The Power of 30 Minutes, 5 Days A Week
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, in addition to consuming a healthy and balanced diet, all adults should be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week with two days of a strengthening activity. But what does that really mean?
What is moderate-intensity physical activity?
Any activity that increases a person’s heart rate, such as walking, swimming, bicycling, jumping rope, or dancing. According to the American Heart Association, moderate-intensity physical activity varies by personal capacity, but is rated as a self-reported exertion of 11-14 on a scale of 1 to 20.
What are strengthening activities?
An activity that increases skeletal muscle strength or endurance, such as lifting weights, or bodyweight movements, such as squats or push-ups is considered a strengthening activity.
What are the benefits of being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many benefits to being physically active:
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Thirty minutes a day is an easy goal to remember. If 30 minutes at once seems daunting, you can break it up into 10-minute segments. The important thing is to incorporate physical activity as a part of your daily routine.
- If you have a specific goal in mind such as running a 5k race, start with 30 minutes of brisk walking and gradually incorporate jogging into the routine. To incorporate jogging within a walk, start by walking for 5 minutes and running for 1 minute, until you build up the endurance necessary to increase the running time.
Tips for increasing physical activity:
- Walk the dog (go beyond the usual route)
- Go for a walk after dinner or on your lunch break
- Take stairs when possible (ditch the elevator!)
- Park your car on the farthest side of the parking lot
- Buy small weights and keep them next to the couch. Get up off the couch and lift weights during commercials!
- Walk around the house while talking on the phone
- Get a stationary bike and pedal away while watching TV
- Rake leaves or work in the garden