Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
Gradually increase time, frequency and intensity of exercise to avoid injury.
If you are unable to meet these minimums, start slow and work up to them. You can still benefit from some activity.
Pedometers, step-counting devices used to measure physical activity, are not an accurate measure of exercise quality and should not be used as the sole measure of physical activity.
Sedentary behavior – sitting for long periods of time – is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself. Meeting the guidelines for physical activity does not make up for a sedentary lifestyle. Stay active and take activity breaks if you sit for prolonged periods.
Adults should train each major muscle group two to three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
Very light or light intensity is best for elderly persons or previously sedentary adults starting to exercise.
For each exercise, complete 10-12 repetitions to improve strength or to focus more on endurance, complete 15-20 repetitions.
Complete two to four sets of each exercise to improve strength and power.
Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions for a particular muscle group.
Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.
Neuromotor exercise (sometimes called “functional fitness training”) is recommended for two or three days per week.
Exercises that improve balance, agility, coordination and gait as well as Tai Chi and yoga improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.