EXERCISE GUIDELINES –
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.
- At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 or
- at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75; or a combination of the two and
- moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 or more days per week for additional health benefits.
What if I know I won’t be able to make it for 30 minutes?
Something is always better than nothing! Set a reachable goal for today. You can work up toward your goal of 30 minutes by increasing your time as you get stronger. Think you don’t have time? You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once. You’ll get the same benefits if you divide your time into two or three 10- to 15-minute segments a day.
No time for exercise? Try our Top 10 Tips to get more!
- Get out the leash and walk your dog. It’s a great activity for both man and man’s best friend. Your heart — and your pooch — will thank you!
- Take your child for a brisk walk. It’s an excellent way to get some one-on-one time (or one-on-three, depending on the size of your brood). Spice up your routine by exploring new neighborhoods or turning your walk into a scavenger hunt.
- Mall walk. Are you sweating (or shivering) at the idea of walking outside? Take a brisk stroll around your local mall instead. Window shop, people watch and give your heart a workout in a climate-controlled environment.
- Join a team. Pick an activity you love and round up some friends. Team sports can be fun and help keep you motivated and accountable.
- Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your seat. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Some workplaces have walking paths to make it even easier to burn while you earn.
- Tune into fitness during TV time. Reject your inner couch potato. Walk, jog in place or use the treadmill at the gym while you watch your favorite 30-minute show.
- Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away (or even in a remote lot) and walking farther to your destination.
- Take the stairs. The elevator may go up, but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you.
- Dance! Do it in a ballroom, at a club or even in your living room. You’ll burn calories and gain a new hobby.
- Skip the cake, say goodbye to pie and take a walk after dinner. You’ll get a reward that’s sweeter than dessert—more family time.
If these ideas don’t work for you, find something that you enjoy. Ditching the excuses can be the first step to a healthier you. Of course, if you have an injury, talk to your doctor first to see if there’s a low-impact exercise you can do or find out if you should wait until you’re healed.