In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) published “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” which offers a great deal of information about the amount of exercise people should get to maintain their fitness and health. Because of the wide range of credible resources used in developing the publication, and the volume of research behind it, the “Physical Activity Guidelines” is currently considered the definitive work on the subject. If you’d like to explore it, it’s available online at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website:http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/.
In general, their main recommendations for how much exercise an adult should get is the following:
- All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
- For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
You can view their complete list of recommendations for adults, children and seniors here: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx.
The bellicon Home program integrates very well with the HSS guidelines because it clearly defines both the time and the intensity level of the exercise accomplished, making it easy to track the progress of weekly goals. It’s also a very convenient form of exercise, which not only makes it easier to maintain a regular workout schedule but also makes it easier to include short, 10 minute workouts (as mentioned in the HSS guidelines) throughout the day that can contribute a lot to achieving weekly goals.
Of course, the amount of exercise that’s right for you will depend on factors like your current fitness level and any additional health issues you may have, but, in general, the HSS “Guidelines” provide an excellent framework for setting fitness goals.