Centers for Disease Control Recommendations

3.22 Centers for Disease Control Recommendations

The CDC actually has more aggressive recommendations for physical activity for adults. They initially recommend one of three options:

  1. Two hours and thirty minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week AND muscle strength training 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups
  2. One hour and fifteen minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity exercise AND muscle strength training on 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups
  3. An equivalent mix of moderate intensity and vigorous intensity exercise AND muscle strength training on 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups

They state it is OK to break up these times into as short as 10 minutes of exercise during any one session if you have to.

The CDC then states that for even greater health benefits you should do one of these three options:

  1. Five hours (300 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week AND muscle strength training on 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups
  2. Two hours and thirty minutes (150 minutes) of vigorous intensity exercise AND muscle strength training on 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups
  3. An equivalent mix of moderate intensity and vigorous intensity exercise AND muscle strength training on 2 days per week that works all major muscle groups

This is quite a bit of exercise, but the cardiologists at HeartStrong.com completely agree with the CDC recommendations.

The CDC defines moderate intensity exercise in two different ways. First, moderate intensity exercise would be a 5-6 on a scale of 1-10, The ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) scale is recommended for this, especially if you are on medications that slow the heart rate down (beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers). The second definition of moderate intensity exercise is measured by heart rate. Getting your heart rate to 50-70% of the age predicted maximum heart rate (see Exercise: Basic Concepts and Exercise: Aerobic Exercise and Heart Health) is the CDC’s definition of moderate intensity. Examples of exercise that are usually moderate intensity include:

  1. Walking briskly
  2. Bicycling slowly
  3. Swimming slowly (continuously)
  4. Playing tennis, basketball or soccer leisurely

The CDC defines vigorous intensity exercise in two different ways as well. First, vigorous intensity exercise would be a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10 again using the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) scale, especially if you are on medications that slow the heart rate down. The second definition of vigorous intensity exercise is measured by heart rate. Getting your heart rate to 70-80% of the age predicted maximum heart rate (see Exercise: Basic Concepts) is the CDC’s definition of vigorous intensity. Examples of exercise that are usually vigorous intensity include:

  1. Jogging or running
  2. Bicycling at a fast pace (10 mph or faster)
  3. Swimming at a fast pace
  4. Aerobics

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