Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:
- brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
- water aerobics
- dancing (ballroom or social)
- tennis (doubles)
- biking slower than 10 miles per hour
Vigorous intensity activities will push your body a little further. They will require a higher amount of effort. You’ll probably get warm and begin to sweat. You won’t be able to talk much without getting out of breath.
Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities:
- hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
- swimming laps
- aerobic dancing
- heavy yardwork like continuous digging or hoeing
- tennis (singles)
- cycling 10 miles per hour or faster
- jumping rope
Knowing your target heart rate can also help you track the intensity of your activities. For maximum benefits, include both moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity in your routine along with strengthening and stretching exercises. What if I’m just starting to get active?
Don’t worry if you can’t reach 150 minutes per week just yet. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you've been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. Set a reachable goal for today. You can work up toward the recommended amount by increasing your time as you get stronger. Don't let all-or-nothing thinking keep you from doing what you can every day.
The simplest way to get moving and improve your health is to start walking. It's free, easy and can be done just about anywhere, even in place.
Any amount of movement is better than none. And you can break it up into short bouts of activity throughout the day. Taking a brisk walk for five or ten minutes a few times a day will add up.
If you have a chronic condition or disability, talk with your healthcare provider about what types and amounts of physical activity are right for you before making too many changes. But don’t wait! Get started today by simply sitting less and moving more, whatever that looks like for you.
The takeaway: Move more, with more intensity, and sit less. Science has linked being inactive and sitting too much with higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and lung cancers, and early death. It’s clear that being more active benefits everyone and helps us live longer, healthier lives.
Aerobic exercise provides a wide range of benefits for the body and brain. National physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity every week. Getting more exercise than this will likely have additional benefits.
For some people, it may be difficult to find time for sports or regular visits to the gym. However, making small changes to daily routines can help these individuals reach the recommended amount of physical activity. For example, they could take the stairs instead of the lift or, when possible, try walking instead of driving.