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Published on April 26, 2019

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How much exercise is enough?

Physical activity is important, but how much is enough? The 2018 physical activity guidelines for adults recommend sitting less and moving more. Building activity into your daily life is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. The guidelines suggest a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. For optimal health, the guidelines increase these numbers to 300 or more minutes of moderate physical activity or 150 minutes of vigorous activity. It is recommended that adults also engage in two days of muscle strengthening activities. 

Moderate versus vigorous activity

Moderate and vigorous activity vary depending how much you exert yourself during exercise. The easiest way to decipher between the two is with the "talk test." Moderate physical activity allows you to chat alongside your workout buddy. On the other hand, vigorous exercise makes it difficult to carry on a conversation with someone. You might be able to speak a few words at a time, but talking in complete sentences is challenging.

Moderate and vigorous activities vary depending on what shape your body is in and how accustomed you are to the exercise. Typically, moderate exercise includes activities such as walking, biking or playing doubles tennis. Vigorous exercise may include running or sprinting, hiking uphill or participating in a spin class. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it.

Remember, you don't need to get to the gym for 30 minutes every day to stay in shape. Mix things up! Take the stairs, walk to the store instead of driving, bike to work or play with your kids at the park. The ultimate goal is to sit less and move more.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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