Question: “I don’t like or have the time to do formal workouts on a regular basis, but I think I’m an active person overall. I walk, hike and love to garden. How much do I need to exercise to get the benefits from the activity? “
What we’re really discussing here are the differences between physical activity and fitness. The terms are often used interchangeably, although they are not necessarily the same. Fitness is a performance-based concept that can be measured and evaluated by standardized fitness tests. For example, a measure of your current level of fitness could in part be based on how many push-ups, sit-ups, or pull-ups you can do, or how fast you can run a mile. In contrast, the classification of physical activity more closely reflects a person’s lifestyle. If you walk, cycle, or hike regularly, or have a physically demanding job, you are a physically active person even if you don’t formally train.
Both physical activity and fitness are closely related to good health, although it is quite possible for an individual to perform well on a specific fitness test but still achieve poor results. on a general measure of good health. For example, you might score high on a measure of strength such as the number of pull-ups performed, but have poor cardiovascular (aerobic) health. Likewise, the physically active person may not necessarily be well tested on specific measures of fitness, while still enjoying good health. Despite this contradiction, the two are related: being physically active will generally improve one or more aspects of fitness. Likewise, a high level of physical fitness increases the likelihood of you adopting an active lifestyle.
Exercise and quality of life
A growing body of evidence suggests that regular exercise, whether it’s formal workouts or just an active lifestyle, can prevent – or at least delay – the onset of many degenerative diseases. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes have all been linked to a sedentary lifestyle. It is well documented that in the absence of regular physical activity:
- We start to lose bone mass and bone strength after the age of 40.
- The pumping efficiency of the heart can decrease by up to a third before the age of 70.
- We lose muscle mass with each passing decade.
- The metabolism slows down and we burn fewer calories, which promotes weight gain.
- The immune system begins to weaken as we age, which means we are more likely to get sick and cannot recover as quickly.
The good news is that these symptoms of aging are not inevitable. Most can be avoided or delayed with regular doses of physical activity.
Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The most basic recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that adults move more and sit less throughout the day. Sedentary adults who engage in moderately vigorous physical activity will experience health benefits. In short, physical activity is better than nothing, so getting physically active is a plus. Walk rather than ride when it’s safe. Go up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Walk the dog, mow the lawn or trim the bushes. Move on.
To achieve substantial health benefits, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) to 300 minutes (5 hours) per week of moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking or recreational cycling, or 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous intensity. aerobic physical activity such as jogging or running. The CDC also recommends that adults perform muscle building activities that involve all major muscle groups two or more days per week. Such exercise strengthens muscles, maintains bone density, and offers some protection against the debilitating effects of osteoporosis.
The benefits of regular exercise are many and the potential drawbacks are few. Whether it’s formal workouts or normal daily physical activities, adopting an active lifestyle is probably still the most effective step a person can take to improve their overall health and quality of body. life.