How much exercise is good for you?
One of the most common excuses for exercise we hear is “I don’t have the time!” We use that excuse ourselves too occasionally and some days it’s hard to get off the comfy couch and get moving.
Unfortunately, as we get older the risk of osteoarthritis and disability slowly increases and it may get more painful to move around. This can lead to a downward spiral of inactivity promoting the advancement of disability. Soon you might need to use a walking stick or a frame leading you to being even less active. Thankfully, exercise has preventative and restorative properties, such as; improving bone density, reducing blood pressure, improving BMI, lowering cholesterol, and a heap of other “good stuff”. How much exercise do you need to do in a week though?
The Australian minimal recommended dosage is to be active on most, preferably all, days of the week. Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities each week. This can be daunting to someone experiencing pain or leading a sedentary life.
Recent research into absolute minimum levels to notice positive changes was found to be 55 minutes of moderate intensity exercise over the course of the week best predicted ongoing disability-free status! ˦ Now of course, doing more (attaining the guidelines) has better outcomes but this research gives us a starting point. We all start need to somewhere! All it takes is an hour a week to the beginning of a more active lifestyle. So put on those shoes and go for a short walk, we’re confident we all can find one hour in our week to get moving!
- Dunlop DD, Song J, Hootman JM, et al. One hour a week: moving to prevent disability in adults with lower extremity joint symptoms. Am J Prev Med. 2019;56(5):664-672.