These guidelines describe the amount of activity required to achieve substantial health benefits. However, research has shown that if you go above and beyond these guidelines, it will provide you with additional health gains. For those of us who are currently inactive, doing some physical activity, even if it is less than these guidelines, will provide some health benefits.
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week).
Remember: If you are currently inactive, doing some physical activity is better than none. Short bouts count; you can reach your 30 minutes by doing short bouts of 10 minutes at a time.
Spread your activities throughout the week.
Key fact: For more health benefits, increase your activity to 60 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week.
Moderate Activity -- Increased breathing and heart rate, but still able to carry on a conversation. Warm or sweating slightly, comfortable pace.
Muscle strengthening should be done 2 or 3 days week.
- All major muscle groups should be worked. These are the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
- Exercises for each muscle group should be repeated 8 to 12 times per set.
Digging, lifting and carrying while gardening, carrying food bags, circuit training, step aerobics are good examples of muscle strengthening activities. Exercises using exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights, yoga, tai chi, pilates are also good for strengthening your muscle groups.
Balance activities can help you keep your balance, if you are an older adult, balance exercises can help prevent you from falls. Activities such as Tai chi and yoga exercises, backward /sideways walking, walking on heels and toes, standing from a sitting position and standing on one foot are all good balancing exercises to include in your daily routine and can help improve your stability.
If you have a diagnosed chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoarthritis or if you have symptoms such as chest pain or pressure, dizziness or joint pain, do talk to your doctor before you increase your activity levels.
Here’s a question! How long do you sit?
Irish people spend on average 5.3 hours sitting each workday.
Use our sitting calculator to estimate how long you sit for each day.
A number of studies have found that people who sit for long periods of time have an increased risk of certain diseases, including diabetes and are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
But it doesn’t have to be all bad news. There is a simple solution ....
Sit less and get up, get out and get active.
Guidelines for adults with disabilities
Be as active as your ability allows. Aim to meet adult guidelines of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on 5 days a week.
- Some is better than none.
- Short bouts count, you can reach your 30 minutes 10 times at a time.
- Choose activities appropriate to your ability. Talk to your doctor about what sort of activity you are able to do.
- Spread your activities throughout the week.
- Add activities which increase muscular strength and endurance on 2 – 3 days per week.
- For more health benefits, increase your activity to 60 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week.
Examples of aerobic activity
|Moderate aerobic activity||Vigorous aerobic activity|
- Brisk walking; a mile in 15 – 20 minutes
- Digging in the garden
- Medium paced swimming
- Water aerobics
- Cycling slower than 10 miles per hour
- Tennis (doubles)
- Ballroom dancing
- General gardening
- Jogging or running a mile in 10 minutes or faster
- Active sports such as football or soccer, squash, aerobics
- Circuit training
- Fast cycling (10 miles per hour or faster) or brisk rowing
- Swimming lengths
- Tennis (singles)
- Dancing such as quick step, hip hop, street, salsa, Irish dancing
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing, heart rate increases)
- Hill-walking with a backpack
Examples of muscle strengthening and balance activities
|Muscle strengthening activities||Balance activities|
- Digging, lifting and carrying while gardening
- Carrying groceries
- Circuit training, step aerobics
- Exercises using exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
- Tai chi and yoga exercises
- Backward and sideways walking, and walking on heels and toes
- Standing from a sitting position
- Standing on one foot