How Much Exercise Do You Need To Stay Healthy?

Julie Shenkman
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The amount of exercise you need to stay fit depends on your age and overall health. Additionally, if you have specific health-related goals, such as losing weight, you may need to modify the suggested exercise requirements a bit.

Most adults need at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise per week to stay healthy. At least twice a week, they should perform resistance exercises to strengthen their muscles. If individuals double their exercise goals to five hours per week of moderate exercise, they can reap even more health benefits.

Healthy seniors should follow the same guidelines, but with some restrictions. Older adults with chronic conditions such as arthritis or Type 2 diabetes should consult a doctor before exercising. Activities that promote the sense of balance are particularly recommended for older adults.

Adults who want to lose weight should aim for at least five hours of exercise per week. Strength training is especially important to help hit weight loss goals, since it builds muscle that in turn raises the metabolic rate.

Adults who just want to stay healthy and live longer can follow the basic 2.5- to five-hour recommendation for weekly exercise. They should also include strength training twice a week plus regular stretching. Increasing these amounts helps lower the risk of breast cancer. Those who find themselves sitting for long hours, perhaps at work, should take a break of at least two minutes every hour to get up and walk around. Even this small amount of exercise lowers the risk of death by 33 percent.

If you want to sleep better, exercise can play a key role. While the minimum of 2.5 to five hours still holds, the trick is to avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime. Instead, time your workouts for the morning whenever possible.

Any amount of exercise is better than no exercise. Try balancing your workouts between cardiovascular exercises, strength training and stretching to stay as healthy as possible.

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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