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A Healthy Exercise Program – Are you getting enough exercise each week?

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Adriane Ward – Exercise Physiologist from MD Health

When looking at leading a healthy lifestyle, we need to look not only at the food we are eating but also the type of exercise we are doing. In terms of exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults should participate in the following

  •  Two to three strength training sessions;
  • At least three vigorous aerobic activities; and
  • At least five sessions of moderate aerobic activity each week.

What does this mean?

According to The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, 2009:

  • Two to three 20-60 minute strength training sessions include exercises such as resistance, balance or agility; the types of exercises you may find in a Pilates program. Pilates will often use machines such as reformers that have springs which provide the resistance. Many of the exercises may be performed whilst standing next to or on the reformer which requires proprioception which assists your balance. The exercises are closed chained kinematic which assist with motor learning and provide the body with feedback for faster learning.
  • Vigorous aerobic exercise is obtained by getting your heart rate above 60% of your maximum heart rate (using 220-age as a calculator for your maximum heart rate) for 20-60 minutes and you should notice a substantial increase heart rate and breathing. This could include walking, running cycling or even swimming, as long as you push yourself hard enough to increase your heart rate to above 60% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Moderate aerobic exercise is the defined as exercising with a heart rate between 40 and 60% of your maximum heart rate for between 20-60 minutes. This intensity of exercise should be done at least five times per week. This could include a combination of brisk walks, jogging, cycling or swimming on most days of the week. During moderate aerobic exercise your heart rate doesn’t need to get as high as it does during vigorous aerobic exercise but you should still notice an increase in your heart rate and breathing.

This is the recommended weekly exercise participation for healthy adults. There are different guidelines for children, older adults and special populations including illness and pregnancy. If you are unsure of what sort and how much exercise is appropriate for you, you should consult a professional. You should also consult a professional if you have not previously been participating in regular exercise before you commence a new program.

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