Do you wonder how much exercise is enough?  Below are some guidelines from the United States government and the World Health Organization.

United States Department of Health and Human Services:

Key Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

  • Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
    • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
    • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
    • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.

Key Guidelines for Adults

  • 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. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

*See the above link for more guidelines for older adults, people with disabilities, and Women during pregnancy and postpartum.

World Health Organization:

Minimum levels of physical activity required to promote and maintain health: (http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/index.html)

Young People (5-18 Years old)

  • 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity each day that is developmentally appropriate and involves a variety of activities.

More information about Physical Activity and Young People

Adults (18-65 years old)

  • 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 days per week;OR
  • 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity 3 days per week;OR
  • an equivalent combination of moderate- / vigorous-intensity physical activity;AND
  • 8-10 muscular strengthening exercises (8-12 repetitions) at least 2 days per week.

The World Health Organization defines “Health-enhancing physical activity” as “‘any form of physical activity that benefits health and functional capacity without undue harm or risk.’  This is best achieved by incorporating physical activity of at least a moderate intensity (such as brisk walking and other activities that make you breathe harder and feel warmer) into daily life.”

Their website also has a nifty chart for differentiating between “moderate-intensity” and “vigorous-intensity” physical activity here.

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