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Moderate Exercise
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When summer is past and fall slips into winter, many of us do not exercise as much. You might say, “I only have so much time in a day and I certainly don’t have enough money to join the local gym or buy expensive equipment!” Most of us don’t, but does that mean we cannot find time to care for our bodies? Some people take better care of their pets, their cars, and even their iPhones than their own bodies. So, can even moderate exercise help a person stay fit?

The average adult would do well to get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. That’s equivalent to about 30 minutes of brisk walking a day, five days per week. Swimming or mowing the lawn would also fall into the “moderate” category. Even if you broke the 30 minutes into a couple of 15 minute segments (let’s say you walked in the morning and then again after work in the evening or at lunch time) you would receive the same health benefits.

If you are thinking, “I can’t walk briskly for 30 minutes!” then consider interval exercise. This approach has been shown to provide health benefits to the body as well. This is the type of exercise where you “start and stop” at different intervals. For instance, you might walk briskly for five minutes, then slow your pace for one minute, then walk briskly again. You could also begin with us much time per day as you can handle and build from there.

Exercise Intensity

One way to measure your exercise intensity is by monitoring your heart rate. Your target heart is calculated by taking 220 and subtracting your age to come up with a maximum heart rate (MHR) and then figuring 70 to 85% of your MHR to come up with your target heart rate. For instance, if you are 40 years old, you would subtract 40 from 220 and get 180. Your target heart rate would be 70-85% of 180, which would be about 126 – 153 beats per minute. You can buy gadgets to monitor your target heart rate or use calculation tools off the web.

Of course, always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a chronic health condition like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

So, dust off your walking shoes and set a goal. Don’t think you must be an Olympic runner or weight lifter to receive the benefits of exercise. Even moderate amounts will help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen your muscles and bones.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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