Karen Ensle EdD., RD, FADA, CFCS
Family and Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
Physical activity is important for everyone including mature adults. Pick an activity that’s easy to fit into your lifestyle and do it at least 10 minutes at one time.
- Aerobic activities will strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. Walking briskly, dancing, or biking make your heart beat faster and your lungs and blood vessels stronger.
- Strengthening exercises are also necessary to keep your arms, legs, and internal muscles strong to support your body. They are a fun way to be with your family or friends and help improve your health.
How many times a week should you be physically active? It’s up to you, but it is best to be active at least 3 days a week. Vary the types of activities you choose to do as they all work different muscle groups. Your muscles should feel worked but not sore. Then, you can trade activities at a moderate level for vigorous ones that take more effort, in the same week. Alternating activities is smart, and the healthy way to exercise.
Below are examples of moderate and vigorous activities. Do these for 10 minutes or more at a time.
Moderate Activities: (I can talk while I do them, but I can’t sing.)
- Ballroom and line dancing
- Biking on level ground or with few hills
- General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
- Sports where you catch and throw (baseball, softball, volleyball)
- Tennis (doubles)
- Walking briskly
- Water aerobics
Vigorous Activities: (I can only say a few words without stopping to catch my breath.)
- Aerobic dance
- Biking faster than 10 miles per hour
- Fast dancing
- Heavy gardening (digging, hoeing)
- Hiking uphill
- Jumping rope
- Martial arts (such as karate)
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Sports with a lot of running (basketball, hockey, soccer)
- Swimming fast or swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
Below are some guidelines for aerobic and strengthening activities:
|Type of Activity||Frequency||Recommendation|
If you choose activities at a moderate level, do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week.
Muscle Strengthening Activities
Do these at least 2 days a week.
By alternating between aerobic and strengthening activities you are taking “small steps” to improve your health. And remember, any physical activity is better than none!
For more information, visit www.health.gov/paguidelines/factSheetAdults.aspx and www.healthfinder.gov and type “activity” in the search box.