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How much exercise do you need?
The good news about regular physical activity is that everyone can benefit from it. Additionally, physical activity does not need to be hard or challenging. Participating in moderate-intensity physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages and wide range of abilities.1
Current physical activity recommendations for adults include both cardio or aerobic activities and resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities.
|Indoors||Outdoors||Indoors or Outdoors|
|• Dancing, general (Greek, Hula,
Flamenco, Middle Eastern and Swing)
• Riding a stationary bike
• Actively playing with children
• Taking Jazzercise
• Scrubbing the floor
|• Mowing lawn, general
• Frisbee playing, general
• Playing golf, walking the course
• Shoveling light snow
• Downhill skiing with light effort
• Raking leaves
|• Playing basketball, shooting
• Walking, brisk pace (mall/around a track/treadmill)
• Doing water aerobics
• Jogging/walking combination (In a 30-minute period, you should be jogging for less than 10 minutes.)
For more examples of activities that are considered "moderate-intensity" and "vigorous-intensity," check out General Physical Activities Defined By Level of Intensity (PDF-64k.)
You can reach your goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week in more than one way: you can do one type of activity for at least 30 minutes, or you can break down your minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity into smaller, 10- to 15-minute segments.3
3 – Complete three activities for 10 consecutive minutes at a moderately intense rate
2 – Complete two activities for 15 consecutive minutes at a moderately intense rate
1 – Complete one activity for 30 consecutive minutes at a moderately intense rate
Follow the 3-2-1 and stick with it!
Most people can get greater health benefits by increasing the intensity or the amount of time that they are physically active. Incorporating up to 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity may also help you manage your weight or help you prevent weight gain, whatever your goal may be.
|Racewalking, jogging or running|
|Mowing lawn, hand mower|
|Bicycling more than 10 mph, or on steep uphill terrain|
|Moving or pushing furniture|
|Circuit training – a combination of strength, endurance and aerobic exercises|
Experts advise that people with chronic diseases, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, should talk to their doctor about what types and amounts of physical activity are appropriate. For more, see When is a medical evaluation necessary?
|Are there special recommendations for young people?|
|Are there special recommendations for older adults?|
11996 Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, page 37
Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.
* Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.