The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News
What really counts as exercise?
Have you ever counted your daily activities as exercise? Running around after the kids, walking to work, mowing the grass, shopping… these are all activities that could possibly work up a sweat and raise your heart rate. But do they really count as exercise?
Guidelines are very general and do vary somewhat from person to person – so it may be hard to tell. In this newsletter, we’ll try to clarify what actually counts as exercise and how much of this exercise is adequate.
The new exercise guidelines for minimum physical activity were re-established during Heart Health month (February) 2009. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association set two different recommendations for adults:
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
For adults over age 65
(or adults 50-64 with chronic conditions, such as arthritis).
Do moderately intense aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Do vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, 10-15 repetitions of each exercise twice to three times per week
If you are at risk of falling, perform balance exercises
Have a physical activity plan.
To help clarify what moderately and vigorously intense cardio, ACSM’s classification of physical activity intensities are as follows:
Moderate 65-76% of Heart Rate Maximum*
Vigorous 77-93% of Heart Rate Maximum*
*To find out how to get your heart rate maximum, refer to my previous article: What Else Can Your Stress Test Tell You?
The easiest way to see if your activity counts as exercise is to monitor your heart rate. If your average heart rate for the activity falls in the moderate range it counts! While something is better then no activity, maintaining the volume and intensity are crucial for the health benefits! These guidelines are very general and do vary somewhat from person to person. To properly start or adjust your exercise routine, schedule your Comprehensive Exam with Advanced Fitness Evaluation with me or another PLC Exercise Physiologist.
Activities that can count*
Activities that help but do not count
- Roller-skating / Roller-blading
- Dancing (high impact, sweating)
- Walking faster than 4.0 MPH
- Walking uphill 2-3 MPH at a 6-12% incline
- Martial Arts
- Cycling faster then 10 MPH
- Circuit Resistance training
- Tennis (singles)
- All aerobic equipment with exercise within 65-76+% of heart rate maximum (bicycle, elliptical, treadmill, rower, stairmaster, swimming, etc)
- Any activity under 10 minutes of duration*
- Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
- Gardening and Lawn Work
- Leisure/Slow walking
- Tennis (doubles)
- Any aerobic equipment or exercise with a heart average below 65% of heart rate maximum.
*Activities must be performed for at least 10 minutes at a time to count for exercise
To properly start or adjust your exercise routine, schedule your Comprehensive Exam with Advanced Fitness Evaluation with me or another PLC Exercise Physiologist.
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