How To Get The Right Amount of Exercise and Set Fitness Goals

The Right Amount of Exercise Is Not One Size Fits All

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The right amount of exercise
The right amount of exercise

Exercise is known to be an important part of your holistic health strategy, but that doesn’t mean you are required to spend hours in the gym every day, run a marathon, or keep up with Steve in a CrossFit class. That said, the right amount of exercise is guided by a few fitness benchmarks, set by dedicated researchers who work for organizations like the American Heart Association. 

The Basics: Exercise Benchmarks  

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Minutes Per Week

Research shows that it is optimal to elevate your heart rate for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) every week. Before getting overwhelmed, this breaks down to a half an hour five days a week or about 20 minutes every day of the week – that’s not too scary right?  Focus on getting the right amount of exercise for your body; even a brisk walk will get your blood pumping. If you sit for hours at a time at your job and often find days go by without much physical activity, join the club: according to the American Heart Associationonly 20% of American adults hit this goal.  

Now that we know we are in good company, let’s discuss how to get you into that top 20% of health-conscious Americans, working towards living to 100! 

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

Elevating your heart rate is further broken down into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise focuses on endurance and utilizes oxygen to create energy. Anaerobic focuses on short spurts of high intensity exercise that primarily uses glucose stores for energy. A combination of both is a recipe for a strong and healthy heart!

Aerobic Exercise: Exercise that uses oxygen as its energy source; longer endurance workouts 

Anaerobic Exercise: Exercise that uses glucose as its energy source; short, high-intensity workouts 

Remember to go at your own pace; both forms of exercise are not required to be healthy. Also, anaerobic exercise is practiced in short bursts – around 5-7 minutes. Sometimes all you need is one short 5 minute burst of energy and a brisk walk for the rest of the half hour. Do what your body is comfortable with – any amount of challenge is the right amount.

Here are some examples of aerobic and anaerobic exercises from Healthline 

Aerobic: 

  • Zumba 
  • Cross-country skiing 
  • Stair climbing 
  • Cycling and Rowing
  • Elliptical training 
  • Brisk Walk (+2.5 MPH)
  • Water aerobics or Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Tennis
  • Jogging 
  • Swimming laps

 Anaerobic:  

  • Jumping or jumping rope 
  • Sprinting
  • Biking
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Calisthenics and Plyometrics
  • Jump Squats and Box Squats
  • Sprinting

Aerobic: 

  • Zumba 
  • Cross-country skiing 
  • Stair climbing 
  • Cycling and Rowing
  • Elliptical training 
  • Brisk Walk (+2.5 MPH)
  • Water aerobics or Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Tennis
  • Jogging 
  • Swimming laps

 

Anaerobic:  

  • Jumping or jumping rope 
  • Sprinting
  • Biking
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Calisthenics and Plyometrics
  • Jump Squats and Box Squats
  • Sprinting

Define Your Fitness Goals 

Alright, so we know how much time we should spend exercising each week, the difference between aerobic and anaerobic heart elevation, and we have a good list of exercises to get us started. So now onto our next stop: what are your fitness goals?  

Are you trying to bulk up or slim down? Are you looking to finally do 20 pull ups or do you want activity that fits into your lunchbreak? Have you been active your whole life but really want to take it to the next level? Or have you been largely sedentary and looking for that first step? All goals are valid!  

Here are a few suggestions for each level: 

The Health Benefits of Exercise 

Armed with your fitness goals, you are now ready get moving. We will leave you with a list of direct health benefits due to the right amount of exercise, curated by The American Heart Association: 

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy 
  • Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea 
  • Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed 
  • Less weight gain, obesity and related chronic health conditions 
  • Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls 
  • Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety 
  • Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being 

This is our goal at Lively Health: to help you live to 100 without chronic disease, one step, squat, pull-up at a time. 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the article! Ready to start investing in your health today with Lively Health? Try it free:

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