Just how much exercise should you get in a day? While this certainly depends on weight, age, ability, and goals, there are certain guidelines that are easy for anyone to follow.
How Much Exercise Do I Need to Maintain Weight?
If you are looking to remain at your current weight, the guideline from the Department of Health and Human Services is 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. That breaks down to roughly 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the average individual. Spreading out the time of exercise ensures that one day is not overloaded, causing the potential for injury. Since muscle mass begins to decline around age 30, it is especially important to incorporate both weight training and cardiovascular training into your exercise regime. For every decade that passes, you can lose up to five percent of your muscle mass if you are not physically active. Sometimes diagnosed as sarcopenia, this is a serious issue that can cause decreased nerve stimulation, low hormone concentration, and loss of stamina.
How Much Exercise to Do I Need to Lose Weight?
In order to lose one pound, you must burn approximately 3,500 calories. If you continue to consume the same number of calories each day, you will only lose weight if you burn more than you consume. It can be dangerous to lose weight too quickly, so about a pound per week is the most you should strive to lose.
Benefits of Exercise
- Joint health – While it might sound counter-intuitive, using your joints more will keep them healthy and strong.
- Lower fall risk/better balance – The more you work on your core muscles, the better balance you will have. Since fall risks increase with age, it is helpful to have strong muscles to stabilize.
- Lowers blood pressure – Naturally, with any exercise, your heart will grow stronger as a muscle which can help with lowering blood pressure.
- Helps arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes – Some people steer clear of exercise because of preexisting conditions; however, with an increase in exercise comes a generally healthier body. Losing weight can help with many ailments.
- Improve mood – When endorphins are released, your mood goes up, so the more you exercise, the cheerier you will be.
- Healthy hearing – Hearing is related to many functions within the body, so a healthy body tends to correlate to healthy hearing.
Exercises for All Ages
- Weight lifting: Each muscle group should be worked twice a week – start off with 12 or 15 repetitions of light weights and increase weight over time. While you don’t have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you should be able to easily see improvements in your workouts depending on how much exercise you take on.
- Cardiovascular options: There is something for individuals at every stage and ability. Walking is a wonderful way to stay active and minimize the risk of injury. Running, biking, doing yoga, kayaking, playing tennis or golf, and taking group classes are also fantastic for cardiovascular heath (and often come with added socialization!). Sitting all day can speed up the aging process, so find something active that makes you happy, and it won’t feel like work.
Since some exercises are not recommended for certain individuals, seek out a medical professional before altering how much exercise you get or how you plan to lose weight.