The physical activity guidelines generally recommend 150 minutes per week of moderately intense physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity for most individuals. The guideline primarily encourages aerobic activity, but also recognizes the benefits of muscle strengthening exercise, bone strengthening exercise, and balance activity for older adults at risk of falling.
Aerobic activity should be performed for at least 10 minutes per session and spread throughout the week to obtain the total of 150 minutes at moderate intensity level, or 75 minutes at a vigorous intensity level. Examples of moderate intensity level are walking at 3 mph, or bicycling slower than 10 mph. Examples of vigorous intensity level are jogging at least 6 mph, or bicycling faster than 10 mph. Intensity level can be gauged using a relative intensity scale, where 0 is the level of effort of sitting, and 10 is maximal effort. Relatively moderate-intensity activity is a level of effort of 5 or 6 on this scale, and relatively vigorous-intensity activity is a 7 or 8 on this scale.
Muscle strengthening activities for all the major muscle groups should be done at least 2 days a week. Strengthening exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition without help by the end of the designated set. When resistance training is used to enhance muscle strength, one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise is effective, although two or three sets may be more effective. Development of muscle strength and endurance is progressive over time. Increases in the amount of weight or the days a week of exercising will result in stronger muscles.
- Should perform 60 minutes of mostly vigorous activity daily.
- Should perform muscle strengthening and bone strengthening activities at least 3 days weekly. Examples of muscle and bone strengthening activities are jumping rope, climbing jungle gyms, hopscotch, basketball, and tennis.
- Should be encouraged to participate in a variety of physical activities that are age appropriate and they enjoy.
- Should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities.
- Should avoid inactivity.
- Should do exercises that improve balance if they are at risk of falling.
- When activity is performed according to their abilities, physical activity is safe.
- should consult their healthcare provider about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for their abilities.
- If not already highly active or doing vigorous-intensity activity should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
- Those who habitually engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or who are highly active can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their healthcare provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.