Life Saving Summer
Warmer weather means that summer is right around the corner. Getting your children outside to run and play is probably on your mind, but have you ever thought about getting outside yourself?
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition1, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, adults should get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
Why Should I Care?
Current research shows that most american adults do not achieve their weekly activity recommendations. This should be a concern because when we sit too long or sit too much we are at a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and lung cancer, and earlier death. Moving saves lives!
According to the American Heart Association1, being physically active has been linked to the following:
Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy
Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed
Less weight gain, obesity and related chronic health conditions
Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls
Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being
150 minutes of moderate activity a week can provide all those benefits! Can you believe it? Many Americans, knowing about these benefits, still find it difficult to find time. If this is you, you’re not alone. Having a healthy lifestyle should be fun and exciting, not feel like a drag or a chore.
How Do I Get Started?
To get started, you should first look at activities that you enjoy doing. Again, the recommended amount of weekly activity is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
Moderate aerobic activity will increase the speed that your heart beats and make you breath at a faster rate, however, you will still be able to talk through the entire activity. Vigorous aerobic activity will be activity that is above a medium/moderate amount of effort. It will be harder to breath, you will become sweaty, and you will become out of breath upon completion. Look at the chart below to get some ideas of moderate and vigorous aerobic activities. 1
Moderate Aerobic Activities
brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
dancing (ballroom or social)
biking slower than 10 miles per hour
Vigorous Aerobic Activities
hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
heavy yard work like continuous digging or hoeing
cycling 10 miles per hour or faster
150 minutes, divided by 7 days is 21.5 minutes. This means that if you can find 21.5 minutes a day, doing any of the activities above, you can hit the recommended activity levels!
If you are just getting started, take it slow. Try increasing your activity for one day a week by choosing an activity that you enjoy doing. Any type of movement, even starting out at just 2 more minutes a day, can make a huge difference.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
1. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults. Published April 18, 2018. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Blog written by Dr. Jordan Anderson, PT, DPT