How Much Exercise Do You Need?

by in Healthy Tips, September 25, 2011
women walking
How much exercise do you need, and what kind is best?

Do you spend countless hours at the gym each day or is the thought of a 20-minute workout too much for you to handle? Tackling a regular exercise routine can be daunting and might cause you to give up on working out all together. Use these tips to make the most of your exercise time.

How Much?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the CDC, you should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity per week. You can break up this time in a variety of ways. Feel the burn for 30 minutes, 5 days a week or try a split of 30 and 60-minute workouts over the course of 3 days. Even if 150 minutes is more than you’re ready for, every little bit helps. The American Heart Association reports that every hour of walking may increase your life expectancy by two hours.

What Type?

Your body is best served by a combination of both cardiovascular and resistance exercise. So combinations of walking, running or biking (just to name a few options) along with some weight training, pull ups and sits ups, or yoga will cover all your bases.

Tips for Success
If the desire to exercise doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t give up! These tips can help keep you on track:

  • Find something you enjoy – forcing something you hate won’t stick long term.
  • Start slow and work your way up – doing too much at first can lead to injury and then you can’t exercise at all!
  • Enlist a friend or family member to help stay motivated.
  • Diversify! Change up the workouts to keep things interesting.
  • Fuel your workouts properly to make sure you are energized.
  • Make a day off part of your plan. It’s a good way to find balance and you’ll reduce your risk of injury.

Is the gym not your thing? Check our our top suggestions for Getting More Exercise Without Knowing It

Tell Us: How much time do you dedicate to exercise?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (29)

  1. SantaJohn says:

    A year and half ago my Doctor said I had to lose weight. 70 years old at the time I changed the way I eat and added exercise. I picked one bad food and stopped eating it. Potato chips and related products. Then my usual meals were cut in half. I began walking every day. After ayear I had lost 60 pounds and walk 3 miles every day. My doctor is happy and SO AM I.

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  3. jackyhichem says:

    Swimming is much better than running. When you run, if you are not physically fit, then you could really hurt yourself and REALLY set yourself back. I suggest if you are just starting out doing some swimming its much better cardio vascular and works ALL the muscles in the body. You'll feel the difference right away.

  4. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really something that I believe I might never understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I’m looking forward for your subsequent submit, I’ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

  5. [...] Make This Habit Your Own: Optimize your exercise regimen [...]

  6. @zychowski says:

    You are reached a plateau, It’s hard to get beyond exercise plateaus for some people because they don’t know how to change their routines or even think of changing their routine. Remember this, diet and training go together they are not separate. Having one without the other is just going to limit your progress. Also, you cannot always train the same way because this will certainly lead to an exercise plateau effect. Tricking your muscles by switching up your workout routines will keep you from reaching an exercise plateau a continue to get results!

  7. jessicafit says:

    joy, you probably have to eat less. you might not think you're not overeating, but it's easy to eat too much of even good foods like brown rice or whole grain cereal. try measuring your food to make sure you're getting the right portions and count calories. try for 1200-1400 cals/day.

  8. joylob43 says:

    I keep a food journal and measure everything I put in my mouth . The nutritionist I work with did a metabolic test and said I need 1500 calories to maintain my weight and 1200 to lose one pound a week. I also count carbs, protein, fiber and fat in addition to calories and stay within limits set by her. I discovered that I wasn't getting enough protein or carbs and so reworked my diet plan. I'm hoping that might give me the boost I need but so far I haven't seen anything! Thanks for your suggestion.

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