Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but how much is enough? With a dizzying array of workout routines, fitness gurus, and exercise programs, it can be challenging to know what is best for you. The American Heart Association (AHA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued recommendations for cardio and resistance exercise levels per week. In this blog post, we will explore these recommendations and provide guidance on how to achieve them.
Cardio Exercise Requirements:
The AHA recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, dancing, or cycling at a speed of 10-12 miles per hour, while vigorous activities include running, hiking uphill, or cycling at a speed of more than 12 miles per hour. These activities should be spread throughout the week, with sessions lasting at least 10 minutes each.
Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to have numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. According to recent research, some of the key benefits of aerobic exercise include:
Improved cardiovascular health: Aerobic exercise has been found to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels (Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327100).
Increased life expectancy: Research shows that people who include aerobic exercise in their daily routine can increase their life expectancy (Source: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-are-aerobic-exercises).
Improved brain function: Short-term aerobic exercise has been found to improve cognitive and brain health in sedentary adults (Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2013.00075/full).
Better sleep quality: Research suggests that engaging in regular aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality and duration (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5448449/).
Resistance Exercise Requirements:
The CDC recommends that adults engage in muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups two or more days per week. These activities include weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, and resistance bands. Ideally, each exercise should be repeated for eight to 12 repetitions, targeting each muscle group for a total of two to three sets.
Recent research has shown that resistance exercise provides numerous health benefits, including:
Improved bone health: Resistance exercise has been found to increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986488/).
Better metabolic health: A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that resistance exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, which can help prevent type 2 diabetes (Source: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2023/02000/Effects_of_Resistance_Training_on_Glucose_Control.6.aspx).
Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease: Research suggests that resistance exercise can improve blood pressure, lipid profiles, and overall cardiovascular health (Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22874843/).
Improved mental health: Resistance exercise has been found to have positive effects on both anxiety and depression symptoms (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842975/).
Better quality of life: A study published in BMC Public Health found that resistance exercise is associated with a better quality of life in older adults (Source: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-09812-w).
Combining Cardio and Resistance Exercise:
Cardio and resistance exercise can be combined for optimal results. Some experts recommend that individuals engage in cardio exercise at least three to four days per week and engage in resistance exercise two to three days per week. Each session should last at least 30 minutes, with a goal of achieving 150 minutes of cardio and at least two 30-minute resistance training sessions per week.
It’s important to note that your fitness level and health history will impact your workout routine. Beginners may start with lower levels and work their way up gradually. Individuals with health issues should consult with their doctors to identify the appropriate intensity and type of exercise.
It’s important to establish a workout routine that works for your body and lifestyle. Cardio and resistance exercise provide numerous health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved mental health. By following the recommendations of the AHA and CDC, and starting at a level that is appropriate for your fitness level and health status, you can achieve optimal results. Remember, consistency is key, and you can make exercise a fun and enjoyable part of your routine.