The science and medicine have made it easier than ever to answer questions about exercise and health. While it is clear that exercise intensity and frequency are directly linked to long-term health benefits, many people struggle with the question of how much exercise they should do.

It’s good to do 30 minutes of exercise per day

The British Heart Foundation and the UK government recommend that adults aged 19-64 do 30 minutes of exercise every day. There are many forms of exercise that can be done and the UK’s National Health Service splits that into three sections. One week, 150 minutes to two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity plus muscle strengthening exercises on 2 days; 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise plus muscle strength on 2 days; or, a 90-minute mixture of moderate and vigorous intensity with muscle strengthening activities.

Moderate to vigorous aerobic activity

Moderate intensity exercise is defined by the government as anything that increases heart rate, raises body temperature and causes you to breathe harder. Activities like fast walking, swimming and ice skating are all examples. Activities that require high intensity include running, swimming, running up hills, or cycling fast, tennis, and boxing/martial art. These activities should be done vigorously to make it harder for you to breathe, increase your heart rate , and make it difficult to talk.

Muscle strengthening exercises should focus on major muscle groups such as the back, stomach, back, arms and legs. All of this can be done using weight training, sit-ups, press-ups, circuit training, yoga, and other forms of weight training. The health benefits of following the advice are immense. You are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and osteoporosis if you are more active. However, diet and calories play a huge part in ensuring your health. The American Council on Exercise and The Institute of Medicine recommend that you do at least one hour of moderately intense physical activity per day. It’s important to remember that moderate intensity physical activity in the USA includes calorie-burning activities like housework, ironing, gentle walking, and swimming. These activities would be considered part of your hour per day.

Benefits of HIIT

Your lifestyle and how it affects your exercise time are important factors in deciding what type of exercise you should do. This will influence the type of exercise you choose and how intense it is. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), is growing in popularity due to its convenience and health benefits. You can choose to do intervals that last between 20 seconds and 7-8 minutes. There are recovery periods between each interval. You should aim to work at your maximum heart rate for each interval. This means that your heart rate should be between 80 and 95 per cent. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), HIIT has many health benefits. It increases cardiovascular fitness, improves cholesterol, enhances insulin sensitivity, and reduces abdominal fat.

Studies also show that HIIT can be used in the form of sprints, cycles, weight training and circuit training. This is due to a higher sustained calorie burn. This makes it more attractive than other forms of exercise. Add to that the convenience factor that you get the health benefits with HIIT in half the time, and you will see why HIIT has become a popular fitness trend for people who are time-pressed. Gary O’Donovan is an exercise physiologist who believes vigorous exercise is the best way to get fit and lose weight. He says that “Health, fitness, and performance can all be maximized by working harder” — although that doesn’t mean you won’t reap the benefits of lighter exercise. However, you will see more results if your workouts are longer.

Ironically, to really benefit from HIIT, you must be fit enough to maintain that work rate. This can only be achieved by regular, longer, moderately intense aerobic workouts. It is important to be active for as long as you can. This will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, increase your life expectancy, and keep you in good health. Every exercise is welcome, as long as you do it for as many hours as you can. You are the only one who can determine what is feasible for you. However, the more you adhere to the recommended exercise frequency and intensity, the better your chances of being healthy. The recommendations of government officials for exercising will differ from one country to the next. Visit the health section on the website of your government to learn more about the recommendations specific to your area.