Search This Blog

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Much Exercise Do I Need?

We all know that exercise is good for us. But how much exercise do we need?
  1. If you are a Minimalist: if you hate exercising and want to do the least possible to get by, how much exercise do you need for at least some health benefit? Well, you are in luck Some research just out of Taiwan indicates as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can provide some health benefits. We are not talking about being fit and trim at 15 minutes a day but some exercise is clearly better than no exercise. In the Taiwan study, they wanted to know if exercising less than the recommended 30 minutes a day, had some health benefit. They studied 416,000 Taiwanese adults, asked them how much they exercised the previous month and followed them for 8 years. Those who did little exercise, only 15 minutes a day, did cut their risk of death by 14%. They also extended their life by 3 years over those who did no exercise. What does this research say for all of us:
  • Some exercise is better than no exercise.
  • Get off the couch and get in some exercise every day.
Even just exercising during commercials can lead to 15 minutes of exercise a day.
  1. I want to do the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day. The World Health Organization and many other organizations recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. What counts? Brisk walking (not sauntering), bike riding, water aerobics – something that gets your heart pumping beyond its resting state. But the 30 minutes doesn't have to be all at once. It can be done in 2 fifteen bursts of exercise or 3 ten minutes bursts. Thus, it is hard to say – "I don't have the time to exercise." Actually, if you meet the goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, you are well ahead of most Americans. According to the US Dietary Guidelines for 2010, "Less than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day." So if you are getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, pat yourself on your back as you are doing a whole lot better than many of your neighbors.
    In 2005, USDA and DHHS issued Dietary Guidelines that gave more guidance on the amount of exercise we need. The guidelines recommended we get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity if we want to reduce our risks of chronic disease. These guidelines not that 30 minutes a day of exercise will not only help one maintain their weight but also reduce the risk of many chronic diseases including lowering one's risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
  2. Adults who want to be fit and maintain weight:
    Newer research indicates that 30 minutes a day may not be enough to maintain one's weight, especially as we get older. According to Pate, a professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, "For those who are following the 30-minute guideline and gaining weight anyway, they may need as much as 60 minutes a day to prevent weight gain." ( The 2005 Dietary Guidelines referred to previously stated:
  • To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
  • To sustain weight loss in adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements. Some people may need to consult with a healthcare provider before participating in this level of activity.
  1. Children: Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. So many children spend their free hours in screen time – TV, videos, games, and not in being physically active. I work with parents who say they can't make their children play outside or exercise. Really? How about having children earn their screen time? If you play outside for 30 minutes you can have 30 minutes of screen time, you can watch a 30 minute TV show, you can play on your Gameboy for 30 minutes. In the book, The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood by William Sears, M.D., he has a house rule that is a good one for all famiiles: TIME SITTING = TIME MOVING
Dr. Sears states, "Each day require your children to spend at least the same amount of time in physical play as they do sitting in front of a screen."
On their website, USDA offers some good suggestions for becoming more active:

Try one or more of these activities to get you moving…

Check off activities that you do or could start to do.

At home:
Join a walking group in your neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.
Push your baby in a stroller—let your toddler help you.
Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while you watch the kids play.
Walk the dog—don't just watch the dog walk.
Clean the house or wash your car.
Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.
Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
Mow the lawn with a push mower.
Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.
Play with your children—tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle, or dance to your favorite music.
At work:
Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk or skate the rest of the way.
Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
Replace your coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.
Take part in an exercise program at your workplace or a nearby gym.
Join the office softball or bowling team.

For more information/suggestions, visit:
And WebMD: Your Exercise Routine, How Much is Enough?

No comments:

Post a Comment