You have heard it so many times that the message now sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, move more and eat less. Easy to say, a lot more difficult to do. Over one-third of American adults are classified as obese by the CDC, that does NOT include those people who are overweight. Let’s be honest, fat parents usually raise fat kids. How does the future look? Not real promising for the American population.
The internet and social media are full of trendy gimmicks, pills, and workouts to lift your ass cheeks. Do they work is another story for another day, but they do make money. In 2018 the CDC wrote their second edition of physical activity guidelines, this time including the cognitive benefits of exercise. For this blog, I’m talking about the weekly minutes of physical activity you need to have for basic health. My guess is most of you who read this blog are not getting these minimum requirements:
- 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week, or in conjunction with
- 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, and
- 2 days per week of moderate or greater intensity muscle and bone strengthening activities
At the most basic level spread out in a “payment plan”, that is about 21 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, seven days per week. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, you can combine muscle and bone strengthening activities into an aerobic session thus killing two birds with one stone. To stay in line with the CDC’s obesity stats, one in three who read this are obese, and at least half are overweight. With those facts in mind, you are very likely not meeting these minimum standards for basic health.
I’ll explain more about the intensity levels to help you understand if you are achieving them or not. Moderate means your breathing is labored, and you can have a conversation with another person. Vigorous means your breathing is harder and you cannot maintain a conversation. Taking a stroll around the block while easily chatting with your friend or on the phone is not at the moderate level. Many adults and older adults give themselves a break by saying they are active because they walk daily. The truth hurts, and they are not at the moderate level the CDC states is needed to reduce health risk factors and improve cognitive function.
The best news is you can achieve the 150 weekly minutes in any way you want! There are many options you can enjoy elevating your heart rate using all your body parts, and they are all correct answers. Combining resistance training with aerobic training is the best bang for your buck. Can you workout to hard? You do not want to injure yourself of course, the answer is still no. The more intense and longer duration of your physical activity the better for every aspect of your physical and mental health.
So, you’re still holding on to the excuse of the gym not open, or not open at full capacity. These requirements are still in effect 365 days of EVERY year, including 2020. Even more so with a pandemic because stronger immune systems are directly associated with higher levels of fitness. If reading the stats of mortality rates and health risk factors relating to COVID-19 has not changed your mind on being physically active, then death at an early age is what you are rightfully earning.
Use these straightforward guidelines for what they are, guidelines to help you make good decisions on how much exercise you need each week. Color in the template using whatever crayons you want. The artwork looks good on the refrigerator door regardless of the color combinations. Pledge to yourself on achieving the minimum 21 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Oh, and you can break that time up into smaller bouts of even five minutes, four or so a day. BOOM! I just blew your mind and pulled the excuse rug out from underneath you.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can help you set up a program. Go to my website, mattpeale.com, and download my video series and free report to help you use exercise to overcome chronic pain. Buy my book while on my website as well to improve your knowledge. Just because you are over 40 does not mean you are exempt from being healthy, active, and happy!