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
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.
|You do not currently engage
in regular physical activity,
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.
are now active, but at less than the recommended levels,
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.
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.
currently regularly engage in vigorous-intensity activities 20
minutes or more on 3 or more days of the week,
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?"
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