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We all feel better when we get up and move. According to the CDC and the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise helps improve your sleep, boosts mood and brain health, and reduces your risk for serious conditions including Type 2 diabetes, many types of cancer, and high blood pressure.
But it can be difficult to figure out a routine that helps you reap all those benefits. Should you tackle an Ironman race, or will a weekly yoga session suffice? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Each body has different needs. We’re here to provide you with recommendations on how much movement you need to give your body a boost and tips on how to get started. But first, a few quick fitness reminders:
But first, a few quick fitness reminders:
If you’re not sure which category an activity falls under, think about how you’re able to carry on a conversation when you perform it. During light activity, you should have no trouble having a long chat. During moderate activity, you should still be able to talk, but might have more trouble carrying on a long conversation. During vigorous activity, you’ll likely find it difficult to get out more than a sentence or two.
The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. This doesn’t have to happen all at once—break the activity down into the schedule that works for you. At least twice throughout the week, the CDC recommends incorporating muscle-strengthening activity into your routine. Ideally, all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) would get worked each week, though not necessarily with each session. Activities to consider:
The combination of strength training and aerobic activity provides more benefits than sticking purely to cardio. Doing so can help manage pain, create a stronger foundation to guard against falls, alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions, and help build stronger bones to reduce the risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Get the most from your moves: Strive for variety. Working out in different ways helps your entire body grow stronger, help prevent injury, and stave off boredom. Shake things up by setting a goal to try one new-to-you type of exercise each month for the rest of the year.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has found that there are several benefits to physical activity during pregnancy, including a decreased risk of gestational diabetes, cesarean births, and depressive conditions during the postpartum period. ACOG’s exercise recommendations vary depending on the type of pregnancy and activity level pre-pregnancy:
Get the most from your moves: Common core exercises can become counterproductive or impossible later in your pregnancy, so instead, focus on your breath. Diagrammatic or 360 breathing engages your deep core muscles and works your pelvic floor too. Here is a great diagram showing 5 simple ways to improve your pelvic floor.
The CDC recommends that adults older than 65 who are generally fit and don’t have limiting health conditions get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, with muscle-strengthening exercises incorporated at least twice a week. If any physical conditions prevent that much movement, the CDC stresses that some movement is better than none. One recent study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that simply breaking up sedentary time by getting up to get a glass of water or walking while talking on the phone can lead to better physical functioning. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to hit the gym to get the benefits of exercise. Activities like vacuuming or gardening count too.
Get the most from your moves: Exercising with a friend can help you stay motivated, push you to better results, and stave off the isolating effects of aging. A Zoom dance party with a friend, a brisk walk to a nearby cafe with a neighbor, pushing your grandkid in a swing at the park, or joining a gardening club are all ways to get both the physical and social benefits of movement.
The CDC recommends that people with chronic health conditions, disabilities, or physical limitations also get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, with muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. There are many ways to work out even with limited mobility. Check out some of our favorites:
Get the most from your moves: Consistency is key. Use calendar reminders to help you stay accountable and on track. And if you take a day or two off, don't stress. Set a realistic goal and start your routine again.
The CDC recommends kids aged 3-5 are physically active throughout the day in order to enhance their growth and development. The 6-17 age group should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, with bone- and muscle-strengthening exercises at least 3 days per week.
Kids and teens who don’t want to hit the gym don’t have to. Bodyweight movement like doing the monkey bars, playing tug-of-war, climbing on a playground or in trees, mowing the lawn, sweeping, jumping rope, or playing sports that involve jumps and pivots are all ways to strengthen bones and muscles.
Get the most from your moves: Don’t force sedentary kids to participate in an activity they don’t like. Plan exercises based on the things that do interest them. A trip to the zoo to see their favorite animal, walking to a thrift shop to put together an outfit based on a beloved video game character, shoveling the driveway while listening to a favorite podcast, or offering to walk a neighbor’s dog are all ways to show that movement can be a fun way to do more of the things they love.
If you have any questions for your clinician about getting started with exercise or finding the movement that works for you, open the app and start a visit today.