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The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a widening variety of other chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cancer (colon and breast), obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases (osteoporosis and osteoarthritis). The benefits of physical activity are not limited to just physical improvements. Routine physical activity is also associated with improved psychological well-being (e.g., through reduced stress, anxiety and depression).
How active do adults need to be to gain some benefit?
Physical activity does not need to be hard to provide some benefit. Participating in moderate-intensity physical activity is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities.
Basic recommendations that are endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA):
Do moderately intense aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day,
five days a week
Do vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day,
3 days a week
Do eight to ten strength-training exercises,
8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
Note: For those individuals (males > 45 and females >55 years of age) who have not done exercise regularly in the last 6 months, it is recommended that you visit UHS prior to starting any physical activity.