It is common knowledge that exercise is good for you, but how much is enough? This is a question that I am asked on a daily basis and I will tell most people the same answer. More. Always more. Your body will adjust to the stimulus that you apply, so for best results, mix up your chosen form of exercise and the intensity and you will keep your system happy.
Of course, there are preferred dosages of exercise for particular conditions, such as resistance training for diabetes management and progressive impact exercise for osteoporosis. However, I can guarantee that no one will commit to a long term exercise plan that they do not enjoy and that does not leave them feeling a little better every day. This is why strength training may be the most effective means of reducing the burden of osteoarthritis, but you will typically find the aqua aerobics class filled with over 50’s managing aching joints. Why? Because it feels good. So, if the best exercise is indeed that which makes you feel good, then how much time do you need to apply to this magic remedy to improve your health?
The minimum recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes per week (30 mins per day, 5 times per week). To put this in perspective, that equates to 1.48% of your week. If you are able to make this small investment in your health, this is what you can achieve:
- 27% lower risk of stroke
- 50% reduction in breast cancer mortality (and risk of recurrence)
- 50% reduction in the incidence of diabetes
- 50% reduction in the incidence of high blood pressure
- 60% lower risk of colon cancer
- 1/3 reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimers Disease
- 40% reduction in the risk of heart disease
- Decreases depression as effectively as medications or behavioural therapy
So exercise not only helps you to be happier, live longer and improves the quality of your life, and it only takes 1.48% of your week to achieve these results. Ultimately, life is busy. If you are having trouble achieving your 150 minutes per week, speak to an exercise physiologist as exercise really is the best medicine.
For some great ideas on how to get and keep moving, check out the resources available at Exercise is Medicine Australia.