The amount of exercise you should undertake in a week depends entirely on your health and fitness goals, medical conditions, and lifestyle. A really good baseline to aim towards is the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, which recommend accumulating 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous or high intensity physical activity per week. You should also perform muscle strengthening activities on 2 days per week and aim to minimise prolonged sitting.
But what does that look like in real life? You could go for a 30-minute brisk walk 5 days per week which would add up to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or find any activity you enjoy that elevates your heart rate and gets you huffing and puffing for a similar amount of time. Some favourites of the Acacia Well-Being team include boxing, roller skating, and bouldering, which all help to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength. Muscle strengthening activities include Pilates, some styles of yoga, weight training, and calisthenics, and may incorporate external resistance (such as weights or stretchy bands) or use your own bodyweight. Aim to do these activities at least 2 times per week with 24 to 48 hours between each session so your muscles can recover and adapt.
If this seems like a lot of exercise to you, it’s important to remember any exercise is better than none. If you aren’t exercising at all, start slowly and gradually increase the frequency, intensity and duration of your exercise sessions, aiming to eventually meet the guidelines.
On the other hand, you may already be exercising a lot more than this, and that is great! Exercise tends to have a dose-response relationship to physical health, meaning that the more you exercise, the better your health outcomes – to an extent. Your body needs to recover from exercise to adapt and meet the demands of your next session. Exercising excessively or increasing the amount of exercise you perform too rapidly can lead to injuries and other negative health outcomes.
Not sure how to start exercising, or how to ensure you progress your exercise without overdoing it? An exercise physiologist can answer these questions and more. For more information, or to book an exercise physiology appointment at Acacia Well-Being, contact us.