The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week.
Here are some examples of activities meeting these moderate or vigorous criteria:
Moderate (at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days/wk)
- Walking briskly (3-4 mph)
- Bicycling for pleasure
- Swimming (moderate effort)
- Golf (pulling cart or carrying clubs)
- Paddle sports (canoeing, kayaking – leisurely)
- Yard work (mowing, etc.)
Vigorous (at least 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 days/wk)
- Walking briskly (>= 4 mph or up hill)
- Running or jogging
- Bicycling for exercise (>= 10 mph)
- Swimming (more intense effort)
- Paddle sports (more vigorously)
- Competitive continuous sports (basketball, etc.)
ACSM further clarifies by specifying that activity must be at least 10 minutes in duration. So whatever you choose to do, do it for at least that long!
Our goal for this discussion is to educate and encourage you to get moving! Whether it’s in 10-minute, 20-minute, or longer chunks, any exercise you do is a building block leading to a fitter, healthier you.
Experienced fitness professionals understand that developing active lifestyle habits/behaviors (i.e. exercising regularly) takes time, flexibility, and effort. The pathway to improved fitness is usually filled with a combination of successes and setbacks. However, be aware that as your fitness improves a fortunate and timely transition usually coincides: you will freely choose to participate in more physical activities. Having the option to, and then freely choosing more physical activities in your day may be the greatest benefit of improved fitness.
Yes, 20 minutes of exercise is better than nothing. Any and every bout of physical activity/exercise contributes to a fitter, healthier – and, very likely, happier – you!
By Jaye Kenzie SHweekly
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