By Heather Newman
RISMEDIA, July 9, 2008-(MCT)-So how much exercise do you actually need to be fit? The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association suggest moderately intense cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week; or vigorous exercise 20 minutes a day, three days a week.
They also recommend eight to 10 strength training exercises each week, with each one done for eight to 12 repetitions.
Sound like a lot? Then at least start with something.
“My bias is that the bar has been set too high for Americans, and we have learned that we can’t meet the guidelines of the exercise scientists,” said Dee W. Edington, director of the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. “In my opinion, we can only get there one small step at a time, and the first step is not to get worse.”
It may not be as tough as you think: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May suggests that even 10 minutes a day of the lightest activity-in the case of the study, walking at 2-3 miles per hour-can make a measurable difference in fitness.
“There is an overwhelming amount of data suggesting that the greatest reduction in all-cause mortality, as well as reduction in many chronic diseases, comes from when people go from a complete couch potato lifestyle to even a very modest or mild amount of exercise,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Michigan.
“While in general, more exercise may be better … something is better than nothing.”
© 2008, Detroit Free Press.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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