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Staying Active

The CDC recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity) and 2 or more days a week of muscle strengthening activities for all major muscle groups, including your legs, hips, back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Vigorous vs Moderate Activity

Vigorous activity should make you feel challenged, make your breathing hard enough that a conversation becomes difficult, and should make your heart rate range from 77%-93% of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate based on your age. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, an estimated maximum heart rate for a relatively healthy 50-year-old person would be (220-50=170). Please keep in mind that medical conditions and certain medications can affect your heart rate and these calculations. Please consult with your physician when determining your maximum heart rate.

Some examples of vigorous activity are:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bike uphill

Moderate activity should feel less challenging, and you should be able to carry on a conversation. Your heart rate should range between 65%-75% of your maximum heart rate. Some examples of moderate activity are:

  • Walking briskly
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling on level terrain

Make Exercise a Daily Habit

The Harvard School of Public Health gives us 10 great tips on how to make exercise a daily habit.

  • Piece your workout together. If you do not have a lot of time in your day, do short workouts throughout the day.
  • Exercise with a friend. Having a workout partner can help you stay motivated.
  • Keep it brisk. Walking briskly may help control weight better than walking at a leisurely pace.
  • Move your feet before you eat. Go to the gym or on a walk and have lunch afterward.
  • Try a pedometer! Pedometers are an easy, inexpensive way to count your steps and stay motivated. Try to reach 10,000 steps per day!
  • Turn off the TV, computer, and smart phone. Cutting back on screen time is a great way to stay productive and active.
  • Turn sit time into fit time. Exercise during commercial breaks or set a reminder at work to get up and walk a few minutes every hour.
  • Sign up for a class. Find a course schedule at a local gym, community center, or dance and yoga studios. Learn about new activities that you enjoy and stay active.
  • Plan exercise into your day. Set aside a specific time in your schedule to work out and stick to it!
  • Reward yourself. Set short-term goals and reward yourself for achieving them.

Exercising with the Family

Exercising with family provides support and accountability. When you exercise with your kids, you are teaching them good health habits. To get everyone involved, choose activities the entire family can enjoy and even take turns picking activities! The Mayo Clinic provides fitness ideas for all members of the family:

  • Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers
    • Explore a playground. Play on the playground equipment with your child! Use the swings and the jungle gym to keep you both active.
    • Play active games like soccer, flag football, or tag!
    • Make up your own family game! It can involve jumping, running, lunging, squatting, and crawling. This can make exercise fun and get your heart rate up!
    • Create a scavenger hunt and make it a race!
  • Ideas for School-age kids
    • Take a walk or hike in nature. Not only will you get great exercise, but you get to take a break from electronics and catch up with your family.
    • Invest in bikes and explore your town.
    • Dance. Dancing is a fun way to get some great aerobic activity.
    • Get involved in a sport that your kids can enjoy.
    • Plan vacations in destinations that encourage outdoor activities. For example, book a trip where you can ski, hike, surf or go rock climbing.