How Much Exercise Do I Really Need?

Everyone needs to move their bodies to stay healthy. Find out how much is enough.

from Instant Health Answers (Reader's Digest Association Books)
How Much Exercise Do I Really Need?© Hemera/Thinkstock

Most healthy people should aim for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, of moderately intense activity such as brisk walking, plus 10 to 15 minutes or so of strength-training (digging in your garden counts) 2 or 3 days a week. This is enough exercise to help you lower your risk for health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and osteoporosis, and to prevent the natural loss of muscle mass that slows metabolism and contributes to weight gain in your thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond.

If you’re trying to lose weight, more activity is better. An hour or even 90 minutes of moderate exercise, or 1/2 hour of vigorous activity such as jogging, strenuous aerobics, or fast-paced cycling, is ideal. Of course, anything you do is better than nothing, and consistency counts. Fitting in 30 minutes most days of the week, even in 10-minute bursts, is better than playing the weekend warrior by overdoing it once or twice a week.

If you’re the type that just doesn’t enjoy going to the gym or using a treadmill, choose an activity you enjoy that you can do for 10 to 30 minutes or longer and that raises your heart rate. This could be dancing, playing tennis, chopping enough wood to heat your house for the winter, or lining up strenuous yard work or housework that feels like a workout.

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

Sending Message
how we use your e-mail

  • Your Comments

    • http://www.careNfashion.com/ Adil

      You summarized the things very well. The 30 minute and 5 times a week is good for the busy people. Many people today say that they cannot give time to gym due to busy business/job schedule. But 30 minute out of 24 hours are easy to sacrifice.

    • dm

       i do not get time to do exercise in the morning, but i manage to do in the evening after office. the exercise is kind of room exercise which is mixed up of various activities like that of gym, pt, jogging and yoga. it take almost one hour for me to complete all activities. well no one suggest me to do this way . but i started and managed to do myself after i read article in readers digest some one year ago. i don’t know whether it is good in doing at evening, without taking suggestion from professionals but it is like some routine work. every day i returned from office i just started to do so and such kind of exercise happens almost everyday in the week except some day i just don’t want to do or some kind of heavy work i do. it makes me feel more active and fresh and joy.

    • dm

       i do not get time to do exercise in the morning, but i manage to do in the evening after office. the exercise is kind of room exercise which is mixed up of various activities like that of gym, pt, jogging and yoga. it take almost one hour for me to complete all activities. well no one suggest me to do this way . but i started and managed to do myself after i read article in readers digest some one year ago. i don’t know whether it is good in doing at evening, without taking suggestion from professionals but it is like some routine work. every day i returned from office i just started to do so and such kind of exercise happens almost everyday in the week except some day i just don’t want to do or some kind of heavy work i do. it makes me feel more active and fresh and joy.

    • dm

       i do not get time to do exercise in the morning, but i manage to do in the evening after office. the exercise is kind of room exercise which is mixed up of various activities like that of gym, pt, jogging and yoga. it take almost one hour for me to complete all activities. well no one suggest me to do this way . but i started and managed to do myself after i read article in readers digest some one year ago. i don’t know whether it is good in doing at evening, without taking suggestion from professionals but it is like some routine work. every day i returned from office i just started to do so and such kind of exercise happens almost everyday in the week except some day i just don’t want to do or some kind of heavy work i do. it makes me feel more active and fresh and joy.

    • dm

       i do not get time to do exercise in the morning, but i manage to do in the evening after office. the exercise is kind of room exercise which is mixed up of various activities like that of gym, pt, jogging and yoga. it take almost one hour for me to complete all activities. well no one suggest me to do this way . but i started and managed to do myself after i read article in readers digest some one year ago. i don’t know whether it is good in doing at evening, without taking suggestion from professionals but it is like some routine work. every day i returned from office i just started to do so and such kind of exercise happens almost everyday in the week except some day i just don’t want to do or some kind of heavy work i do. it makes me feel more active and fresh and joy.

    • dm

       i do not get time to do exercise in the morning, but i manage to do in the evening after office. the exercise is kind of room exercise which is mixed up of various activities like that of gym, pt, jogging and yoga. it take almost one hour for me to complete all activities. well no one suggest me to do this way . but i started and managed to do myself after i read article in readers digest some one year ago. i don’t know whether it is good in doing at evening, without taking suggestion from professionals but it is like some routine work. every day i returned from office i just started to do so and such kind of exercise happens almost everyday in the week except some day i just don’t want to do or some kind of heavy work i do. it makes me feel more active and fresh and joy.

    • Lily Smith

      I really enjoyed your article titled “How much excercise do I really need”.  I am a single working mother of 3 children and had a difficult time fitting excercise into my schedule.  The company I work for recently introduced the “Intersection program by Fit Your World” .  It was perfect for me.  The program has excercise routines designed to be done right at my desk in short time segments.  The cost of $5.00 per month fits into my budget and the excercise fits into my schedule.  Thanks Lily- Chicago

    • Zhang8048

      90X Extreme Fitness System ONLY ONLY 42$$$$$$$(W w w.proxy4biz o m)Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$16Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30(W w w.proxy4biz.c o m)