Another year is coming upon us and so is another year of New Year’s resolutions. What will it be this year? A popular resolution is to exercise. So this begs the question how much exercise? The answer can be found in MedlinePlus. Most adults should work out between 2 to 5 hours a week. At minimum, most adults need at least 150 minutes or about two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of high intensity physical activity per week. A rule of thumb moderate exercise means you can speak in sentences but probably cannot sing, whereas vigorous intensity you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath. In addition, to maintain muscle and bone strength, adults should engage in strengthening activities twice a week, such as pushups, sit-ups, lifting weights or exercise bands. The strengthening exercises should be repeated 8-12 times per session.
Kids need their exercise too. For preschool age children between the ages of 3 and 5, should be physically active throughout the day and should get a mix of structured play, such as a sport or a game, and unstructured play, such as at a playground. Children and teens, should strive for 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This activity can take many forms such as walking, running, biking, hiking, skiing, swimming, playing basketball, dancing.
If you are like me you may be asking where am I going to find the time for two and a half hours of exercise or laughing it off as what a luxury. But there is hope. Start slowly, and combine exercise with daily activities, such as walking to the store by parking farther away from the entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, maybe dance as you are mopping. My favorite is combining family time on weekends with hiking/ walking the dog.. The family is together, exercising but really it is a scavenger hunt to find whatever leaf, flower, or animal we can find. Sometimes we even combine our hikes with a citizen science project, some great ideas are available at: NatureGroupie.org or CitizenSceince.gov. The dog, kids and I try to identify tracks and other signs of birds or animals and then use a cell phone to take a picture an upload the data. We get some exercise both moderate and vigorous, and we come away with pictures, memories, and a healthier heart.