What should be the minimum time to spend on exercising

Unless paired with an effective exercise regime, diet alone can never bring your weight down. Regular, consistent and well monitored physical activity is important not just for losing weight but to make sure you stay at an arm’s length from various lifestyle conditions and diseases like obesity, diabetes, high BP, cardiovascular illness and osteoporosis. It would be prudent to include exercise as a regular lifestyle choice to become fit, healthy and happy. But how much is the minimum amount of time you should spend on exercising if you don’t have lofty fitness goals and just need to stay healthy and reasonably fit?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity.

Exercise Approach: There are several ways in which you can ensure the recommended quota of 150 minutes per week for yourself. You can perform physical activity in multiple short bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread over a week, to reach the goal of 150 minutes. For instance, you could spend 30 minutes every day brisk walking outdoors or on home exercise equipment like a treadmill five times in a week. However, if you have a specific goal in mind like weight loss or participation in a sporting event, you may need to spend more time (up to 300 minutes or more) on a workout, that should ideally include a good mix of both cardio and strength training.  

Pregnant and postpartum women and those with cardiac issues should get medical advice and take extra precautions before starting an exercise program that meets the minimum time requirement. We must remember that some activity is better than no activity at all. 

Cardio Exercises: Cardio exercises are crucially important for our overall health and well-being. A good cardio workout pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body, improving metabolism and making our hearts and lungs stronger. According to experts, we should practice at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense cardio vascular exercise every week. A consistent cardio routine including activities such as walking, running or cycling can help us lose weight, strengthen immunity, enhance endurance levels, boost energy and prevent diseases. Fitness equipment such as treadmill, bikes and elliptical trainers are excellent for cardio workouts and losing weight. You can use them at a gym or also in the comfort and privacy of your home. We believe that even a 20 to 30-minute workout on such an equipment is enough to mobilize your body, boost blood circulation and burn calories. Strength Training: With age, we start losing important muscle mass and instead, start storing fat. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, our metabolism begins to slow down. To reverse this process, we should invest our time in weight training or load bearing exercises which help us gain our muscles back. According to Mayo Clinic, do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. At OneFitplus, we advise everyone to try Weight training as it is very useful in shedding extra calories, increasing bone density, boosting metabolism, developing flexibility and augmenting our stamina. Weight training can increase a person’s metabolic rate for up to 12 hours after a workout which means you tend to burn calories even while sitting. Lifting weights can also keep several diseases at bay. 

Benefits of being physically active:

As compared to less active or inactive adults, those who are committed towards being physically active, even on a minimum time frame basis, enjoy the following benefits:

  • Face a reduced risk of contracting illnesses like metabolic syndrome, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease.
  • Are less prone to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
  • Have lesser chances to get bone fractures.
  • Can shed weight and even manage to keep it that way.
  • Have a better immune system and a regular sleep cycle.
  • Enjoy a healthy body along with muscular fitness.

During the current Covid 19 crisis when everyone is stuck indoors, it’s even more important to stay physically active in order to stay bodily and mentally fit. Try and practise some kind of activity routine at home including yoga, stretching, body weight exercises and even household chores to avoid the hazard of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. A few extra steps per day can go a long way in keeping you healthy.

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