes per day for 5 days each week, or 50 minutes per day for 3 days each week, at moderate intensity. You can also break up your activity into smaller increments and still benefit. If you are new to physical activity or are short on time (like during work hours), try three 10-minute or two 15-minute sessions per day until you can perform 30 or more minutes of continuous activity in one session.
 
To help determine the intensity at which you are participating, you can use this “talk test.” Moderate-intensity activities are those during which you can talk, but not sing. Vigorous-intensity activities are those during which you can talk, but won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath. Keep in mind that intensity levels are relative to your fitness level. This means that some activities that were originally “vigorous” may become “moderate” as your body adapts and you become more fit and healthy.
 
In summary, when you move your body regularly, it will respond to the physical movement with improved fitness and health. The key is to just keep moving.