The US government is famous for not being able to make up its mind when it comes to our health (ever changing food pyramid much?), but the Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidelines on the bare minimum exercise by every single person to achieve health. Their quota is 2 hours of exercise per week, split up however you want to slice or dice it, 20 minutes a day for six days or a two hour bike ride on Saturdays. They do offer some stipulations on the guidelines:
- For aerobic activities, go at least 10 minutes at a time to build heart rate enough to count.
- You should be able to talk while doing moderate activities but not catch enough breath to sing. With vigorous activities, you can say only a few words without stopping to catch a breath.
- Children's daily hour should consist of mostly moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as skateboarding, bike riding, soccer, or running.
- Three times a week, children and teens need to include muscle-strengthening activities--sit-ups, tug-of-war--and bone-strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or skipping.
- Adults should do muscle-strengthening activities--push-ups, weight training, carrying heavy loads or heavy gardening--at least two days a week. (Burn fat fast with these strength training moves!)
- Older adults who are still physically able to follow the guidelines should do so, with an emphasis on activities that maintain or improve balance.
Suddenly, the Breast Cancer Awareness 30 Minute Challenge doesn't even seem like above and beyond the standard requirement for activity. In fact, I'm starting to think I was just fooling myself with how much exercise I was getting, because the 30 Minute Challenge is definitely more activity than I'd normally get in an average week.
How about you guys? On an average week, how much fitness time do you put in? Do you make weekly goals for yourself? Are they measured in time increments or do you just try to get faster, stronger, better?
[photo credit: Getty Images]
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