How much exercise should I do?

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We all know we should be exercising. But how much exercise should I do? For how long? And how intense should it be?? It’s hard to know what to aim for and it’s very easy to just give up on exercise altogether!

The ‘Start Active, Stay Active’ report from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers, 2011, recommends that people of all ages minimise the amount of time spent sitting down. The report is packed full of useful information and I’ve tried to simplify it for you.

Firstly, I’ll quickly explain the difference between moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Moderate intensity exercise includes things like walking fast, pushing a lawn mower, gardening, golf, water aerobics, gentle swimming, cycling on level ground, doubles tennis or hiking. Vigorous intensity activity includes things like jogging, running, swimming fastriding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping with a rope and aerobics.

 For adults of 19-64 years old, the advice is:

  • Do 2½ hours per week (e.g. 30 mins, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity aerobic activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes, or
  • 1 hour 15 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic activityor
  • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity, and
  • Twice a week, do muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

For adults 65 years old and over, the advice is very similar:                                                                                      

  • Aim to be active everyday. Some activity is better than none at all!
  • Do 2½ hours per week (e.g. 30 mins, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity aerobic activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes.
  • Those who are already regularly active can do 1 hour 15 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or
  • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity every week, and
  • Twice a week, do muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms), and
  • Incorporate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least 2 days a week, to reduce the risk of falls.

I hope this has helped give you something to work towards. Now is the time to get active, before the Christmas bloat begins!

 

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