Health guidelines give a prescription for the kind and amount of exercise needed for the best health benefits. Moderate intensity exercise is recommended for either 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week or a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. What is moderate intensity exercise, though?
What Does Moderate Intensity Feel Like? A moderate level of activity noticeably increases your heart rate and breathing rate. You may sweat, but you are still able to carry on a conversation. You can talk, but you can't sing.
Measuring Moderate Intensity: The CDC defines this as 50% to 70% of maximum heart rate. This varies by age and can be found by using our Heart Rate Zone Calculator
How Long: At least 10 minutes of continuous physical activity.
- Kinds of Moderate Intensity Exercise:
Moderate Intensity Exercise for the Mobility Challenged: Using a manual wheelchair, hand cycle (ergometer)
What Doesn't Count: An easy walk of under 10 minutes doesn't count as aerobic activity. You can build moderate activity in to your lifestyle by walking briskly for at least 10 minutes to the bus, etc. Just adding steps on your pedometer, though, doesn't count.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults
- How to Start Walking
- Weekly Walking Workout Schedule: Vary your walking intensity
Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A. "Physical Activity and Public Health. Updated Recommendation for Adults From the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association." Circulation. 2007 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print]
"Be Active Your Way: A Fact Sheet for Adults" U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed 10/12/2008.