Are You Exercising Hard Enough?
What do heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression have in common? Regular, exercise can help reduce your risk of developing these—and many other—health problems.
You don’t have to sprint like a racer in order to reap a lifetime of health benefits from aerobic exercise. Even a leisurely walk is better than sitting on the couch watching TV. However, you won’t gain significant health benefits unless you pick up the pace to at least a moderate intensity.
Do You Need to Go for the Burn?
What counts as a moderately intense activity? It’s one that raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat. When you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you should be breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate should go up significantly. A brisk walk turns intense if you break into a jog.
You can gain a lot of health benefits by sticking to a moderate pace, including:
A reduced risk for heart disease
Lower blood pressure levels
Healthier cholesterol levels
By boosting your activity level from moderate to vigorous, you’ll reap these benefits in half the time. Experts recommend getting 25 minutes or more of vigorous exercise at least three times a week. In contrast, moderate exercisers need to work out for at least 30 minutes on five or more days a week.
Does It Feel Intense? It Probably Is
The more vigorously you exercise, the faster you breathe and the more you sweat.
You also can use the talk test. If you can talk comfortably, you’re working out at a moderate intensity. But when doing vigorous exercise, you’re too out-of-breath to talk.