Do you know how long your exercise session should be? How do you measure whether or not the workout is really effective? To answer these questions, you need to have a specific goal in mind for your physical activity. The guidelines for weight loss and for heart health are different.
Exercise Guidelines for Weight Loss
To lose weight, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that you get between 150 – 250 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week to achieve modest weight loss. For greater weight loss, the organization recommends more than 250 minutes. If that seems like too much exercise, don’t panic. First, keep in mind that any exercise is going to help. Then, break down the 250 minute goal into manageable chunks. A sample schedule might look like this:
- Monday: Bike ride with family (30 minutes)
- Tuesday: Short walk after work (20 minutes)
- Wednesday: 3 ten minute walks during work breaks (30 minutes)
- Thursday: Yoga class (60 minutes)
- Friday: day off
- Saturday: Afternoon swim (20 minutes)
- Sunday: Long hike in the woods (90 minutes)
Total: 250 minutes
Exercise Guidelines for Heart Health
If you don’t need to lose weight, the ACSM recommends 150 minutes of physical activity each week for good heart health. That can be broken down into 5 30-minute sessions throughout your week. Schedule a post-dinner walk each night during the week and your exercise goal has been met!