We know exercise is good for us, but there are too many rumors and misconceptions about how much, what kind, and so on. Here are some facts based on the latest evidence.
A study from Duke University School of Medicine shows that you can lose just as much weight by walking as you would running. What matters is the amount of calories you burn, not how much you sweat. Use a fitness tracker to monitor the miles and calories, instead of guessing.
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for us. Fewer muscle contractions means less insulin is produced, so fats and sugars take longer to get cleared from the blood. Stand up and move every 30 minutes.Taking a break from sitting can be as simple as walking to the water cooler for a drink, not going out and running. Do your exercise, and also think of your activity throughout the day. If you exercise, it's not okay to sit for the rest of the day.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours a day of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week.
Moderate intensity means you are working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.
Example: Walking fast (3 mph)
Riding a bike on level ground or terrain with few hills.
Playing doubles tennis
Pushing a lawn mower
Vigorous intensity means you are breathing hard and fast, and your heart is beating rapidly. You are unable to carry on a conversation.
Example: Jogging or running
Riding a bike fast or on hills
Playing singles tennis
Is more exercise better? The CDC claims that 5 hours of moderate exercise or 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise every week have an even lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast & colon cancers, and are less likely to gain weight. Adding strength training to your routine 2-3 days per week is also beneficial.
* For free videos on how to strengthen your muscles, go to cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/videos
~Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 2013