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.