How Much Exercise You Really Need

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Maybe you make sure to take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, or you feel ok sending your kids outside for half an hour of fresh air and sunshine. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you're doing just fine. But 30 minutes of exercise five times a week isn't always enough.

What Kind of Exercise is Adequate?

To maintain your heart health and weight, you need to perform moderate intensity activity. You shouldn't be able to carry on a conversation easily. For some people, jogging or aerobics is enough to get you breathing hard and your heart rate up. For other people, heavy lifting or HIIT training can increase your heart rate enough to help you stay healthy.

How Much Exercise You Really Need to Maintain Weight

A study of middle-aged women found that they actually needed about an hour of physical activity a day in order to maintain their weight over 13 years. If you're exercising only for weight control, the amount that you need differs based on your diet and activity level throughout the day. Everyone should increase their heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day to get the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, however.

How Much Exercise Do Children Need?

Children and teenagers should get at least one hour of exercise every day. You don't have to put kids through boot camp in order for them to get the exercise they need. Age-appropriate games and activities can help them get the exercise they need.

Do You Need to Lift Weights?

When determining how much exercise you really need, you should take into account what kind of exercise you're doing. In addition to 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each day, adults should perform strength training at least twice a week. Strength training can help improve bone density and ward off osteoporosis. As you get older, it can help you perform regular tasks, like lifting your groceries. The more muscle you have, the better your metabolism will be. Muscle requires more calories to be burned for energy.

How to Get Enough Exercise

Are you getting enough exercise? It's easy to blame post-baby exhaustion or a demanding work schedule for your lack of proper exercise, but the truth is, almost everyone can find 30 minutes to get active every day.

Think of adding 10-minute pockets of aerobic activity or strength training into your day. Then, do it three times. Look up a 10-minute dance workout on YouTube, or challenge the kids to some races before dinner. Make it fun by learning a new skill, like surfing or paddle boarding. If you're working toward a final goal, you'll be more likely to keep it up.

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