Exercise is a vital component of the energy balance equation (calories in vs calories out) and plays a significant role in our overall health. How much exercise should we be doing each week to achieve our goals? In this blog post I am going to give you general recommendations you can start with.
Determining Exercise Intensities
When it comes to exercise intensities, there are three main categories: light, moderate, and intense.
Light intensity: This includes activities like standing or walking at a leisurely pace.
Moderate intensity: It refers to activities that make you break a light sweat, such as gardening, casual rollerblading, hiking amongst many others.
Intense intensity: This category encompasses activities that challenge you and make you push your limits, like heavy weightlifting, HIIT workouts, spinning, or engaging in sports.
Tailoring Exercise to Your Lifestyle
It's important to understand that exercise intensities are subjective and depend on your individual fitness level. What may be moderate for you might be intense for someone else and light for another person. Instead of following what others tell you to do, focus on what you need to do based on your circumstances and preferences.
Light intensity: Engage in light activities as much as possible throughout the day.
Moderate intensity: I personally recommend a minimum of 5 hours per week for moderate intensity exercise.
Intense intensity: As a starting point, aim for 1-2 hours per week of intense exercise.
Incorporating Exercise into Your Routine
To incorporate light activity into your daily routine, try to spend as much time on your feet as possible.
If you have a desk job, there are still ways to increase your activity level. Consider options like walking to work, parking farther away to include a 15-minute walk to the office, or even cycling to work.
For moderate intensity exercise, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity on weekdays and allocate two and a half hours on weekends for outdoor activities. If you prefer staying at home, having some cardio equipment like a treadmill or a spin bike in your building will help. Remember that moderate exercise is anything that makes us break a light sweat, we don't need to get too crazy. My personal favourite: rucking.
Intense intensity exercises can be done at the gym or in fitness classes. Since most classes are one hour long, attending two classes during the week would be an excellent starting point. When you are starting out, take the time to find a style of workout that you enjoy. Try different classes, try different workouts, and when you find one that you like, focus on consistently going there.
It does take a little of planning, and a little practice to fit your exercise routine in your day to day. Life has a tendency to get in the way, but with time, you can learn how to always get enough exercise in your life. Each exercise intensity is important for us. We burn the most calories easily in the light and moderate intensities, the moderate one is particularly important for our cardiovascular health, and the high intensity is important for our muscles, strength and bone density.