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Exercise: Check you do it hard enough

16th June 2014

EXERCISE is good for us but how many of us know how much we need to do to make a real difference?  I read some research reported in the New York Times the other day which made me think. It seems most of us seriously under-estimate how

much effort we need to put in to our exercise

The general guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

So what is moderate? Very roughly, anything that puts your heart rate up to between 65% and 75% of the maximum for your age.

The way to work out the maximum is like this: 211 minus two-thirds of your age. So if you’re 48, it’s 211 – 32 = 179 approx.

However, the research done at Toronto university on 170 people of all ages showed that only one in four realised how hard they had to work on a treadmill to get to moderate.

The UK’s chief medical officer has some great advice on exercise:

Moderate intensity physical activities will cause adults to get warmer and breathe harder and their hearts to beat faster, but they should still be able to carry on a conversation. Examples include brisk walking and cycling

Vigorous intensity physical activities will cause adults to get warmer and breathe much harder and their hearts to beat rapidly, making it more difficult to carry on a conversation. Examples include running, sports such as swimming or football.

Physical activities that strengthen muscles involve using body weight or working against a resistance. This should involve using all the major muscle groups. Examples include exercise with weights, carrying or moving heavy loads such as groceries.

Americans always have a great way of making things easy and I love this guidance from their national health website: If you’re taking moderate exercise you’ll be able to talk but not sing.

That’s pretty easy to remember, isn’t it? I love to exercise every day if possible but believe me, you wouldn’t want to hear me try to sing!

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