How much exercise should we take each week?
In order to stay healthy, improve overall wellbeing and do what we can to reduce the chances of suffering from a critical illness; it is advised that we take part in two types of exercise each week.
- Aerobic or cardio exercise – requires the heart rate to work harder, thereby increasing the volume of oxygenated blood being pumped around the body. This can be equally effective at differing levels of physical intensity and through different types of physical exercise and activities.
- Strength exercise – to help build muscle mass and core strength. Exercises include weight training, cross-fit training and specific repetitive exercises for the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
The amount we should exercise is dependent on age, our general level of fitness taking into account any injuries or weaknesses we may have.
Beginning at infancy; exercise is part of our basic development and should be encouraged. Babies build their strength by moving their arms and legs and stretching and reaching for things – for example when on their play mats. When physically able and in a safe area crawling can also become part of play time.
Toddlers and under 5 year olds that are able to walk should be physically active for up to 180 minutes per day. Movement for children is part of growth and development and therefore long periods of sitting still are discouraged. Games such as hide and seek, riding a bike, swimming, dancing and playing in a playground can be a fun way of keeping children active and outdoors.
School aged children i.e 5 – 18 year olds should be engaging in at least 60 minutes per day of aerobic exercise and on 3 days per week that should also include strength exercise for example jumping, running and push-ups.
Adults aged 19 -64 years old need over 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week with 2 or more days that include strength exercises.
People over the age of 65+, health permitting should take 75 mins aerobic activity per week with 2 days per week of strength exercise.
Health benefits from exercising regularly are significant, daily movement helps to build and maintain strong bones, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise can be in any form from going to the gym, to attending an aerobics class, to walking the dog, swimming and playing sport as part of a team. Exercise does not need to be fearer,but embraced as part of a daily routine and as an opportunity to meet new people and build friendships.
Many health and wellbeing insurance companies offer a full benefits package for both groups and individuals which can lead to discount of gym membership or family days out.
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