How Much Exercise Should You Get?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated its weekly exercise recommendations. Globally, 25 percent of adults and 80 percent of adolescents miss the mark on these exercise recommendations. Do you need to move more?

PopulationType of Activity Frequency
All Age GroupsMuscle strengthening
Adults 18-64Moderate Exercise

Vigorous Exercise
(or some combination of the two/week
150-300 mins.
75-150 mins.
Children and Adolescents 5-17Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise/week

Vigorous activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone
60 mins/ day
3 days/ week
Older Adults (including those with chronic conditions and living with disability)Same as Adults 18-64 plus a focus on activities that aide in strength and balance (yoga, pilates, weight lifting) at moderate or greater intensity3 or more days/week
Pregnant and Postpartum WomenModerate intensity150 mins/week
WHO Exercise Goals Nov 2020

What is moderate vs vigorous exercise?

Moderate exercise is moving fast or strenuously enough to burn three to six times more energy than when you are sitting quietly. Examples of this type of exercise include walking at a brisk pace, heavy cleaning (washing windows, vacuuming or mopping), mowing the lawn, biking at 10-12 mph, playing doubles tennis or badminton.

Vigorous exercise is moving fast enough to burn more than six times more energy than when you are sitting quietly. Examples of this include hiking, jogging at a 6 mph pace, shoveling, carrying heavy loads, biking at 14-16 mph, soccer or singles tennis. These examples of moderate and vigorous will vary based on an individual’s level of fitness.

Exercise Benefits

Focusing on positive mental and physical health outcomes of moving more is significantly more motivating than the gloom and doom for those who choose to stay seated. WHO shares these key benefits and it’s not about weight or living longer, it’s about the quality of one’s life’s now and in the future.

  • Preventing and improving the management of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers
  • Reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Enhancing creativity, thinking, learning and judgement skills
  • Ensuring healthy growth and development in young people

While as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist I advocate for good nutrition, it cannot stand on its own. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise, adequate rest, not smoking, alcohol in moderation and good sleep habits is a powerful combination to enjoying a life lived well.

A favorite destination run, Cherry Blossom and monument run in D.C.

Bottomline: Intentional, regular exercise is a healthy lifestyle habit that is shared around the globe. May you live live long, strong, independent and facilities intact. Always seek the advice of your primary care provider if you have a medical condition that warrants additional guidance when it comes to exercise.

Reference the full report at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity



Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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  1. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines: Additions and Limits - Review Zone

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