A Balanced Approach to Fitness
The current U.S. physical activity guidelines emphasize all three aspects of fitness. Here are the recommendations per our friends at Harvard Medical School:
- All adults — including people with various disabilities — should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week.
Twenty minutes of moderate activity is roughly equal to 10 minutes of vigorous activity. During moderate exercise, you should be able to talk, but not sing; during vigorous activities, you should be able to say only a few words without pausing to breathe. Increasing that time — up to 300 minutes of moderate activity, or 150 minutes of vigorous activity, or a mix — significantly increases the health benefits. of the exercise.
- Twice-weekly strengthening activities for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) are also recommended.
- Balance exercises are especially important for older adults who are at risk of falling.
- Flexibility exercises may also be helpful.
If you are pretty sedentary, an increase in activity may sound overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged! Do as much as you can. Some activity is always better than none.
Start small, with 5 minutes of brisk walking several times a day and work toward your goal a little at a time.
You can do it! Small changes turn into big changes!