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.