"Engage in 60 minutes daily of vigorous physical activity." States a panel of experts concerned for our health.
An hour a day?
Really? And just what does vigorous mean?
The authors are talking about the equivalent of walking or jogging at least at a 4-5 mile/hour pace for a whole hour. Not just a leisurely walk around the lake.
This recommendation of one whole hour a day came from hard core science. The scientists on the panel took many factors into consideration such as:
1. Caloric Intake
2. Caloric Output
3. Body Composition
4. Cardiovascular Health
This was their bottom line:
To maintain an advisable weight, a favorable body composition, and excellent cardiovascular health, we Americans really need to be exercising at LEAST an hour a day as well as watching our intake to be sure it's supportive of our health.
I absolutely agree.
I tell my clients that 5-6 hours a week is the tipping point for making dramatic changes in their body. While expecting people to jump right in and begin with an hour a day is too much; ramping up to it by adding 30 minutes a week is certainly a do able task.
Yes, I agree it's hard, but it IS manageable.
Now that we know all of this exercise IS necessary, let's re-phrase our question:
How much exercise do we need in order to see lasting health benefits.
Basically, the more exercise you do, the more you are reducing your cardiovascular risk. (Within reason, of course. Excessive behavior in any realm is unhealthy.)
How much exercise do we really need in order to see at least some substantial cardiovascular benefit?
There are scores of studies documented that you can decrease your risk from 30-50% by exercising moderately for far less than one hour a day. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that women who reported walking at least 2.5 hours a week (20 minutes a day) reduced their Cardiovascular risk by 30%. Now, EVERYONE can do that!
Here's the bottom line:
If you can work your way up to 5-6 hours of vigorous exercise a week, 3 hours resistance training and 3 hours cardio (or shorter if you do HIIT), then do it. (Try a phase of Strategic Boot Camp
. It's what we do.)
However, be encouraged that by walking only 20 minutes a day, you'll be helping your heart and your health, but won't experience any dramatic fat loss.
Don't obsess! Any movement is positive! Get moving and improve your health!
Enjoying the Journey,
Whitney Cabrera RN, BSN