Your sister plays tennis on the weekends, and your son goes to the gym at least 3 times a week. Your wife goes for a walk every morning, and your daughter is in dance. Sure, you putter around in the yard and the garage. You go golfing from time to time, but you decided that it’s finally time to get serious about your physical health.
To put your good intentions to work, you need to have some goals. Everyone wants to know how much exercise they need. Everyone has a different answer which can be discouraging to hear. However, the only one who knows how much you need is you.
Why Should You Even Exercise?
There are a few reasons people might decide to exercise. They do it for health, work, recreation, appearance, or competitions.
How much exercise you need can all depend on why you want to exercise in the first place. What type of exercises you choose will depend on your personal preferences and abilities are. You might have to think about a workout you can do if you have a tight schedule. You also need to think about what resources are available to you. It is a good idea to have a good fitness tracker as well, to gauge how you are doing in your routine.
How Much Exercise Should Each Person Get?
To ensure you get the most bang for your buck here’s how much physical activity you should try to get:
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or about 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercises weekly. You can also do a combination of both.
- Try spacing your exercising out instead of doing it all in a day or two. Consider doing it every other day.
- You may have days where you can’t dedicate a huge chunk of time to exercising. On days like these, break it down into 10- or 15-minute increments.
- Aerobic activities can consist of jogging, walking fast, biking, and swimming.
- Moderate intensity means while you’re doing that exercise, you shouldn’t have any difficulty saying a couple of words, but you shouldn’t be able to sing.
- Vigorous on the other hand means that while exercising you should have a difficult time saying even a word or two without needing to stop to catch your breath.
In addition, incorporate strength training exercises at least two times a week.
- Strengthening exercises can include using exercise bands, pushups, lifting weights, and sit-ups
- Consider choosing exercises that’ll work several muscle groups such as your chest, back, arms, shoulders, hips, and legs. Exercises that target these areas should be done 8-12 times each workout session.
Preschool Children (aged 3-5)
Preschool kids should remain active during their day. It helps with their development and overall growth.
They should get an adequate amount of unstructured and structured active playtime. Structured play typically has a goal, and an adult directs it. This can include something like playing a game or sport. Unstructured play is simply free play, such as running around on a playground.
Children and Teens
Children and teens need to get at least 60 minutes if not more of exercise every day. For the most part, it should entail moderate-intensity exercises that are considered aerobic.
- Moderate-intensity activities can include running, walking, biking, skipping, playing on a playground.
- Activities should vary from time to time to prevent the child from getting bored. Make sure they are a good fit for their fitness level and age.
Additionally, try to squeeze in each of the following 3 times a week: Muscle-strengthening exercise,t? vigorous-intensity activity, and bone-strengthening exercises.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises can include playing jump rope, tog-of-war, pull-ups, using playground equipment, and push-ups.
- Bone-strengthening exercises can include skipping, hopping, volleyball, using resistance bands, and hopping.
- Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities can include things such as swimming fast, running, or performing jumping jacks.
Older Adults, People Who Have Chronic Health Issues, or Pregnant Women
Pregnant women, older adults, and those who suffer from certain health illnesses should always check with their doctor before they begin any type of exercise program. Be sure to ask what your limitations are, and if you can exercise, find out how long you can.
How Much Exercise Is Needed to Lose Weight or Maintain It?
Research has shown time and time again that you need to integrate physical activity into your routine to lose weight. For anyone who’s looking to lose unwanted weight, you might need to add some time to your workout routines. A balanced diet is another important aspect. This ensures you are burning more calories than you are taking in.
It’s recommended that you get anywhere from 150-250 minutes each week. This should entail moderate intensity which will only give you modest weight loss. If you’re looking to lose a significant amount of weight, you’re going to need to do some moderate-intensity exercises for more than 250 minutes each week. That equals out to be an hour five days each week.
How Much Exercise is Needed to Maintain and Improve Heart Health?
For those of you looking to improve heart health, a little bit of physical activity can go far.
Overall, to maintain good heart health you should aim for 150 minutes each week at a moderate intensity. You can also opt to do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercises. Some research has shown aerobic activities are a more efficient type of exercise. It helps improve cardiometabolic health, which includes glucose tolerance, sensitivity to insulin, and blood pressure.
Before engaging in any physical activity, especially at a high intensity, you might want to talk to your doctor. This is especially true if you already have a history of heart problems. Make sure you find out what intensity level is safe for you but will be beneficial as well.
Remember too, it’s OK to start slow and work your way up to your set fitness goals. Regardless of what your goals are, even a little exercise is better than doing none at all.
What to Eat Both Before and After Your Workout
As you start working out, you’ll notice you are more fatigued after the gym or any exercises you perform. If you’re starving after any workout, consider what you’re eating before you start.
Eating a well-balanced diet and exercise go together. It’s crucial to make healthy food choices especially if you want to see maximum results from exercising. So, what should you be eating and exactly when?
A lot of us think we need to eat like an athlete, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. However, if you’re going to be working out a lot and at a high intensity, don’t ever do it on an empty stomach. If it’s been more than 4 hours since your last meal, eat something before hitting the gym. You’ll want to eat a little something after your workout as well. If you opt for a protein shake, these bottles make it much easier to take your shake on the go.
Before Working Out
Regardless of what you may or may not have heard, it’s OK to eat your meals within an hour or two of going to the gym. However, some people find that eating a full meal before working out can cause an upset stomach while they work out.
Consider a snack that combines fiber-rich carbs along with protein anywhere from 30-60 minutes before your workout is the way to go. Keep it between a mere 150-200 calories. Consider getting out of your comfort zone for snacking food before and after your workouts.
If you’re doing cardio exercises, make sure you eat some complex carbs as they are an ideal source of energy for exercise and healthy eating. Consider a box of raisins before taking a stroll in the park. You might also consider a piece of fruit or a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. These small snacks shouldn’t cause any upset stomachs.
If even these smaller snacks cause you any discomfort, you might want to consider a pre-workout drink that is easy on the stomach and to digest. Smoothies or a glass of milk are also great options.
After Your Workout
You might have heard that after a workout you should combine carbs and proteins soon after your workout as it’s beneficial for building muscle. However, for the average person, as long as you keep yourself fueled during your day and are getting the right amount of protein, the time you have your protein snacks is not crucial.
However, it’s still a good idea to have a little something within the hour after your workout. This will curb your appetite, so you aren’t eating everything in sight later on. Snacking after a workout can start the recovery your muscles need. Carb and glycogen stores are replenished, and your muscles can start to rebuild after what’s been broken down during your gym session.
You can opt for a small bit of protein such as a nut butter spread and spread it on fruit slices. You can also snack on some hummus with some wheat crackers.
For inactive people, you might have to start at a much slower rate. You can add in more time or more challenging exercises as you get more comfortable with working out. The more you can do, the better off your overall health will be. Try not to get overwhelmed as getting some sort of physical activity in is far better than none.