Physical activity is important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In combination with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases that include heart disease, cancer and stroke — three leading causes of death. Physical activity can help control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat and promote strong bone, muscle and joint development.
According to the CDC, adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days, preferably all days, of the week. Children and teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity most, preferably all days, of the week.
Being physically active is an important part of keeping your family healthy. If you can’t do 30-60 minutes all at once, try aiming for 10 minutes a few times each day. Your health benefits will increase the more time you spend being active. For additional tips on getting active as a family, visit our active families page.
Adults should work their way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. It beneficial to also include muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on two or more days a week.
Children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. It is also recommended that children include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups; and bone strengthening activities, such as jump rope and running, at least three days a week as part of the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity.
- Moderate Activity
When exercising, if your breathing and heart rate are noticeably faster but you can still carry on a conversation, you’re likely exercising at a moderate intensity. When it comes to health benefits, one minute of vigorous activity is equal to two minutes of moderate activity. Examples include:
- Walking briskly (a 15-minute mile)
- Light yard work (raking/bagging leaves or using a push lawn mower)
- Light snow shoveling
- Actively playing with children
- Biking at a casual pace
- Vigorous Activity
When exercising, if your heart rate is increased substantially and you are breathing too hard and fast to have a conversation, you’re likely exercising at a vigorous intensity. When it comes to health benefits, one minute of vigorous activity is equal to two minutes of moderate activity. Examples include:
- Swimming laps
- Rollerblading/inline skating at a brisk pace
- Cross-country skiing
- Most competitive sports (football, basketball, or soccer)
- Jumping rope