How Much Should I Exercise?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, we need 150 minutes of exercise per week, which can be met by either doing 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity 5 times per week or 20-60 minutes of vigorous activity 3 times per week. It should be noted that this time is above and beyond activities of everyday living. It should also be noted that these recommendations are the minimum, meaning most likely you need more. 150 minutes is 2 and a half hours – just two and a half hours of your week dedicated minimally to exercise. So, do you think you exercise enough? I sincerely beg to differ.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Let’s just say for example that you are able to regularly and consistently meet these minimum requirements. Many aspects of your health would reflect that dedication: maintainable weight, controlled blood pressure, improved blood lipid profiles, increased energy, increased stamina, and on and on. There is not one single bad element to regular and consistent exercise, even at the minimal level. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Consider,

• Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
• Only one in three adults perform the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
• More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
• The national average for regular exercise is 51.6%.
• 28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, age six and older are physically inactive.

Think there’s a problem? You bet.

• Data from 2009-2010 indicates that over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million (16.9%) children and adolescents are obese.
• Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese.
• Obesity-related illness, including chronic disease, disability, and death, is estimated to carry an annual cost of $190.2 billion.
• Projections estimate that by 2018, obesity will cost the U.S. 21 percent of our total healthcare costs – $344 billion annually.

What Can You Do?

Aside from exercising? Exercise more! It really is that simple and the sad truth is that all of this is preventable! Every single person has the ability to not only make an individual difference but a global difference. We worry about countries warring, climates changing, offending people, yet the biggest war is the one we’re losing – our health! We are given one body, one attempt at living a healthy life. It’s not a guarantee but the chances are greatly in your favor if you take care of what needs to be taken care of. That does not include being medicated to handle things that are already in your control. You were always in control until you decided to stop or never started taking care of yourself.

Make Exercise a Priority

The problem with many is that they simply don’t make the time to exercise. They think about it but it gets quickly brushed aside for other “distractions”. And know that ALL excuses are invalid. May be some days 20 minutes is all you have to give. Much better to do whatever it is you can and make more time a priority another day. Falling into a cycle of less and less or erratic exercise does not count as getting exercise. It simply demonstrates the lack of dedication to something that should be automatic. So how much should you exercise? More than you think.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

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