Sunday, 22 March 2009

How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

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You might be confused about just how much time you need to put in at the gym. Do you really have to log a full hour each day? Or will 30 minutes a few times a week cut it? Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the recommendations vary based on your goals: Maybe you simply want to reap the health benefits of activity, or perhaps you're trying to prevent weight gain. Or -- if you're like many Americans -- you're trying to lose weight. The American College of Sports Medicine just released new exercise guidelines, which are a little more intense than the last batch they put out in 2001, but more clearly outline just how much time you should spend working out.

To Protect Your Health and Prevent Disease: The ACSM recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to reduce your risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. That's 30 minutes five days a week. And by moderate intensity, they mean your workout should be hard enough that you're breathing deeply and feeling fatigued. You should still be able to talk, though you'd prefer not to, and although you're tired, you feel like you could complete the entire workout at this pace.

To Peel Off Pounds: At least 250 minutes per week provides the most significant weight loss, according to studies. You can spread that out over five days at 50 minutes a session; or you can plan six workout sessions, each about 42 minutes long.

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