By: Christie Clinic Department of Family Medicine
We all know physical activity is good for our overall health, but many wonder what kinds of activities count and how much they should do. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Adults who are physically active are healthier, feel better and are less likely to develop chronic disease including heart disease and diabetes.
There are two types of exercise that are recommended to improve overall health:
• Aerobic activities
• Muscle-strengthening activities
Aerobic activities, more commonly referred to as cardio, is any exercise that increases your heart and breathing rates. This includes a brisk walk, yard work, cycling and anything in between. It is recommended healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. A person who does 300 minutes a week has an even lower risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes than a person who does 150 minutes a week. The benefits continue to increase when a person does more than the equivalent of 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. It is unknown what the upper limit of total activity is above which additional health benefit cease to occur. Discuss your exercise intensity with your provider.
Muscle-strengthening activities should be done in addition to aerobic activities and should work all major muscle groups in the body. These types of activities can include lighting weights, using resistance bands, exercises using your own body for resistance (sit-ups or push-ups) or even yoga. It is recommended healthy adults have 2 or more days per week of muscle-strengthening activities.
These activities can be broken up over the course of the week and even throughout the day. Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits. The key is to simply move your body more – park further away in the parking lot, take the stairs, sit less often. Regular physical activity is on the of most impactful things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.
Before starting any exercise regimen it’s important to speak with your provider to find a plan right for you and your lifestyle.