Think a single type of exercise will take care of all your needs? These tips can help you build a comprehensive fitness plan that works for you.
How to make the most of your time
Even when you understand just how much regular exercise can improve your mental and physical health—and you’ve managed to carve out time in your busy day to work out—that still leaves the question: How do I make the best use of the time I have available?
You can always sign up for personal training sessions at a gym or find any number of workouts online or on a fitness app, but developing an exercise plan doesn’t have to be that complicated or expensive.
Whatever your current fitness level, the key is to mix different types of physical activity, including cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance exercises. This will keep your workouts interesting and maximize the health benefits—from trimming your waistline and improving your sleep, mood, and energy to easing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How much exercise do I need?
The important thing to remember about exercise is that something is always better than nothing. By simply sitting less and moving more throughout your day, you can experience health benefits. For substantial health benefits, though, government guidelines in the U.S., UK, and other countries recommend that you aim for:
At least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity activity per week. That’s 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, broken down into 10-minute bursts if that’s easier.
Or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week will deliver the same benefits, if your fitness level allows you to work out harder. That means running for 15 minutes, for example, instead of walking briskly for 30 minutes.
Include muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week.
Or you can combine both moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise, remembering the general rule of thumb that 2 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is the equivalent of 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity.