You may have heard that the recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services is for healthy adults to exercise 150 minutes per week. But what do those guidelines look like in real life? Beyond the numbers, the exercise recommendation is very flexible and can cover everyone from those just getting started to athletes. Below you’ll find some ideas on how to work toward those 150 minutes in your life.
All data is based on CDC recommendations.
OPTION 1: WALK IT OUT
150 minutes equal 2 hours and 30 minutes. That is 30 minutes, 5 days a week! Those hours are for moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking, slow bicycling, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing or gardening.
OPTION 2: GET SWEATY
1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Examples are jogging, running, swimming laps, tennis (singles), dancing, hiking uphill or backpacking.
OPTION 3: MIX IT UP
Do you get bored easily? Try a mixture of moderate and vigorous activity. A rule of thumb is one minute of vigorous-intensity activity is equal to two minutes of moderate activity. Give your brain a workout with some basic math to get the equivalent of 150 minutes! Here are a few examples: 75 minutes of moderate activity and 40 minutes of vigorous intensity movements or 50 minutes of moderate activity and 50 minutes of vigorous movement.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR MUSCLES
No matter what you choose, in addition to those activities, add in muscle strengthening activities! Try yoga, walking stairs, or weight lifting for two days per week. Work your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
GIVE IT 10 MINUTES
If you are just beginning your physical activity journey, start small. Break your activity into even 10 minutes at a time.
Here’s a sample schedule for your week to achieve 150 minutes:
Monday: 30-minute brisk walk at lunch; muscle strengthening: 3 sets of 12 squats
Tuesday: Gardening, 1 hour
Wednesday: 30-minute brisk walk at lunch; muscle strengthening: 3 sets of 20-second plank position.
Friday: 30-minute brisk walk to coffee in the morning.
Saturday: Hike, 1 hour
While getting your movement in for the week is important, rest is equally important for your overall health and recovery. Shoot for getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night and spend your rest days exploring other hobbies that may not be centered around sweating. By allowing yourself days off, you will feel refueled and ready to work hard for the rest of the week.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.