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How much exercise should I do and how long for? by Geoff


Posted on May 18, 2020


How much exercise should I do and how long for?
This post is from Geoff - a member of our Health and Fitness Team at WV Active Bilston – Bert Williams and WV Active Central.

With gyms and fitness facilities closed it may be more difficult than usual to continue your regular exercise regime. But if you are able to take time out of your day to exercise, how often should you do it and how long for?

What are the exercise guidelines for adults?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18 – 64 years old take part in:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week
  • Strengthening activities that work all major muscles (legs, hip, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) twice per week

Or they can alternatively take part in:

  • 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
  • Strengthening activities that work all major muscles (legs, hip, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) twice per week

WHO defines physical activity as walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming, cycling, carrying out housekeeping duties, sports or planned exercise (such as an exercise class).

How do I know the intensity of my exercise?

The intensity of different forms of physical activity vary depending on different people and their and their level of fitness. For example, 10 push ups for someone who does them daily will be easier than they are for someone who has never done a push up before.

How do I know the intensity of my exercise?

A simple scale of 1-10 can be used to determine how intense you find an activity. To reap the rewards of exercise your activities should range between at least 4 and 8, as marked out on the chart below.  You might feel like a five-minute jog is a moderate activity, but for someone else it could be very hard activity.

If you’re currently inactive, then any exercise you do will provide some health benefits. It’s best to start with low impact activities and gradually increase frequency, time or intensity of your sessions.

While there are risks to beginning an exercise programme or physical activity, exercise research shows that the higher intensity, the higher the results. You could say more stimulus, more response!  Working your way up to intense exercise will give better results.

In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.

“The best exercise is the one that you’ll do”

So, you ask, what types of exercise should I be doing? There is a saying “the best exercise is the one that you’ll do” - I really like that! Whether it’s taking the dog for an extra walk, getting up and dancing to the radio or giving yourself a press up challenge while the kettle’s boiling, the more you move, the better.

We all have different capabilities and by working with what you can do and what you enjoy is the best place to start. This is something we consider when designing our functional fitness classes at WV Active, which is why we tend to instruct using time limits rather than repetitions. It is important to not be demoralised any in capabilities you have as it takes years to master skills and form habits.

What you must remember is that if you have pains niggles and they worsen as you exercise then you are to cease the activity, find an alternative exercise and seek advice.

I urge everyone to keep moving - the only workout you will regret is the one that you did not do!

Geoff
Health and Fitness Instructor
Bilston – Bert Williams and Central