Physical activity is an essential part of maintaining overall health and well-being. It benefits not only our physical health but also our mental health. As we become adults, we are often consumed by our daily routine, jobs, and personal lives, which makes it challenging to prioritize an active lifestyle. However, it’s crucial that we make time for physical activity regularly.
In this article, we will explore how much physical activity an adult should have each week. We will take into account current guidelines, personal stories, and specific types of activity that can help adults achieve their goals.
Overview of Current Physical Activity Guidelines
To promote a healthy lifestyle, many organizations have put forth guidelines for adults to follow. Here are examples of current guidelines and their benefits.
The World Health Organization recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. This can be achieved in sessions of at least 10 minutes each.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends similar guidelines, suggesting that adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. In addition, it is essential to engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
Benefits of Meeting the Recommendations
Meeting these guidelines has many benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, improving bone and muscle strength, reducing anxiety and depression, and improving sleep quality.
Tips for Incorporating More Physical Activity into Daily Life
To begin incorporating more physical activity into daily life, start small by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or biking to work or the store, or parking farther away from your destination. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities over time.
Personal Accounts of Incorporating Physical Activity
It’s one thing to know what these guidelines are, but it’s another thing to follow them in practice. We interviewed some people who successfully integrated physical activities into their lives, and here’s what they had to say.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of Physical Activity
Danica, a working mother of two, shared that she began incorporating physical activity into her routine primarily because she was feeling unmotivated and lacking energy. Since then, she has reported feeling more energized, happy, and mentally clear. She describes it as “a time to reset and unwind away from all the noise.”
Physical Health Benefits of Physical Activity
Ron, another interviewee, reported that he used to be a couch potato but began strength training three times a week and walking daily. He has seen an increase in his energy levels and flexibility, and his blood pressure and cholesterol levels have improved.
Specific Types of Physical Activity and Weekly Benchmarks
Cardiovascular activity is any activity that increases heart rate and breathing, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, or dancing. To achieve the recommended amount of cardiovascular activity, it’s recommended that adults engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week or vigorous-intensity activity for at least 20 minutes per day, three days per week.
Strength training involves using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises to build muscle and improve bone density. It is recommended that adults engage in strength training activities for all major muscle groups at least two days a week.
Stretching is essential for maintaining flexibility, improving mobility, and reducing the risk of injury. It can be incorporated into a daily routine or as part of a warm-up or cool-down for other physical activities.
Tips for Incorporating Each Type of Activity into a Weekly Routine
To incorporate each type of activity into a weekly routine, start by setting specific, achievable goals and gradually increasing the duration and intensity of each activity over time. It’s also important to find activities that are enjoyable to stay motivated and maintain a habit of being physically active.
Targeting Specific Demographics
It’s important to cater to specific demographics when it comes to physical activity. Here are some tailored tips for specific groups:
For working adults, it can be challenging to find time for physical activity. To counter this, we suggest finding ways to be active during lunch breaks, taking walking meetings, or even having standing desks at work.
Older adults can benefit from staying physically active to maintain joint flexibility and overall bone density. Activities like yoga, Pilates, and swimming can be easy on joints but still provide a great workout and reduce the risk of injury.
Fun and Creative Ways to Incorporate Physical Activity
Incorporating physical activity doesn’t need to be tedious. Here are some fun and creative ways to make it enjoyable.
Hobbies such as gardening, dancing, or hiking can be fun and engaging ways to stay active while enjoying an activity you love.
Group Fitness Activities
Group fitness activities such as yoga, spin classes, or CrossFit can provide a sense of community and motivation to stay active.
Organize workplace challenges like step challenges or fitness challenges to motivate and promote physical activity in the workplace.
Benefits of Making Physical Activity Fun
Making physical activity enjoyable can improve your chances of sticking to it long-term. It promotes the release of endorphins, which can improve your mood and overall well-being.
The importance of physical activity for overall health and well-being cannot be overemphasized. Meeting the recommended guidelines can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve mental and emotional well-being, and provide physical benefits like improved flexibility and strength. Incorporating physical activity into daily life can start small, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of physical activity over time. Specific types of activity like cardiovascular activity, strength training, and stretching are each important and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Keeping physical activity fun and engaging can improve your chances of sticking to it over the long-term and making overall improvements in your health and wellness.