Most people want to be healthier but have a hard time knowing what to do and where to start.  A good place to start is by getting the right amount of physical activity. The American Heart Association has the following recommendation:

For Overall Cardiovascular Health


At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes.


At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Let’s break down what this means. 


What is moderate-intensity aerobic activity?

Moderate-intensity exercises are slightly more intense than your daily activities. Examples according to the CDC include:

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

What is vigorous aerobic activity?

Vigorous aerobic activity is something harder than walking. Examples include:

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Other factors to consider

Even though the recommendations are for 30 or 25 minutes in a day, that does not have to be all at the same time. Research has found that these activities can be done in as short as a 10 minute block to be beneficial. You can do three, 10-minute brisk walks in a day and meet the moderate-intensity recommendation. Depending on your goal, more can be better, but if you want to improve your cardiovascular health this is a good way to start.

If you need help starting a workout plan, seek help from a physical therapist to take care of any pre-existing injuries and find exercises to meet your needs and activity level.


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Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Ryan Graduated from St. Louis University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Masters in Physical Therapy in 2006 and post graduate education has focused on advanced orthopedic and manual skills. Ryan has experience working with high school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional athletes. He is trained in working with athletes of every level in rehabilitation, injury prevention, and performance enhancement.