We all know that exercise is a necessity in life. There is no escaping that reality. The physical and mental complications that come from living a life without exercise is a long list indeed!
But how much exercise do we actually need?
In this blog, you will learn:
Why you are no different to a dog that needs to be walked!
How to get into the "green zone" of activity levels
Why intensity matters. Not all exercise is created equal.
How to work the cardiovascular system AND the muscular system for best results.
Treat yourself like you are someone who deserves to be healthy!
It is common knowledge that if you have a dog, you better be prepared to give it the exercise it needs.
I am sure you will agree that if someone has a dog that is sitting at home and isn't being walked then this is a form of animal cruelty.
Why is this cruel? The answer is obvious isn't it?
Because it is unhealthy for the dog.
The signs of an under exercised dog is obvious. There are clear physical and mental repercussions. It starts to behave badly. The sofa gets chewed. It becomes overweight, ages quickly and gets sore joints!
99% of dog owners want the best for their dogs. So they exercise them! They want their dogs to be healthy.
The interesting thing is that a lot of people are happy to ensure that their dog gets enough exercise but often neglect themselves.
If we use the assumption above that not exercising your dog enough is a form of animal cruelty, then we can also say that not exercising yourself enough is a form of self cruelty!
It goes without saying that to be labelled as a "cruel" person would be devastating to many people. But unfortunately, people are being "cruel" on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. by not looking after themselves.
Is it so hard to care enough about ourselves to give us the best chance of being healthy?
Get out of the Red and into the Green!
If you are being serious about using exercise as medicine, then we need to start talking business.
If you are getting less than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity) in a week, then you are not getting enough. It's as simple as that!
Is this an arbitrary number that I have plucked out of nowhere? Absolutely not.
It is a non negotiable MINIMUM amount of exercise that you must reach or exceed in order to get the therapeutic benefits.
So you might be now thinking, "am I getting enough?". Perhaps. But not all exercise is created equal.
So the recommendations mention "moderate" and "vigorous" activity. What does this even mean?
The problem with working out if you are exercising enough is the fact that what some people define as exercise may not actually be intense enough.
How do we know when we are performing "moderate" physical activity?
You need to be fulfilling all of the following criteria:
Heart rate raised
Can still talk but can't sing.
How do we know when we are performing "vigorous" physical activity?
You need to be fulfilling the following criteria:
You are breathing hard hard and fast
You cannot say a few words without pausing for breath
So you have 3 options:
You take a more relaxed approach for 150 minutes per week
You take a more intense approach for 75 minutes per week.
You do a combination of the above to reach the equivalent.
Take your pick! The world is your oyster. You can get this amount of exercise by any means you choose as long as it fulfils the minimum recommended amount and intensity.
Aerobic AND resistance
Any good exercise programme is fulfilling all the criteria we have already set out PLUS some resistance on our musculoskeletal system.
In order to keep a healthy body, we need to stress our cardiovascular system AND our musculoskeletal system.
This is why it is recommended to have a minimum of 2 resistance exercise sessions on top of the 150 minutes (or 75 mins of vigorous) per week.
To keep it very simple, it simply means that twice per week you need to push or pull against resistance in your upper and lower body to a point that it feels challenging.
That's it. Simple!
Again, the world is your oyster how you want to do that as long as you have that as a minimum.
Treat yourself like a dog that needs to be walked. You deserve to be exercised. You deserve to be healthy.
As a human being, you need AT LEAST 150 mins of moderate physical activity or 75 mins of vigorous.
Throw in 2 resistance sessions per week to keep your strength.
I hope this has been clear and helps you understand the very minimum of exercise you need to stay healthy. The more the better!