Exercise being one of the components of the energy balance, it’s naturally a huge player in our health. On top of balancing out the energy equation, exercise has tons of health benefits that you've been reading up or that can be easily available via the google. This blog is more about how much exercise should you be doing to reach your goals and be happy.
First and foremost, I should restate the above to “how much should you exercise according to the way you live and be happy about it”. You may love to exercise and can’t get enough of it. If that’s the case, I’ll save you some time and have you skip this article. This is more for people that struggle to find time to exercise or that want to exercise simply to balance their energy.
Their are three main intensities: light, moderate and in-freaking-tense.
Light: any time you are on your feet. Be it standing or walking at a leisurely pace.
Moderate: any time you break a light sweat. It can go from gardening to casually roller blading to aggressive leisurely walking.
Intense: any thing that makes you curse the world. Heavy wights, HIIT, spin, sports...
Note that sitting and lying down do not count as a form of exercise as the calories spent during such relaxing times aren't big enough to matter for this.
Other note: exercise intensities are subjective to your fitness level. What you consider as moderate may be intense to someone else and light to another. When you think about what to do, think about what YOU need to do, not what other people tell you to do.
Light: as much as you can.
Moderate: I personally recommend 5 hours a week MINIMUM
Intense: 1-2 hours a week as a start.
Putting it all together
To complete your light activity, try to be on your feet as much as you can throughout the day. I understand that for those of us who have a desk job that’s harder. Some of us stand up for 8-10 hours a day just by being at our job. Unfair advantage I agree but nonetheless, if you have a desk job there are other ways to get that activity in. Can you walk to work? Can you park a little further than usually to include a 15 minute walk to work and 15 minutes back to your car? Can you cycle to work?
For the moderate, my recommendation stems from the idea that you would exercise moderately 30 minutes every week day plus two and half hours on weekends. Weekdays could be some basic cardio and weekends could be anything done outdoors like hiking or gardening or helping your neighbour build a new fence.
Intense would be gym or spin or any fitness class type of thing. Most of these classes are one hour long so if you manage two during the week that’s a terrific start.
Hold up now, isn't that getting like a lot of things to do on top of my regular routine? Yes. Yes it is. Exercise is an important component of a healthy life and should be planned accordingly. That’s right guys, plan it! Sit down somewhere quite and have a conversation with yourself: how can you fit it all in? Will you exercise twice on certain days? Or exercise longer during a certain workout? Or go for a long hike? You tell me, you know your life better than anyone else. The above recommendation is just a guideline. It’s your job to tweak it to make it work for you.
Remember the fundamental rule of the energy balance. If you don't have a ton of time to exercise, that’s totally ok, as long as you eat accordingly.