How Much Should I Exercise for Better Health?

How Much Should I Exercise for Better Health?

You’ve been told you need to exercise more to improve your health, but you have no idea where to start. In this month’s blog post, Dr. Scott Lafferty and the rest of the team here at Lafferty Family Care have pulled together a few tips to help you get started.

Exercising for your heart (and overall) health

Both the CDC and the American Heart Association have clear recommendations when it comes to exercising and these recommendations come in different variations, which include:

When we say aerobic activity, we’re looking for exercises that get your heart rate up, so determining a good target heart rate (beats per minute) is important. 

To do this, you first need to figure out your peak heart rate, which you can do by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 40, your peak heart rate would be 180 beats per minute. From there, moderate aerobic activity would be 64% of that number (about 115) and vigorous intensity would be 76% of your peak heart rate (or 137).

Determining your heart rate is as easy as placing two fingers on the palm side of your wrist to take your pulse. There are also wearable fitness devices that can help you measure your heart rate, and we suggest investing in one if you want to better track your health. For a good list, click here.

Counting steps

If measuring your heart rate seems too complicated, you can also aim toward achieving good motion each day, which means counting your steps. Most smartphones have the capability to count your steps and you want to aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

To ensure that these steps count, consider adding stairs or inclines into your steps to really get your heart rate up.

While we’ve thrown a lot of numbers out, it helps if you break them down. For example, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can be broken down into five, 30-minute sessions per week. As well, most Americans take about 3,000-4,000 steps on an average day, so when you’re aiming for 7,000, you’re only doubling your existing step count.

Lastly, we urge you to take it slow and build up to your goals. You don’t have to reach these recommended levels overnight.

To help you get started, you can contact our office in Bentonville, Arkansas, so we can help you tailor the best exercise regimen for your health.

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