Guidelines Say Exercising for Even Less than 10 Minutes Is Valuable
We might know that exercise is important for physical and mental health.
But how much exercise do we need?
Governments and global experts say adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise – or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
“If that’s more than you can do right now, do what you can,” says a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services. “Even 5 minutes of physical activity has real health benefits.”
People over 50 also should participate in strength or resistance training (like with weights or bands) twice a week and work on flexibility, the Centers for Disease Control says.
The US government issued guidelines that are slightly revised from the initial 2008 recommendations. The newer report says exercise in bouts of even less than 10 minutes can go toward the 150-minute weekly goal.
“Research studies consistently show that activity performed on at least 3 days a week produces health benefits,” the CDC says. And more exercise means greater benefits for everyone, including people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. Exercise affects weight and blood pressure, reduces the risk for several cancers and falling, and helps stave off depression and dementia.
So, what exactly counts as “moderate” or “vigorous” intensity?
Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, jogging, biking, dancing, light swimming and general yard work.
Vigorous-intensity means: jogging or running, swimming laps, jumping rope, biking faster than 10 mph and high-intensity interval training.
“As a rule of thumb, a person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk, but not sing, during the activity,” the government says. “A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.”