How Much Should I Exercise?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week.


While this may sound like a lot, breaking the recommendation down into smaller chunks can help make reaching these guidelines more attainable. Getting 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 15-20 minutes of high intensity exercise each day is a great start to improving your health.


What does this actually look like? While the recommendations for moderate intensity exercise are indeed 30 minutes each day, this does not all need to be at once. One way to break this down is to take a 5-10 minute walk every few hours. Aside from getting some exercise, getting a few minutes away from the workplace can help your brain take a breather as well- something that might lead to an increase in productivity.


Moderate intensity physical activity is a broad term used to describe any sort of physical activity that gets the heart beating faster than while at rest, while still allowing for conversation to be held. Meanwhile, vigorous intensity physical activity is the next step up from moderate intensity. At this higher level of activity, you will likely feel warm and start to sweat- signs that your body is working harder.


There is a simple- yet relatively effective- measure of intensity called the talk test: during moderate intensity exercise, you should be able to talk enough to keep a conversation up, but not much more than that. If you are unable to speak more than a couple words at a time, you are likely in the vigorous intensity exercise zone.


It’s important to keep in mind that even if you are not always able to get the recommended 150 minutes of activity each week, that it is best to get as much activity as possible. It can be easy to get into the all-or-nothing mindset, but any bit of exercise is better than no exercise.


Another thing to note is the importance of strength training. Even if you can’t get to the gym each week, training your muscles with body weight exercises can help strengthen your bones, joints, and muscles.


Aside from the benefits of strength training, physical exercise can yield many other benefits, such as lowering the risk for many types of disease, better sleep and brain function, as well as possibility for better mood and higher quality of life!