How much exercise should you get per week?

Regular exercise and physical activity is important for human body. It helps us to remain healthy and is useful for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Exercise includes both aerobic exercises and the strength exercises. The minimum recommendations of exercises vary according to age groups, but all age groups should get exercise for sure.

Why different age groups have different recommendations for exercises?

The recommendations vary for different age groups based on the various factors including:

  • The capacity of exercise each age group have
  • The potential damage the lack of exercise can do to the body of that age group
  • The minimum exercise required to keep that age group body healthy and in working condition, free of disease and illness

Can we deviate from the recommended exercise duration and intensity for age?

The recommendation isn’t a law that has to be followed at all cost however, the exercise duration and intensity can vary from person to person. Consult an expert to discuss the best exercise routine for you and to see if your current exercise plan is enough, not too high or low for your body and age.

Recommended exercise for Adults (19 to 64 years old)

Lets discuss the recommended minimum exercise for an adult between the age of 19 and 64. The exercise recommendation includes both aerobic exercises and the strength exercises for the adults, as their body needs both of them to remain healthy and in good shape and free of diseases and illnesses.

There are basically three sets of exercise routines for adults to choose from. You can chose any one of these and make them part of your routine to remain healthy.

Note that none of the recommendation is being claimed to be superior to the other one, you should chose the one best suited for you and your routine lifestyle that you can stick to and carry out regularly.

Exercise Recommendation 1 for adults:

The first recommendation includes:

  • Almost 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of aerobic exercise per week.
    • This aerobic activity has to be of moderate intensity and divided into 5 days
    • This makes it 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity everyday for at least 5 days per week
  • At least 2 days of strength exercises per week for all major muscle groups of the body

We can include the strength training on the weekends (the remaining 2 days after 5 days of the aerobic activity) or can include them during the week in same 5 days of aerobic activity, but at different timing possibly or along with the aerobic activity too or whichever way suits you.

Exercise Recommendation 2 for adults:

The second recommendation includes:

  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise for at least 3 days a week.
    • This makes a total of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week
    • These days can be consecutive or a day apart or any other formation, whichever suits you better
  • At least 2 days of muscle strengthening exercises per week for the major muscle groups of the body

This way, most of the week is free, so strength training can be separated from the aerobic activity day, making it a total of 5 days of workout. Or you can also include it on the same 3 aerobic activity days too, freeing rest of your week.

Exercise Recommendation 3 for adults:

Third recommendation is to combine the moderate intensity and vigorous aerobic activity. Having moderate activity on a couple of days and vigorous on one or more days a week.

This has to be carried out with strength training too however for at least 2 days a week for major muscle groups.

Major muscle groups for muscle strengthening exercises

Strength training is necessary for every adult, even if they’re not sportsmen or athlete, for leading a normal and healthy life.

The major muscle groups that need to be strengthen include:

  • Major legs muscles
  • Hips (glutes / gluteus muscles)
  • Back muscles
  • Abdominals
  • Shoulders (deltoids and trapezius)
  • Arms muscles
  • Chest muscles

These muscles need various exercises though, however the minimum exercises include:

  • Pushups
  • Chin ups
  • Abdominals / crunches
  • Jogging / running

And other exercises too. Consult an expert to learn the exercises you need to strengthen your body. (But remember, you don’t need protein shakes or steroids, at all! As they are seriously harmful for our body no matter what the gym guy says).

exercise recommendations

Which exercises and activities are included in aerobic activity?

Anything that burns calories can be considered an exercise, such as walking, climbing stairs, sports, etc.

However the activities focused on aerobic activity on daily basis should be chosen based on various factors like:

  • Hobby of a person, so that he continues doing it as fun not as a burden
  • Physical ability of a person according to his health and age
  • Environmental conditions and facilities available to the person

Activities that can be considered as aerobic activity and are good for health include:

  • Walking (preferably brisk walking)
  • Jogging (or running, depending upon your endurance and health)
  • Swimming (not just remaining in water, but swimming)
  • Hiking (uphill hiking!)
  • Biking
  • Martial arts
  • Various sports including
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Hockey
    • Rugby

There are many other activities that can be considered healthy aerobic activity too. Consult an expert to discuss in detail which physical activities are best for your body based on your age and health condition.

Don’t forget to include strength-training exercises to your routine as they’re essential part of the exercise routine too.

Stretching exercise in weekly routine

Another very important thing, often neglected, is stretching. Stretching is equally important and should be done regularly to keep the joints and muscles healthy and to maintain normal range of movement of various body joints. Stretching is not only for gymnasts and sportsmen but is also for normal individuals, specially the ones recovering from any joints related issues, so discuss with your doctor regarding which stretching exercises are beneficial and safe for you.

Remember not to over-push your body when stretching as it can damage the joints. Always learn proper stretching exercises from an expert and do them under supervision, at least initially until you become confident in them, to avoid any damage to the joints and other parts of the body.

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