Hello friends! Are you ready to get all nerdy about nutrition, fitness and health?? It’s the first Friday of the month and that means it’s time for the monthly Did You Know Link-Up hosted on three different blogs! (find out more info about the Did You Know Link-Up here)
Today I’ve decided I wanted to research and share a little about physical activity. More specifically about how much we really need each week. The answer might surprise you!
Physical Activity Misconceptions
I work at a gym and something that gets me a tad annoyed is the belief that it’s necessary to workout for..
a. long periods of time,
b. on a daily basis, and
c. at a vigorous pace.
This type of mindset can lead to disordered exercise, overuse of muscles and even injury.
Another common side effect of this is the “all or nothing” thought process. If a person decides to “start working out again” and he or she goes 31 days then misses a couple, he or she might think all has been lost and will give up.
Sometimes I want to shake people and say “chill out! You have 10 percent body fat..you can take a rest day! And eat some flippin’ carbs while you’re at it!”
But it’s not nice to shake people and yell at them. So I smile, whip up their protein shake and make a mental note to do some research on the subject.
I mean, it’s not this person’s fault that they think this way. You see in America, we have this general understanding that as a whole, we aren’t getting enough physical activity. And this is probably true as a whole country.
But does this mean that you and I need to get all crazy and workout for two hours a day to be “healthy” and/or absolutely kill ourselves every time we go to the gym?
So how much physical activity do we really need?
Need as in how much will help to prevent us from chronic illnesses and to promote good cardiovascular health. Not how much we need to get six-pack abs (hint: that has to do with your diet more than exercise).
I looked up information on the Center for Disease Control, American Heart Association, and Choose My Plate for good measure. They all showed (thankfully) the same information that I’m going to share with you lovely people!
How much physical activity do you really need each week?
Would you believe that you only have to participate in a moderate amount of physical activity for 30 minutes 5 days per week?
What is moderate physical activity?
Moderate physical activity is as mild as brisk walking. So this doesn’t include massive amounts of burpees, spin classes, bootcamps or running.
If you’re talking vigorous physical activity such as the burpees, spin classes, bootcamps, running, riding a bike, attending a step aerobics class or jumping rope, the number goes down to only 25 minutes 3 days per week. That’s it.
Is your mind blown? If you surround yourself with gym junkies or constantly read fitness magazines and/or blogs, this is probably the case.
Something else that’s really awesome, especially for those of us pressed for time: you only have to do 10 minutes at a time to achieve the benefits. So if you want, you can take 2-3 10 minute breaks each day to go for a brisk walk and call it good.
Strength Training Needs
I know some of you are twitching at this notion and shaking your heads that there is no way this could be true..and okay, I will say that you should also add on strength training that hits all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders and arms) twice per week.
But seriously, that’s all you need.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
So stop beating yourself up for “only” working out 3 times this week. Or for not sweating enough. Or for not being sore the next day (did I mention that I work at a gym? I hear this crap all the time.). Or even if you haven’t done what you personally have qualified to be a “workout” in a couple of weeks.
Cut yourself some slack, get up and go for a 10 minute walk, then figure out a few days you can get your 30 minutes of cardio and strength training in each week.
Of course if you are successfully doing more than the recommended amounts (and not injuring yourself in the process)..good for you! You will definitely see more of the benefits of exercise that those meeting the minimum requirements.
I just think that if we get into the mentality that it has to be an all out every day crazy intense workout effort or nothing, then most of us will give up. And I don’t want you to give up on something that is so achievable!
I hope this post taught you something! Now it’s your turn! If you’re a blogger, link-up a post or two to teach us something! It’s your turn to get nerdy about nutrition, fitness and/or health!
Grab a button for easy link-back!
What’s your favorite way to stay active?
Do you beat yourself up for not working out enough?
PS I’m all about Pinterest this year, so I would LOVE IT if you could pin one (or two!) of these images! Pin with me!
Linking up to:
(All of the lovely link-ups I participate in here.)