Perfect amount of exercise: How much is too much?

Caitlin Husted, Staff Writer

When people begin working out, it’s easy to overestimate what their body can handle. They believe that if they work out at a high intensity rate for 30 to 60 minutes every day of the week that they will “lose weight fast;” a common misconception that needs to be proven wrong.

According to the CDC, an adult between the ages of 18 and 65 only needs 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. These are leisurely activities such as brisk walking, raking leaves, shoveling snow, yoga, washing your car or a round of golf.

When broken down, this is only 30 minutes, five days a week. If this sounds too daunting, you can split it up into three 10 minutes sessions rather than one 30 minute session.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is when you are working your body in a way that not only raises your heart rate, but also makes you break a sweat. A way to test if you are exercising in a way that’s classified as a moderate-intensity aerobic activity is to do the singing test. You should be able to talk while exercising, but not be able to sing the words to your favorite song.

Along with this, two or more days a week are needed to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups—legs, arms, shoulders, abdomen, hips, back, and chest. You can perform these exercises after or before your 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity; this way, you can have two days off a week in order for your body to recover.

Another option to gain the recommended amount of exercise per week is to fit in 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, which includes biking, jogging or mountain climbing, This is only 15 minutes a day, five days a week.

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities should make you breathe hard and fast while raising your heart rate quite a bit. At this level, you shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Although this type of activity may seem more difficult, in comes in handy when you only have a short time to fit in a workout; you get the same benefits as moderate-intensity aerobic activities, but in half the time.

For this plan, the recommended amount of muscle-strengthening activities is the same as before, two or more days a week.

If people begin exercising with knowing the proper amount of exercise needed, they are more likely to stick to their program and see results, which is what everyone really wants.