Vidyya Medical News Service
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Volume 6 Issue 102 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 11-Apr-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 12-Apr-2004
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Information for patients: How active do adults need to be to gain some benefit?

"Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible." óGeorge H. Lorimer

Physical activity does not need to be hard to provide some benefit. Participating in moderate-intensity physical activity is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities. There is no demographic or social group in America that could not benefit from becoming more active. 

The table* below provides recommendations on how to increase your physical activity based on your current activity level. Check it out to see where you are and how you can challenge yourself.

If... Then...
You do not currently engage in regular physical activity, you should begin by incorporating a few minutes of physical activity into each day, gradually building up to 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activities.
You are now active, but at less than the recommended levels, you should strive to adopt more consistent activity:
  • moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes or more on 5 or more days of the week, or
  • vigorous-intensity physical activity for 20 minutes or more on 3 or more days of the week.
You currently engage in moderate-intensity activities for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week, you may achieve even greater health benefits by increasing the time spent or intensity of those activities.
You currently regularly engage in vigorous-intensity activities 20 minutes or more on 3 or more days of the week, you should continue to do so.

*Scientific evidence to date supports the statements above.

 
What is "moderate-intensity physical activity?" 

Moderate-intensity physical activity refers to any activity that burns 3.5 to 7 Calories per minute (kcal/min) (Ainsworth et al., 2000). These levels are equal to the effort a healthy individual might burn while walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation, or bicycling.

 
What is "vigorous-intensity physical activity?"

Vigorous-intensity physical activity refers to any activity that burns more than 7 Calories per minute (kcal/min) (Ainsworth et al., 2000). These levels are equal to the effort a healthy individual might burn while jogging, engaging in heavy yard work, participating in high-impact aerobic dancing, swimming continuous laps, or bicycling uphill.

  • On average, regularly participating in one or more moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity activities is required to burn a minimum of 150 Calories of energy per day, 7 days per week, or total of 1,000 Calories/week (Jones et al., 1998).
  • The time needed to burn 150 Calories of energy in a day depends on the intensity of the activities chosen. For example, if someone selects moderate-intensity activities, the time required to meet the minimum recommendation would be generally 30 minutes per day. The more vigorous the activities chosen, the less time needed (22 minutes or less) to burn the minimum of 150 Calories during the day.

Number of Minutes of Activity Required to Burn 150 kcalories


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