How Much Exercise Should I be Doing?
19 August 2016
There are opportunities to engage in lots of different types of exercise at our fitness boot camps.
However, if you currently live a fairly sedentary lifestyle that you would like to introduce more exercise to, you might wonder: how much time should you really spend exercising? Believe it or not, that’s not an entirely straightforward question to answer.
What does the NHS recommend?
Let’s start with an obviously reliable source of information about staying healthy: the NHS. This organisation says that, to maintain or improve health, adults aged from 19 to 64 must, each week, engage in two types of physical activity: aerobic and strength exercises.
To stay healthy, adults in this broad age bracket should daily be active and complete 150 minutes of physical activity per week. There is a good choice of ways in which you could get this recommended number of minutes into your schedule; the NHS details several on its website. The organisation suggests, for example, a mix of vigorous and moderate aerobic activity; one minute of the former can be as healthy as two minutes of the latter.
What's the difference between moderate and vigorous here?
Moderate aerobic activity is so-called as it demands moderate effort for the majority of people. Activities that meet this definition include fast walking, water aerobics, doubles tennis, hiking, pushing a lawn mower, rollerblading, skateboarding, basketball and volleyball. During moderate exercise, you will remain capable of talking, but not of singing the words to a song. You will also feel warmer and breathe faster.
Vigorous activity, meanwhile, requires – yes – vigorous effort for the majority of people. Activities that reach a vigorous level include jogging, running, fast swimming, singles tennis, rugby, football, hockey, gymnastics and martial arts. You can tell that you’re exercising at this level if you can’t utter more than a few words before pausing for breath.
Some alternative views outside the NHS
As we mentioned at the start of this article, there’s a good variety of exercises that you can enjoy on one of our weight loss retreats. These include – but are certainly not limited to – boxing, hiking, rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking and surfing.
Nonetheless, some health experts have challenged the NHS’s guideline of 150 minutes of exercise per week – not least because, according to recent studies, even just a weekly 20 minutes of vigorous exercise is sufficient for greatly lowering the risk of premature death. Last year, Philipe de Souto Barreto of the University of Toulouse’s Institute of Ageing said that reaching target physical activity recommendations “should remain a goal but not the core public health message surrounding physical activity”.
We’re going to leave the last word here to the NHS. Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing, responded to these contrary opinions by insisting that “bouts of 10 or more minutes of physical activity have proven health benefits, but getting 150 minutes or more of moderate activity every week is the amount we need to positively impact on a wide range of health conditions”.