How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

In today’s world there is one thing that nearly everyone on earth is short of: time. Time flies, and not only when you’re having fun. It is widely accepted that exercise is important for both physical and mental health, yet it’s often the thing that goes first when you’re stressed or overwhelmed by work. The good news is that you actually don’t need quite as much exercise as you think to make a difference to your health.

Myths And Facts

Some people believe that it’s not worth working out unless you’re doing it for an hour at a time or that it only counts if you’re left in a puddle of sweat at the end of a session. Luckily, this is not the case. While some high-intensity training is excellent, research has shown that more gentle physical activity is beneficial if carried out a few times a week. You do not have to have the fitness levels of an elite athlete to protect yourself from heart disease and other ailments – and even if you are an exercise fiend, fitness is only one part of offsetting the risk of illness.

How Much Is Enough?

Studies have shown that the optimum exercise output is enough to burn around 8400 kJ a week. To measure that in a more intelligible way, that would be around four hours of gentle cycling, based on a 35-year-old male of 1.8 m tall and weighing 80 kg. When cycling more vigorously, the time is cut to around two-and-a-half hours.

Mowing the lawn it would take this theoretical man over five hours to burn 8400 kJ, but it’s unlikely that your grass would need such demanding upkeep. On the other hand, cutting the grass once a week for an hour burns around 1500 kJ – knocking off a significant chunk off the 8400 kJ goal.

No Universal Consensus

That said, there isn’t really one opinion on how much physical activity we should be getting to achieve “perfect” health. Some experts say that you need about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week – two-and-a-half hours of brisk walking, or any indoor or outdoor activity that gets your heartrate up but doesn’t leave you exhausted. The 150 minutes gets halved if you’re performing more intense exercise such as running or boxing.

Working Out Once A Week

Although the general agreement is that regular exercise is the most beneficial, some research suggests that just one HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session a week is almost as good as more regular workouts. What’s more, that workout only needs to be 23 minutes – an ideal method for those with hardly any spare time and who prefer to have fun at rather than sweating it out. The caveat: HIIT really means high intensity; pushing yourself to your absolute limit, which isn’t wise for those who are usually sedentary.

The Takeaway

The somewhat dissatisfying conclusion is that there is no magic number when it comes to exercise. What is clear, however, is that working out for any length of time is highly beneficial, whether it be walking or intense HIIT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.