What is Healthy Exercise?

Senior African American Woman Exercising In Park

(DGIwire)  —  We’ve all heard exercise is good for us but most are still confused about what kind of exercise to do and how much is really needed to obtain health benefits.

Current guidelines for physical activity state that 150 minutes per week is a good goal.  That works out to be just over 20 minutes a day.  It doesn’t seem like much but less than 20 percent of American adults actually meet or exceed the recommendation.  That may be because people either think that more is needed or that it is hard or they confuse health with fitness.

Healthy exercise need not be as long or as hard as most athletes or fitness junkies would lead us to believe.  In fact, it can easily fit into anyone’s schedule and even be fun.

Physical activity is defined as any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy.  The good news is that the definition covers a lot including normal daily life activities like house chores, yard work and walking the dog.

There are really three areas that need to be covered: Aerobic activities, Muscle-strengthening activities and Bone-building activities.

Research concludes that moderate aerobic activity should last at least 10 minutes because shorter intervals don’t appear to have the same benefits.

Strengthening activities should cover all of the major muscle groups but weights are not necessary.

Bone building activities require a force or impact to promote or maintain bone growth.

“Regular walking along with alternating simple bodyweight exercises like some form of push-ups and squats can effectively cover all three criterion with a minimal time requirement.  Several 10-20 minute daily walks along with just one minute of muscle-strengthening performed three times each day is a simple and healthy program. It is perfect for beginners, the time-crunched and people who don’t like to exercise,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.

Any activity is better than none.  New research has concluded that that inactivity, particularly sitting for extended periods of time is a risk factor for disease all by itself.  This fact alone should provide some motivation to get up and move.

Griesel adds, “Consistency is the key.  Finding a way to get the minimum in every day is much more beneficial over time than intermittent but unsustainable efforts.  Finding ways to walk more and commit to just three daily muscle-strengthening exercises, lasting only one minute each, really adds up over time and can make a huge difference in the way a person feels and looks.”